Welcome to Youth Interactive

As you step into the shop — Wide Angle 1/40, f/4, 100, AWB, HH

Youth Interactive is a shop and art gallery in Santa Barbara’s funk zone where high school students have a chance to show their talents. It gives them a chance to explore their creative outlets while teaching them how to run a business. There are 5 business that are run out of their site down on Anacapa Street.

Creative banners are one of the many projects students collaborate on — Medium Angle 1/50, f/5, 100, AWB, HH

“We ignite youth imagination, mentor creativity, and help close the opportunity divide.” — Youth Interactive

The students have access to mentors, and these mentors help guide them through their creative outlet or business. Montecito Biscotti is one of the businesses that is run out of “The Funk Zone Shop”. The “biscotti team” does a great job baking the perfect treats to go along with coffee, and you can try both in their store, since they sell Caribbean Coffee Company cold brew on tap.

Yummy Montecito Biscotti — Close up 1/30, f/3.5, 100, AWB, HH
“Pier Pressure” is one of the student business names — Rule of thirds 1/50, f/4.5, 100, AWB, HH

Another one of these small businesses creates up-cycled wine and tealight holders. So not only are these students learning about business, but also how to use some basic tools in a creative way.

Handmade tealight candle holders— Fill the frame 1/30, f/3.5, 160, AWB, HH
Student tee-shirt graphic art! —left: 1/50, f/4, 100, AWB, HH right: 1/40, f/4, 100, AWB, HH

Another one of their innovative businesses creates these Funk Zone graphic tee-shirts, which are student designed tee-shirts that promote the Funk Zone as a whole.

Letting customers know where their money is going via chalk art! — Rule of thirds 1/40, f/4.5, 100, AWB, HH
Art display — Wide Angle 1/50, f/4, 100, AWB, HH
Tools of the artist — Close up 1/30, f/3.5, 100, AWB, HH

There are many tools that the students and mentors of Youth Interactive use, and all of them help to create the amazing environment that they get to work in each day.

Handmade beach bags —Vertical shot 1/60, f/5, 100, AWB, HH

Another awesome business lets students learn how to sew, and through this outlet they make fun beach bags! All them are reusable, so you can use them for your weekly grocery shopping as well.

A couple of artists hard at work —Rule of thirds 1/50, f/4.5, 320, AWB, HH
Even the smallest of details make a shop feel good —Close up left: 1/30, f/3.5, 200, AWB, HH right: 1/30, f/3.5, 100, AWB, HH
Creative graphics —Medium angle 1/50, f/4, 100, AWB, HH

“The Funk Zone Shop” is one of the many labels the shop houses. The collective prides themselves on giving students a different outlet of learning. One that is creative and supports entrepreneurship. In addition, they employ teens from all walks of life. Including students with a criminal record. Here at Youth Interactive students have the chance to be employed regardless of their record or their background.

Meet the directors! — Portrait 1/30, f/3.5, 100, AWB, HH

This Nathalie Gensac (executive director) and Geofferey Berz (program director). During my visit, I definitely could sense that they were happy doing this project, and working closely with the kids. Geofferey was happy to answer all of my questions, and put on one of their “Funk Zone” shirts for the photo!

Safety first! — Medium Angle 1/50, f/4, 100, AWB, HH
Drawing in the crowd! —Rule of thirds 1/40, f/3.5, 100, AWB, HH
Creatively expressed gratitude — Close up 1/60, f/5, 400, AWB, HH

Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” and I believe this quote sums up very well what the mentors and students at Youth Interactive are doing.

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