Motivos, a bilingual Latino youth magazine (by and for youth) out of Philadelphia, is more that just a publication. On a Friday night, when the last thing on most teens’ minds is work, a half a dozen of them are huddled around a table in a basement room of Benjamin Franklin High School, talking about fonts.
The magazine is a for-profit enterprise that has been operating out of the high school since 2008. Virtually all of it is written, edited and illustrated by 14- to 24-year-olds under the direction of founder Jenée Alicia Chizick. Chizick is passionate about educating and motivating the often under-served teens.
“When you’re not educated it’s harder to get into decision-making rooms,” Chizick told an audience during an author series at the community workshop Taller Puertorriqueño in North Kensington in November. “I wanted to make sure from the get-go that the students that the magazine employs were in the decision-making rooms, so part of the model is that those schools that subscribe in bulk to the magazine then can choose one or two students to serve on the advisory board.”
Schools see the magazine as a way to boost enrollment of underrepresented students. Amid the student-penned poems, cultural columns and relationship advice, readers encounter occasional articles supplied by a university admissions department.
Chizick has already inspired many students who now go to college and are seeing opportunities abound. “‘Everything that she does, she has a reason for it and she explains it,’ said Keisha Frazier, a Motivos contributor studying broadcast journalism at Temple. Frazier said traveling to the National Council of La Raza annual conference with Chizick a few years ago was a life-changing experience.”
Read the full profile here.