What keeps you up at night?

[dropcap]A:[/dropcap] One thing that keep me up at night is my deep need to talk to someone.  There’s just an urge to express what’s going through my mind.  My greatest fear is that if I told someone, they’d think that I’m just feeling sorry for myself or I want pity.  But it’s just the opposite.  I just want someone to listen.

I believe that that the reassurance of knowing someone knows you is the greatest gift.  There are many nights that I lie awake, sometimes on the phone with my friend, and I feel the urge to tell him what’s bothering me – but I can’t.  I’m just scared he’ll think I’m feeling sorry for myself.

Another reason I can’t put myself to sleep is my family. I just wish they knew how deeply I care and perhaps if they knew, they’d start to care as well. We’re in a crisis and I fear that if we can’t pull it together, we’ll just fall apart. Compromise doesn’t exist in my family at the moment.  Perhaps it’s because we’ve gone through so much the past few years that they’re tired of trying to solve these new problems that keep rising. I need them to understand that putting these issues on hold won’t make life any easier.

What I want isn’t pity or someone to tell me it’s all going to be okay. What I want is for someone to know that I still exist and to know that I want to so badly work together to get rid of all these financial and family problems. I just need to be heard.

Sarah Thao


At night, I am usually up thinking about things I store away in my mind during the day.  At night, all the problems come crashing down in front of me, forcing me to focus on the unhappy moments in life that I wish I could be fixed.  At night, I think about my parents and my family.  I think about how my mom and dad fight and don’t get along anymore.

At night, I think about how broken we’ve become.  Then I think about my little sister who was unfortunate enough to pass along before all the adults.  At night, when I think about these things, I feel lonely.  At night, sometimes I cry.  The tears have been held back too long.

At night, I find things to keep me busy.  I talk to friends, I listen to music, and I watch movies, but sometimes, even these aren’t good enough.  At night, it is 4-5 PM in Japan.  I wait for my boyfriend who is in Japan because he makes me feel better.  At night, I look forward to talking to him because he makes me feel loved, even from so far away.  At night, I talk to him until the wee hours of daylight, and he stays with me until I fall asleep.  At night, I think about all these things and then in the morning, I hide it all away again.

Denise Yang


Two weeks ago, my girlfriend broke up with me. I  never thought it would actually happen to me. I was naïve enough to think something so good could last forever. Now I feel the pain that every teenager feels. I’ve experienced being heartbroken for the first time. I have never been so sad about a girl that I couldn’t sleep.

I’d try to go to sleep but end up tossing and turning. Whenever I closed my eyes, all I saw was her pretty eyes and her beautiful smile. Then I’d open my eyes and see that she was really gone. It took me a couple of days to actually get over the fact that we were over. Yet, it still hurts me when I see her. It’s as if she has taken a piece of me away. The feeling has begun to fade and this feeling of being an insomniac is drifting away. I am happier nowadays because I don’t think about it as much.

I am at the stage where she happens to be everywhere and everything reminds me of her. This will sooner or later happen to everyone and it just takes time to heal. I asked a friend if it normally hurts this much, and why and how could people just get in and out of relationships; He simply answered, “We date to gain experience, you have to learn from the worst.”

Vang Yang

[divider] [dropcap]Q:[/dropcap]

What one thing do you wish you could do over again?

[dropcap]A:[/dropcap] If I could do one thing over again, I would redo my freshman year of high school. I would go back and really do all my work. I wouldn’t have gotten into so much trouble and I would not have ditched school so much and got suspended so many times. I should’ve tried my hardest to do better. Now, in my tenth grade year, I have so much to make up for.

I have seven periods instead of six.  I have to take P.E. my junior year and I’m behind on credits.  Hopefully, this year I will do better and won’t have to go to summer school like I did this past year.



If I could do one thing over, it would probably be never dating one of my ex-boyfriends.  If I hadn’t dated him, I would have saved myself a lot of pain, a lot of wondering, and a lot of time. I would have been able to use the time I wasted on him on something or someone else. I should have never gone out with him.

Another thing I wish I could do over is the big fight with my brother and his girlfriend.  I wish I would have just let things go and not let them turn into a fight.  I would have not been without a brother for that time if I had let it go.

Kristine Balliet


If I could go back and do one thing over again, I would try to stop my father’s death. I don’t know how I would prevent the whole situation, but I would have tried my hardest to keep him here. My situation of growing up without a father is pretty twisted up.

I just wonder if he was there, if things would have turned out differently.  I would also ask him why he didn’t tell me about his past life.  Why didn’t he show his true colors around me?

Kevis McGee

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When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

[dropcap]A:[/dropcap] When I look in the mirror, the person I see is a child. Even though I am seventeen and an upcoming senior, the way I act and behave is like a 10-year-old.  And even though to others, such as my friends and peers, I may seem like I am older for my age, I am not. At home, I am truly myself.  I sometimes have anger problems and have a hard time controlling my feelings and emotions.

My siblings always tell me I need an anger management class. That’s why when I look in the mirror, I see a child who throws tantrums and likes to put up different acts. I’ll be nice one day and then rude and mean the next.  If I could change something about myself, it would be to be more positive and have a better attitude.  I tend to be negative about things and also doubt myself and others.

I would like to be more patient and control my emotions.  I feel that if I can do these things, I will be a better person and be happier with myself.  Because right now, I am not proud as others are of me.

Bao Xiong


When I look myself in the mirror, I don’t see anything special.  I don’t like a lot of things about me. Everyone may tell me that I look pretty but I just feel different about myself.  When I look in the mirror, I see my mother, father, and brothers.  They all mean a lot to me but I don’t see the good things. I see my bad attitude mixed with sadness.

When I really look deep inside that mirror, I sit for hours wondering how my life would be if I was in another family, city, or state.  The wondering goes onto more things but soon I will find myself crying because the life I live is nothing compared to others.  Then, within a few minutes, I’m not crying anymore and everything goes back to normal again.

Te’Lona Love


When I look in the mirror, what do I see?

I see myself as others see me: Strong, fast, smart, funny, amazing, and kind of good looking. But just for a moment, I peer a little deeper and see my insecurities and deeply-rooted fear projected within myself onto other people. Fear that I might be the same person that in the end, I’ll fail to meet my goals and I’ll succeed in disappointing others.

I fear letting others down by showing them who I really am instead of who I pretend to be. I’m scared to let anyone see anything that even remotely resembles the real me. Because Miguel and this other identity just don’t get along because we both feel that the other doesn’t belong.

Miguel Bibanco

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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