Thanksgiving for me has changed significantly over the years. When I was a child, from what I can remember, it was just the four of us: my mom, dad, brother and me. We never had anyone over, it was only us. We would gather at the table, say grace, then eat. In school and at home, I was taught the reasons for Thanksgiving but it never really meant a lot to me. For me, it was just a day off from school where I got to eat a lot. It had no significant meaning because it felt like any other day.

Now that I’m older, my view of Thanksgiving hasn’t changed. To me, it’s still just another day that I get to eat. Ever since I was about ten or eleven years old, my family doesn’t eat together.  My mom will say “food’s ready,” then everyone will come to the kitchen, make their own plate, then go their separate ways. We would all eat in different parts of the house, usually in our bedrooms. Sometimes I wish it would change but now I’m so used to it. It’s uncomfortable to be around my family. I wish I would be closer to them, but by how things are going now, I don’t think that’s possible.
-Jaleesa, 20


Wish She Were More Thankful
I think my younger sister should be thankful that she has me in her life. I know she takes advantage of me and she respects her boyfriend more than our family. She would rather be with him.

When they come home together, they eat, and who cleans after them…me! I think that she is really lucky to have an older sister like me. To be more specific, every time her boyfriend is over, she’s out laughing and talking to him. But when he goes home, she goes straight to her room and gets mad at everyone who walks in because we turn on the lights. She gets mad easily and I am the only person who can stand up to her. My parents taught us that no matter what, we are a family and we are the only ones who have each other’s backs. By my sister, I feel taken advantage of and not thanked enough.
-Suzanna, 17


Together On Thanksgiving
I live with my mom, three brothers, one of my sisters, and two of my cousins who we let stay with us. I have been very polite, open, and nice to everyone, and I feel like my two cousins and one of my brothers and my sister owe me a thanks because I do so much for them, like cook and clean for them, buy them things, and loan them money. I have been nice to my cousins by letting them share my so-called room. After I do the nice things for them, they go back to treating me badly by calling me names and being disrespectful.

My mom and baby brother are the only ones who make me feel thanked. They thank me all the time, and it makes my day, but I would still like for my brothers, sister, and cousins to also thank me, at least once.

This Thanksgiving, I am very grateful to God for letting me wake up to another day, for letting me be with people I care about, and giving me a chance to make my dreams come true. I am thankful for having a loving and caring mother, and for having the strength to forgive and love everyone no matter how much they may have hurt me. This Thanksgiving will be better because I have almost my whole family together, and we will get to talk to my other younger sister on that day. She is locked up down south and we won’t be able to go see her.

Two years ago at Thanksgiving, I had to spend it with strangers and it was scary and sad, but now, I am with my family, and I at least thankful for that.
-Chanda, 21

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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