Bright Side of Business: Prezdential gives marginalized youth a new, confident voice

PYM
The Prezdential Youth Media program has been giving youth the boost they need to pursue skills in media and journalism. Photo courtesy of PYM.
Editor's Note

The Bright Side of Business is presented by Star Motors.

2022-09-06

Two years ago, Manock Lual, a former pro basketball player, was working hard on his non-profit, Prezdential Basketball Training, which gives youth across Ottawa basketball lessons combined with important life skills, from cooking to financial literacy. 

Since then, Lual has grown the non-profit to new heights, including launching Prezdential Youth Media (PYM), which creates opportunities for youth to sharpen their skills in content creation, journalism and videography. 

“We’ve become something (that’s able to) offer so many different resources in one place to youth (in) communities that need it most,” Lual explains.

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One part of this vision is the Overbrook Show. Launched at the start of the pandemic, the first show covered stories of creative expression and the value of celebrating culture. For the second season, Lual partnered with Rogers TV to create a four-part docu-series unpacking how sports, arts and mentorship can transform a community. 

While brainstorming the second season, Lual created space for youth to come on board with the production with the launch of PYM. “I didn’t really know what (the program) was going to be,” he says. “I just knew I wanted to give the opportunity for the youth to tell beautiful stories that were important to them.” 

In the end, Lual was joined by eight young people. “Seeing them grow throughout the whole program and seeing the confidence that they had at the end — that’s what the program is.”

The PYM program ran for nine weeks. During the first week, the youth went into the ByWard Market to film. At first, they were nervous to approach people, but slowly began to relax, says Lual. 

By the end of filming, “they understand rejection,” he adds. “They understand how to create a pitch, a reason for someone to give you their time.” 

PYM

Other activities included filming a basketball tournament. Another week was spent shooting a commercial for a hair salon, mentored by an established filmmaker. For one section of the program, Lual partnered with Rogers Communications for a field trip to their local studio. There, the young people created content that covered the municipal election, exploring important issues and choosing which questions to ask interviewees.

“I think the questions and the stories we usually get in the media are coming from middle-class voices,” Lual explains. “It was very important to show what (people from) all walks of life feel and what they’re concerned about coming into this election.”

With the first PYM program having just wrapped up, Lual is already planning for the next one. “When somebody shares their voice, you see their confidence and others step up and share their voices along with them,” Lual says. “I’m just hoping this program can create the next generation of leaders.”

As well as continuing with PYM, Prezdential will partner with the Ontario Network for Education and Junior Achievement to launch JA Summer Hoops: a business program built around basketball. 

“(Participants) will learn how to build business concepts, pitch to people and have a budget,” Lual says. “It’s like a real-life simulation of a business.”

Looking to 2023, Lual says that Prezdential is “seeing a lot of respect for the efforts we’re putting in. I think the next step is, how can we create more impact, not only in the areas that we’re working with but also areas that we haven’t gotten to.”

 

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The Bright Side of Business is an editorial feature focused on sharing positive stories of business success.

This column is presented by Star Motors, Ottawa’s original Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG and Mercedes Van dealer.

Since 1957, Star Motors has provided its customers with the Mercedes-Benz “The Best or Nothing” standard in vehicle selection, service, genuine parts and certified collision repair.

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