ONTV Studios and Urban Success Academy seek to introduce young people in the region to creative possibilities
In 2012, Rick Gibson, originally from California, helped start a program in Oakland to introduce young people to web design to help them explore careers related to technology. Now, with the help of some local tech-savvy young creatives and a few students and graduates from Forsyth Tech Community College, Gibson is looking to start a similar program here in Winston-Salem.
In Oakland, United Roots Web Design & Social Media Marketing’s youth training program was supported by an initiative called United Roots Oakland, a center that offers programs and opportunities to engage and empower young people from marginalized communities – the City of Oakland Summer Youth Employment Program, Hitsworks Enterprises LLC and another initiative called Youth Uprising. During the 10-week program, students from the Oakland area learned the ins and outs of web design and content management skills. The program also allowed students to put their skills to good use after the course, connecting them with local business owners and churches in need of a website or creating a social media presence. .
Gibson, who moved to North Carolina to be closer to his family, said his goal for ONTV Studios and the Urban Success Academy (USA) here in Winston-Salem, was to take the model of the United Roots program and to add new programs.
“I helped launch a similar program in Oakland focused on a web development and training program. We’re going to change that format and roll out a pilot program here, ”Gibson said in an interview with The Chronicle earlier this week.
ONTV Studios, located on Brownsboro Road, includes a STEM Motorsports simulator, a record label (Vicewood Records), and a network of web designers, music and video producers. Gibson called his Urban Success Academy team, all of whom are under 23, a “Fundraising Tip”. Gibson, who turns 65 later this month, said it’s important to involve young people because they understand the technology and the needs of next-generation movers and shakers.
“You need them because they know this stuff and a lot of them are just out of high school,” Gibson continued. “It’s important that young people lobby for their own education because when you see adults lobbying for education and programs, it doesn’t have the same impact as young people. ”
Jared Williams and Zion Morgan, who make up Vicewood Records, started making music together while studying at Wingate University. Morgan, from Charlotte, said music and singing was a stress reliever for him. Williams said he wanted to make music for a living and wanted to restore confidence and responsibility in music. The two have said that ONTV Studios is giving them the space they need. The duo spend hours in the studio recording.
“I’ve been singing my whole life so I’ve always found that when I sing that’s how I express my feelings, so what better way to work on that than to record,” Morgan said.
Williams said: “I think it’s amazing because I’m still pretty young to have a space where I can go and record because I used to do it in my bedroom and that’s ten times better.”
Carson Pruitt, who will lead the USA STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) powersports team, said his passion for racing and powersports began when he got his first car. Pruitt, who recently graduated from the Richard Childress program at the FTCC, said motorsport has proven to be a good way to bring engineering and math into something fun and entertaining.
“Kids don’t care, and motorsports have proven over time that kids are interested. And it’s engineering, math, science, all in one, ”Pruitt said.
Roberto Martinez, who specializes in web design and videography, said his interest in the creative arts started when he took a high school graphic design course and the flame only grew in go from there. Martinez, who is also in the United States Army, said what he values most about graphic and web design is having the opportunity to help clients’ ideas come to life.
“Back then, people laughed at anyone with a degree in graphic design or something like that. Now those are the people who are paid the most, ”Martinez said. “People who can tell a story are worth a lot more now, especially in these days when everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. “
Martinez said what he loves most about being a member of the Urban Success Academy team is being able to work with other creatives.
“With these guys I really get to see some really amazing artists, musicians, photographers and videographers,” he said.
To introduce the Academy of Urban Success and ONTV Studios to the community, in 2022 five local students will have the opportunity to participate in a free 12-week pilot program at the studio. Gibson said the studio is also there to help educators, families, churches and other entities with multimedia needs.
When asked why he thought Winston-Salem was a good place to start this program, he replied, “Winston-Salem is a microcosm… could be replicated in other areas.
For more information about ONTV Studios or Urban Success Academy, call 336-745-7349. For more information on Vicewood Records, visit www.vicewood.com or “Vicewood Records” on Facebook.