By Elizabeth Tornheim

indykids1For kids, the news can seem a bit dull. I mean, after all, its only adults watching the news every night right?

Indykids, a free newspaper written by kids, used the opportunity to report the news from a different perspective. No longer would the news consist of sitting next to your parents with your eyes glazed over, as confusing words and phrases were thrown at you. Instead, kids would be able to learn about events happening across the globe as reported by their peers.

In 2005, independent journalists, teachers, and students recognized the need to engage young kids in social change; and thus, Indykids was born. Once a month, a handful of students from the New York area produce a free newspaper about global issues. Kid reporters, ranging from ages 10 to 16 cover articles about the world, politics, science and the environment, and even book and movie reviews. In the past five years, the newspaper’s popularity has expanded, and now it reaches kids in nearly 200 classrooms across the United States. The newspaper encourages kids to take interest in world affairs and allows for kids to form their own opinions about what is happening around the world.

Teachers use the newspaper within the classroom as a teaching tool, for the newspaper provides activities to engage its readers through vocabulary development, critical thinking, and discussion. Chris Johnson, a teacher from Chicago recognizes that IndyKids has allowed students to “see that other younger people [are] making a difference in their communities” and has “encouraged…student groups to actually implement their own projects.” And yet, it isn’t just the teachers who have noticed the impact that the newspaper has had on the younger generation. Julian Rocha, a ten year old from Vancouver expresses how she “want[ed] to learn about different things happening around the world…but the way [they were] explain[ed] [in the news and newspaper was] so complicated.” Reading about world events by fellow peers provides a different angle, and has inspired kids to have a passion for social change.

Not only is IndyKids a great way for youth to become aware of what is happening worldwide, but it is also essential for the younger generation to have a enthusiasm for social activism. By encouraging kids’ curiosity about the world IndyKids has allowed for youth to form their own opinions and take their own actions towards justice and peace.

Check out the IndyKids review of Shine Global’s film THE HARVEST/LA COSECHA by IK Reporter ROBERT IVKO, age 12:

Want to join IndyKids as a Kid Reporter?
Attend one of the free, introductory workshops this Fall, where you can learn how to get started.
Saturday, October 15, 2011; 2-4pm
Saturday, October 29th, 2011; 2-4pm
Tompkins Square Library (in Manhattan, NYC)
331 East 10th Street, near Avenue B
If you can’t make the workshops, don’t worry. You can still be a Kid Reporter. Just send an email to: telling them that you’re interested!