Meet Kayla Haley , a humble and extremely ambitious 18-year old who was among 19 other high school student reporters that I had the privilege to work with this past summer at the 30th annual James Ansin and Peace Sullivan High School Workshop in Journalism and New Media program. Her goal, to be able to tell stories that make a difference.
For her, like a few of the other student participants, it was a first time experience having to do research, contact complete strangers and interview them to pull a story together for the multiple media platforms. And boy was she nervous! I recall her being concerned about not having the experience of other student reporters, and being fearful of not landing the right interviews. But nonetheless, she landed all of the right interviews, including one with Tracy Mourning, wife of former NBA All-star Alonzo Mourning as part of a feature on her non-profit girl empowerment organization Honey Shine.
As a mentor, I was able to go with Kayla on interviews with Honey Shine Director Edlyn Griffith, Tracy Mourning, and some of the “Honey Bug” participants. I was most impressed by the in-the-moment confidence, as well as the highest level of professionalism that she displayed. She inspired me to share her story with my readers because she’s an example of how a “getting scared, but doing it anyway” approach can lead one closer to goals and dreams than being passive. In her article, Kayla tells the story of why Tracy started Honey Shine, and the effect that the program has had on young girls across South Florida. Check out her story below:
Kayla didn’t just face her fears while discovering what it means to be a journalist, but she showed resilience and tenacity after being told that her Honey Shine story would not be published due to technical difficulties. As devastating as this news was, Kayla was ON TO THE NEXT! Hard work and determination, and one heartfelt pep-talk with yours truly not only allowed her to regroup and set out to do an entirely different story with media components, but she won the workshop’s Best Story 2013 Award! Whoop whoop! Click on the image below to read her investigative story on how homeless teens solicit help on social media.
I’d say that she’s already gotten a great start on setting her goals in motion. Hope you’re inspired too!
P.S.- Check out the other amazing stories on Homeless Youth in South Florida by participants in the JAPS Journalism and New Media Workshop here: