#RisingYouth
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#RisingYouth

Connecting and Celebrating the Latinx Diaspora through Podcasting

Q&A’s with Yulissa Gabriela Campos Espinoza

To listen to the Latinas in Stoon Podcast, click here.

Where are you from? What place do you currently call home and why?
I am from Guayaquil, Ecuador born and raised in a coastal city in my beautiful South America. I am currently living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and I call it my second home as I have been here since almost 9 years ago.

What community/communities are you part of ?
I am part of the Latin American community. Being a minority in a province like Saskatchewan is quite different from the bigger cities. I have learned to value the uniqueness of my identity and I have become an advocate for inclusivity and diversity. The most valuable thing I have learned by
being a minority here is the idea of staying true to your identity.

What are you passionate about? What are your hobbies?
I am a theatre artist and also hold a degree in social sciences. I am passionate about creating art that is provocative and encourages us to be inclusive. I love going to watch live theatre shows, write stories, produce plays, and be involved in creative projects. My hobby is reading plays.

How did the idea for this project come to you?
At the start of the pandemic in 2020 and the social issues with Black Lives Matter and racism around the world, I felt there was so much to say. The idea came from Celeste Nunez, my podcast partner at that time. We would spend hours chatting about the meaning of Latinindad, our experiences as immigrants, newcomers, students, being women in a different culture that is
predominantly white, etc. Those meaningful conversations helped us to cope with the craziness around the world. One day we thought that it would be nice to have a podcast about all those experiences and create a community. I always believed that a strong community builds mindful children, so I jumped on board with the idea of creating our own podcast called Latinas in Stoon.

What was your motivation behind this project?
We started this project as a hobby and a mental health coping strategy. It kept us busy and creative when the world was shut down and we were unemployed. We did it voluntarily and dedicated many hours of planning and producing. However, it got to a point where money was involved and we could not afford to continue with it unless we had some financial support. Therefore, we started to look for organizations that supported our vision and #RisingYouth was one of them.

How did your community react to your project? Have they been encouraged to get involved in any other ways?
We received an overwhelmingly positive response. We did not expect to have so much engagement in social media, and Spotify. People from across Canada and the world started to message us to say how much they enjoyed the podcast and they related to it. Moreover, it became a channel for people to ask us questions about Canadian life, the immigrant transition, our struggles and they even shared their stories with us.

It was an amazing opportunity that led us to even collaborate with podcasters from other provinces. This encouraged me to continue working in my community and look for other ways to create artistic projects. I have been working on cultural festivals in my community since then.

In retrospect, what was the impact of your project?
It created a virtual community that celebrated uniqueness and diversity. It became a space where people from all across Canada and the world could share their experiences and identify with our struggles. We created a Latin American community through our social media and a meaningful
network.

How has the project impacted you in your everyday life?
This project opened doors for me in terms of acquiring new skills. Since I have been involved in theatre for a few years now, hosting a podcast gave me the opportunity to expand my horizons. I have been a host for a couple of live stream events and done a few voiceovers for other projects.

Were there some bumps along the road or things you may do differently in the future?
I would have applied for more funding to produce a podcast. I underestimated the amount of time and work that one can put into this type of project to the point that it became an expense at a certain point. Nevertheless, I was able to find community partners that supported the project, like #RisingYouth, and made this project possible. Time constraint was another bump along the road, it was difficult to manage other commitments with the project. However, we were able to manage our time and other priorities.

What would you say to a youth who is thinking about doing a #RisingYouth project?
Go for it. Be determined on what you believe and do it. There will always be barriers along the way like money, time, commitments, etc., but if you truly believe in something and have the fiery desire in you, do not hesitate to start the project. Trust that the rest of the barriers will have a solution while you walk the path. They always do.

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Inspirational stories of youth engagement in Canada

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