Pennsylvania Film Festival Puts Spotlight on Youth-Created PSAs

HaydenfilmsLast year, 50 young people representing various Reading, Penn., nonprofits created public service announcements with the help of the Haydenfilms Institute (HFI) Youth Media Initiative.

According to HFI Executive Director Hayden Craddolph, the eight-week workshop allowed teens in the curriculum to address what they considered to be the root causes of their community’s problems.

“Once the students then produced the public service announcements … their peers are able to consume, share and view the work that the teens have produced,” Craddolph stated. “We feel it’s going to impact not only the students from the program, but their local communities.”

With the assistance of media professionals, the young people wrote, directed and filmed 20 PSAs to raise awareness for their nonprofit organizations and youth-centric causes, addressing domestic violence, substance abuse and even the funding for local arts programs.

Recently, all 20 PSAs were uploaded to the HFI’s official website, with public voting now open via the Haydenfilms PSA Online Film Festival.

After public voting concludes on July 21, the top three PSA production teams will be honored at an upcoming awards ceremony, and split a $10,000 scholarship.

Partnering with the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Project, numerous Reading nonprofits, including The Reading Musical Foundation, The Council on Chemical Abuse and Berks Women in Crisis are represented in the project.

Craddolph, a self-described “crusader for media literacy,”  said the medium of film is an excellent vessel for young people to voice their concerns about a number of social issues.

Economic hardships, he said, were of special concern to local young people.

The New York Times reported Reading [was] the poorest city in the country in 2011,” Craddolph said. “So poverty is one of the main issues, as well as crime and substance abuse.”

Craddolph said the idea for the festival stemmed from meeting a filmmaker who produced a project about child sexual abuse in 2009. Wanting to create a similar platform tackling multiple youth issues, Craddolph was able to launch the Youth Media Initiative last year, thanks to a $35,000 grant from St. Joseph Medical Center.

“We obviously impacted the 50 students who participated,” Craddolph said. “We transported them out of the community of Reading, Penn., to Kutztown University for eight weeks, so we ended up giving those students immediate hope by putting them on a college campus.”

The issues tackled by the students in the curriculum aren’t just relevant on the local level, he believes. “We’re hoping these stories transcend boundaries and create a dialogue,” he said. “Not only for the Reading area, locally, but the regional area and the world.”


Youth Today is the only independent, internationally distributed digital media publication that is read by thousands of professionals in the youth service field.

Youth Today adheres to high-quality journalistic standards, providing readers with professional news coverage dedicated to examining a wide spectrum of complex issues in the youth services industry from legislation to community-based youth work.


Our organization retains full authority over editorial content to protect the best journalistic and business interests of our organization. We maintain a firewall between news coverage decisions and sources of all revenue.


We are committed to transparency in every aspect of funding our organization. Donors may be quoted, mentioned or featured in our stories. Our news judgments are made independently – not based on or influenced by donors. Accepting financial support does not mean we endorse donors or their products, services or opinions…(read more)

Youth Today's ISSN: 10896724
Our XML website site map:

Recent Comments



Logo Grant professional Association Business Alliance
LOGO Institute for Nonprofit News 3 turquoise boxes stacked in "J" shape

Copyright © 2019 Youth Today and MVP Themes --- Published by Center for Sustainable Journalism,
1200 Chastain Rd, MD 00310, Chastain Pointe Bldg 300, Suite 310, Kennesaw, GA 30144-5591

To Top