Dorchester's GRLZ Radio wins national awards

GRLZ Radio participants including (l-r) Saun Green, Danielle Johnson, Michelle Novelle, Taja Boone, and Fatima Doumbia celebrated their awards at the Golden Mic Award Ceremony earlier this month.

Dorchester’s own GRLZradio program, a youth development program and 24/7 web-based radio station (grlzradio.org) based in St. Mary’s Center on Jones Hill, won two awards and was a finalist in a total of three categories at the 77th Annual International Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference and Golden Mic Award Ceremony this month.

GRLZradio was awarded two golden microphone trophies, winning Best Public Service Announcement and Best Use of Facebook and was a finalist for Best Use of Instagram.

The IBS conference and award ceremony featured over 150 speakers and nearly 1,500 individuals from across the globe to celebrate excellence in radio programming, community media, public service efforts, air personalities, and outstanding radio for both colleges and high schools.

This month’s awards mark the second time GRLZ radio has been recognized by IBS. In 2016, the program won Best Station ID and Best Radio Drama for “An Urban Cinderella Story” and was a finalist in two categories, Best Radio Talk Show and Best On-Air Personality.

“We are so proud of the DJs and staff at GRLZradio to be recognized two years in a row,” said Deirdre Houtmeyers, President of St Mary’s Center for Women and Children. “The IBS Conference provides an opportunity for the staff and a few girls in the program to receive the recognition they so richly deserve for their broadcasting achievement on top of their academic success! It’s also an opportunity for them to network and exchange ideas with their peers.”

Broadcasting daily on the web from its studios at St. Mary’s Center, GRLZradio is a first of its kind youth leadership and development program. GRLZradio provides a nurturing, supportive environment that encourages academic achievement and cultivates essential critical thinking, communication, social and employment skills by offering a safe forum and paid position for teen girls from Dorchester and surrounding communities.

Training more than 100 teen girls annually in all aspects of radio production and programming, GRLZradio teaches and promotes the importance of a positive self-image which is vital to all aspects of their lives. All of the participants graduate high school and are accepted into college.

“We are extremely proud of the work that the amazing young women of GRLZradio are doing,” said Saun Green, program director for GRLZradio. Their creativity, resilience, and dedication to making sure the voices of teen girls are heard and respected is remarkable - they are doing great work. It’s my honor to be a part of their respective journeys as they become such confident and courageous leaders. This work is truly transformative!”

Green has more than 15 years of experience in youth development, program direction and operations, and curriculum design and implementation.

Teen girls ages 12 to 19 are the on-air DJs who, with training from staff members Danielle Johnson and Tekeisha Meade, select and play music with positive and empowering lyrics. The DJs also create, produce, and host talk radio shows during the fall, spring, and summer sessions about relevant topics from politics to friendships. The girls also offer peer training and community outreach activities to scores of youth each year to teach media literacy, violence prevention, and leadership skills.

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