An initiative of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon University, Hear Me asks students to contribute their voices to meaningful conversations through media-making projects. Hear Me’s platform connects student voices to audiences to inform policies and practices and raise awareness around youth issues.

  • HEAR ME 101


Hear Me envisions:

A generation of young people who:

  • Speaks out on issues important to them and understands the power of civil discourse
  • Empowers itself to share ideas and experiences.
  • Views young people as crucial members of, and contributors to, their communities
  • Recognizes and critically questions systems and institutions
  • Uses media to convey a message and recognizes that media is a tool for organizing and creating social movement
  • Analyzes media critically
  • Creates, rather than only consume media
  • Views technology and media as vehicles for change

A world that:

  • Values the ideas of young people equally as the ideas of adults
  • Actively pursues the insights and ideas of young people
  • Strives to better the services for young people by adapting policies and approaches based on the input of young people
  • Looks to youth-produced media to gain cultural wisdom




Editing (Audio Stories)

Publication and Distribution


Hear Me has three programs:

  • Hear Me
  • Hear Me Campaigns
  • Hear Me 101

Every Hear Me project has three components:

1. Identify a target audience and intended goal

The target audience should be very specific (my district's school board, the Mayor, local government officials who will be voting on this new policy, etc). Secondary audiences can be identified in this planning process.

The goal is the intended impact for sharing youth stories. Coupling the goal with a next step for listeners, such as contacting an organization or attending an event, pushes the audience to further show their support. Transparency is extremely important to the integrity of youth voice and producing quality media, so participating students should understand and agree to the target audience and purpose.

2. Create the media

Media types include audio, video, pictures and written pieces. Hear Me staff is often involved in media creation, but organizations are encouraged to create their own meda. Groups in the Greater Pittsburgh area have access to Hear Me's media making support, which includes audio production workshops, equipment rental, and audio collection events.

3. Share the media

All media is published on the Hear Me website to be shared with the target and secondary audiences. Student voices are strategically connected with the target audience, using communication methods that suit the audience. Hear Me stories are easy to share through social media, embedding them to other websites, curating stories through portfolios, and using Hear Me Kiosks for public displays.

Hear Me encourages all students to participate, and any student k-12 can participate through Hear Me's facilitation or independently. However, Hear Me does prioritize our resources and facilitation to topics where student voice is marginalized or non-existent, and working with youth whose voices are typically underrepresented.


Hear Me was made possible with generous support from Anonymous; the Benedum Foundation; the Buhl Foundation; the Grable Foundation; the Heinz Endowments; and the Held Fund, the H. John Heinz III Fund, and the Melinda Morrow Hicks Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

Hear Me 101?

What is Hear Me 101?

about_101 Hear Me 101 was a series of hands-on workshops that developed writing, technical, communication and media literacy skills with youth. Hear Me 101 was a year or semester-long program based in schools, piloted in 2011-2012, running through 2015. Students created short documentaries from concept to final cut.

The goal was to guide students to develop their thoughts and opinions on their communities and their education and to bring valuable youth voices to decision-makers. The in and out of school workshops focus on topics from Media Literacy to Video Production and Project Screenings.

Hear Me 101 was programmed by a group of professional organizations dedicated to producing and promoting youth voice to inspire social change:

Hear Me 101 is a sponsored program of The Heinz Endowments
and supported by the Grable Foundation.

Beyond Media

Post-production, students participated in a summer internship program where they completed a capstone project that amplified their film's message. They learned marketing and activism strategies to connect their film to stakeholders beyond the school walls.

Hear Me 101 served as a vehicle for students to explore their surroundings, provided a safe space to ask questions, and gave students a legitimate forum for sharing the answers they find.

Watch the films here.


about_101 Hear Me has always used interactive displays to share kids' stories with communities and encourage community feedback to share with young people. Hear Me kiosks are the primary output strategy to share stories from this campaign. They were designed to engage the public in a conversation around the topics raised in Hear Me campaigns. Each kiosk has an interactive audio listening device and a place for listeners to respond to the story.

Each Kiosk features Hear Me's signature "tin can telephone." Each can has an audio chip inside that plays up to four and a half minutes of audio stories. After listening to the stories, participants write their comments on index cards and insert them into the slot on the kiosk. Responses are collected and scanned, then uploaded to our website and social media sites for the students and world to see.