Trying To Be Yourself
Sometimes I feel like it’s really hard to start a conversation with anyone. I’ve known the girls at my church for so long, but I feel like I don’t fit it. I see them every weekend, but I don’t feel close. It seems like they’ve all known each other for so long. It’s hard for them to accept a new member into their “clique.”

Members from my youth come and go, and I’ve been in the group for quite a while. The girls are nice, but it’s still awkward. They always stick together, and they don’t reach out to other members so you have to be outgoing and maybe that’s why a lot of people feel left out.

I also feel left out a lot because when the girls talk about people at their school, I don’t know who they’re talking about, so I just sit, not know what’s going on. So, I guess it’s about who you know and how you present yourself.

But, it’s way better to be yourself then to be fake and try to fit in because, I opened up. I’m pretty outgoing, it’s just difficult the first few times when I have to break the ice. After breaking the ice, I’m pretty much the real me. But I try not to change because I’m around a certain group or people. Just remember who you are and what satisfies you.
-Gabby, 17


Obstacle Of Society
I think that feeling left out is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone because I have felt left out at one point in my life. Now I realize I could have fixed it but I went in the wrong direction and instead of being nice, like who I really am, I felt like everyone was after me.

I think that feeling left out can lead to many things like depression. Some people can deal with being independent, but it is those who are not comfortable with being alone that suffer, and wonder, “Why won’t they ask me to come? I mean, I don’t want to intrude but they called me their friend and now I’m their shadow that they trample over without noticing?”

Feeling left out comes from many things but I believe society and along with past experiences can lead to feeling left out. Some people then turn to their troubles and rebel. Others remain conservative and don’t see the light of day to live life but I see feeling left out as an obstacle, not a problem. It is an obstacle that can be moved if everyone were kinder.
-Miguel, 17


I guess that feeling left out can even happen when it comes to being at home since I live at home with a close friend and her family. So when they sit back and talk about all the things that happen in the past and you I wasn’t there so what can I really say? Also when they go to family events, everyone is altogether and I don’t really know them. I guess it’s more like feeling out of place. I don’t think they even like me being there but they just put up with it. I feel like the outcast!
-Caprice, 17


Earn Your Attention
You hear them laugh. They joke. You stare. You interrupt but it feels as if they’re miles away. They don’t hear you. You say to yourself, “I’m good, I’m fun, why?” You stand on the outside, an outcast. You’re on the outside looking in. Are you left out? I would be. I still am.

I have to say, my friends are the best, one to one. But I’m nothing when it comes to all of them together. I’m always the outcast. I can listen and laugh but when I talk, no one seems to know I’m there. The only time I feel in is when I am made fun of. Sure, here and there, I feel liked, but half of the time I don’t. How does it feel? It hurts. For me, being alone feels like a knife sticking through my heart. That happens when everyday is the same for a long period of time.

You know what hurts more than feeling left out by friends? It is when you’re with a girlfriend or in some cases, a boyfriend. Feels like mini-heart attacks to me. It hurts a lot and it takes a lot of confidence away. But to me, no matter how much I feel about being left out, when the time comes, and it does sometimes, it feels the best.

I believe attention is something everyone craves but it should be earned. I’ll try to earn it as much as I can. I know that sometimes, I’m worth listening to. Everyone is somebody so don’t ignore that person. You’ll only hurt yourself later when you’re in the same position. You’ll feel left out and that person who you could have helped could have helped you back.
-Yee Leng, 16


Not Giving In
I’ve always felt left out. No matter where I go or what I do, people leave me out. I’m not trying to sound like a pessimist, but because of who I hang around with and what I like to do, people think I’m a “square”. I don’t partake in the things that most African-Americans youth do. I’m not really into Hip Hop & R&B, big gaudy jewelry, or dancing.

I admit when I was younger (for some reason), I wanted to be apart of that very badly. I wanted to be involved with the people of my culture, but it’s that sometimes many other black youth do things to make the everyone look bad. Because of what youth do and media shows, I feel like my culture is a lost cause. It seems like I’m forced out because I don’t want to embarrass myself for being apart of it.
-Jaleesa, 20


I always feel that I’m left out or there is something holding me back. I really don’t know why, but sometimes I feel that way. I think that maybe some things are bothering me. When I’m at school, the people I hang out with, I sometimes feel like I’m not supposed to be there. Whoever I hang out with, I feel like I don’t belong with them. I sometimes think too much. I think that I shouldn’t have any friends at all. I really don’t do anything. I just basically sit there and think.

At school, I play volleyball because I see them playing, but usually I just stand there. Sometimes I think I should be somewhere else, worrying about my education, rather then playing something that I don’t get a try on. That’s how I feel about myself, maybe others feel something else. That explains why I’m usually the quiet one and the slow one at everything. It really doesn’t matter, it’s just how I feel. I’m happy w

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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