Teens at Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club in California launched a podcast during free time brought by the pandemic
Refusing to settle for futile summer days during the pandemic, teen girls at Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club channeled their abundant free time into the creation of a podcast to empower the next generation of business women.
Dayanara R. and Akeyla T., ages 17 and 15 respectively, led the launch of “Stay at Home with Keystone,” a podcast featuring conversations between Club teens and female innovators, entrepreneurs and up-and-coming college students. While pouring their energy into the podcast, the California teens not only built new life and workplace skills but maintained relationships and formed new friendships during a challenging season for youth.
“We all have time and we’re all at home. This was the perfect opportunity to start the podcast because it allowed us to connect with so many more people while we were at home,” said Dayanara. “We brought the idea to our Keystone Club members and we got an overwhelming response with the number of people who wanted to be involved.”
Keystone Club is the premier teen leadership program at more than 1,000 Boys & Girls Clubs across the nation. Supported by Aaron’s Inc., Keystone leaders who are accustomed to after-school meetings at their Club and summer projects and conferences have stayed connected through virtual meetings and digital programs during the pandemic.
During a typical summer, many Club teens would find employment at their Boys & Girls Club or elsewhere but many opportunities were lost due to restrictions brought by the pandemic. To support the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club teens’ goal of creating a podcast, the Club enlisted the help of a volunteer mentor to teach several workshops about planning, hosting and recording interviews.
After brainstorming a list of women to feature on the podcast, the Club used its network of board members and corporate partners to secure interviews. The teens spent countless hours researching guests' backgrounds and writing interview questions.
Dayanara and Akeyla hope the podcast inspires girls and young women to strive for equity in workplaces and to reach for their goals despite stereotypes that they don’t belong in the business world. The teens also want the podcast to reach businessmen so that they learn more about the experiences of their female colleagues and work to improve equitable practices.
“Our mission is to empower younger girls to explore whatever they want to do,” Akeyla said. “I know a lot of girls in middle school who are discouraged to do things just because they are a girl. We want them to defy those stereotypes and do what girls couldn’t do 100 years ago.”
Podcast guests have included Anna Sian, head of marketing at Spotify; Donna Colson, the former mayor of Burlingame, California; and Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, chair and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation. The guests have shared their career journeys, and in some interviews, discussed barriers they have faced in the workplace because of their gender.
Dayanara and Akeyla discovered their unique strengths, solved challenging roadblocks and worked seamlessly as a team. While Dayanara focused on interview prep and conversation skills, Akeyla enjoyed learning the technical skills of recording the podcast. She has used computer software to edit each podcast. Akeyla, who dreams of becoming a graphic designer, will begin teaching other teenagers at her Club about editing and marketing a podcast.
Dayanara, who wants to become a child psychologist, was admittedly nervous before interviewing some prominent guests. But the podcast has taught her that she can confidently sit at the table with strong leaders and have her thoughts heard.
"I’ve always been fed that narrative that you are a young kid that needs to stay out of the way. As I’ve gotten older, that’s been harder to do,” she said. “I’ve solidified that what I say and what I do matters.”
Keystone members have begun planning the podcast’s second season. With help from Club mentors, even more purpose will be given to infuse skills such as goal setting, time management and being a self-starter.
Listen to “Stay at Home with Keystone” on Spotify.