Erdavria Rose Simpson believes in the power of vision. In fact, the Hamilton High School student believes in creating the vision, and did just that, when she founded the Hami-News Broadcast Club, even though her school had no journalism program or classes.
Simpson went to the principal, secured a faculty advisor and organized the club, and not only is she its founder, but the budding journalist is also responsible for its content.
Synthesizing the information she learns in a Saturday media program called the Urban Media Foundation (UMF) Simpson shares with the approximately 12 other members of the club.
UMF is a nonprofit organization that uses journalism and media technology education to positively impact inner-city youth ages 14 to 17 years old. The mission of the program is to increase minority representation in mainstream media and to bring awareness of media-related careers to youngsters like Simpson and her club members.
The foundation also mentors these teens–some of whom are categorized as at-risk–and provides a safe learning environment for them to receive training in multimedia communications, financial literacy and entrepreneurship. The organization also does its work in the heart of one of the most underserved areas of Los Angeles.
“The Urban Media Foundation has helped bring me closer to my dream, and I love the program” says Simpson, who is one of two daughters of a single, working mother. She attends the foundation’s Saturday classes along with her 14-year-old sister.
With her sites firmly set on attending USC Annenberg’s School for Communication and Journalism, Simpson is already amassing an impressive personal profile and making the sacrifices necessary to succeed. This includes maintaining a 3.6 GPA and taking a bus to West Los Angeles College two nights a week for a speech class to improve her diction, which she knows is a necessary asset for top-notch news anchors.
Additionally, she is a varsity cheerleader, a flutist in the school band, and she recently helped coordinate a Haiti-relief fundraiser. In March, Simspon also placed fifth in nationals of the 2010 Miss Teen Los Angeles Pageant.
At UMF, Simpson learns the journalism business from a team made up of writers, broadcasters, online journalists and media instructors from the USC Annenberg School, the Los Angeles Times and Santa Monica City College. Volunteers and lecturers are comprised of college students, news professionals and community leaders.
The Urban Media Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization located at 8732 S. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90247. Call (323) 905-1330 for more information or to donate visit the website at www.urbanmediafoundation.org.