YEP We Can Podcast Promotes
Open Dialogue for Youth
By Jewel Connelly, Communications Specialist
Their world. Their voice. Their stories. Introducing YEP We Can–a podcast for youth by youth!
Moving full speed ahead with the vision to reach as many amputee youth and teens as possible, the Youth Engagement Program (YEP) is celebrating another milestone with the launch of the all-new YEP We Can podcast. Encouraging authentic connections between peers, the goal of the podcast is to ignite courageous conversations with youth living with limb loss or limb difference.
On March 1, the inaugural episode was released, YEP Let’s Talk Sports!, featuring the YEP team and co-hosts Henry, Brandon, and Jordan–the trio whose friendships inspired the creation of the podcast. Attending the Amputee Coalition’s 2022 Youth Camp, Henry and Brandon met Jordan, who was a camp counselor (and now YEP outreach coordinator), and they quickly formed a strong bond. “I created the podcast with them in mind because I saw their synergy,” said Dr. Alicia Straughter, human resources, D&I, and YEP, VP. “I could see how well they got along, always laughing and telling jokes, so I knew they would flow well together.”
During each episode, the hosts interview a variety of guest speakers and give them the opportunity to share their stories and experiences, and discuss any other topics that are important to them. Other guests on the schedule were Divine Favour Akin, youth engagement reporter; Callaway Lewis, So New Mexicans Can Move advocate; and Cass Isidro, Amputee Coalition president and CEO.
As athletes themselves, Henry, Brandon, and Jordan decided to talk about the misconceptions around sports in the first episode and how they’ve individually learned to adapt and CONQUER at their schools. Henry opened the conversation by acknowledging the assumption that someone with limb difference may not be as good at sports or doesn’t even play.
However, that hasn’t been the case for Henry, who plays basketball and volleyball with one leg. “You have to have patience to figure it out because sometimes you aren’t going to be able to do it the same way,” he said and referenced his adapted shooting form.
Brandon is just as active, playing football, wrestling, and even building and coding robots. In fact, Brandon’s football coach is also an amputee, and he has served as an example of how to play the game with a disability. They also reflected on how the skills learned through sports transfer into other areas of life and ended with their favorite motivational quotes.
The YEP We Can Podcast is more than just a place for fun conversations. It’s a platform for amplifying the voices of youth who are a part of this diverse community and reassuring listeners that they aren’t alone.
“We have a great path ahead of us to make something really phenomenal,” Dr. Straughter said. “The intent of this podcast is to foster very casual, organic discussions and conversations between youth with limb loss or limb difference.”
Providing guest speakers the freedom to determine the subject matter, the podcast was designed to empower youth to express how they truly feel and what they need in a safe and inclusive environment. As others take the time to listen, the podcast will also facilitate greater understanding and unity.
Currently a new episode is released once a month, but as the podcast continues to gain traction additional episodes may be added to the future lineup. Sharing the mic with his co-hosts and friends, Jordan can already see the positive impact this podcast will make on countless kids around the country. “I love watching the kids have fun, feel free to talk, and be themselves proudly!” Jordan shared. “I hope our podcast can do the same for other kids, make them feel like they’re not different, but the same as everyone. That’s why I really like the name ‘YEP We Can’ because they CAN do EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING!”
New episodes are available monthly, and you can listen on the YEP webpage, Google Play, iTunes, AC Connect, Instagram, Facebook, Spotify, Podcast Index, Amazon Music, iHeart, Tune In, or Podcast Addict.
To learn more about YEP, visit amputee-coalition.org, register for updates, and follow the program on TikTok (@yepteam), Facebook (@yepteam), and YouTube (@yep2022). If you or someone you know would like to be considered as a featured guest, follow YEP on Instagram (@yepteam2022) and send a direct message.