Truth From Youth: Words from Johnny Ramos


by Johnny Ramos | September 7, 2016

We’ve been back from Russia for a short time now and as I reflect on the trip, I ponder about the life-changing journey our youth filmmakers from the Truth From Youth project experienced during this cultural exchange. Seeing American and Russian students engage with one another as they traveled from New York City to Russia, gave me insight into how these young people see the world and work to bridge the gap of cultural understanding through media and education.

It was amazing to see the way students brought compassion to the filmmaking process as they interacted with youth from all walks of life. Filming one another’s communities brought them closer together and created an understanding about the power of people uniting to help one another.

When the American and Russian students interacted at the Youth Union Doroga Center, they talked about the similarities and differences between art, music, family and what it means to be a teenager in their respective countries. Despite any differences, all I saw was a harmony. It was amazing to see them collaborate and develop a special appreciation for one another.

I am extremely moved by my students when I watch them have passionate conversations about the cultural exchange they experienced this summer. While watching these moments of newfound self-confidence within my students, I realize that they are discovering their own essence. The opportunity to observe these experiences makes my job as an educator worthwhile.