MADISON, Wis. — As host of the Madison-based Outta Dee Box Podcast and through a collaboration with the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center, Dee Star is teaching today’s struggling youth how to host their own podcast.
He spends two days working with a small group of kids and teaching them everything there is to know about running a podcast. It’s all made possible through the Teen Bubbler program, which is sponsored by the Madison Public Library.
On the first day, Dee tries to get to know the kids he’s working with.
“I just wanted to do a quick check in with y’all, see how y’all are doing,” said Dee in a session.
He starts out by asking them what they’d want to be when they grow up if time and money weren’t factors.
“Some of the kids said, ‘I have never even thought about that,’ so then it gets their mind going: ‘What do I want to do? What am I good at? What do I want to be?’” said Dee.
Many of them have never had time to dream or think about the future.
“I can’t think about that right now, I have two kids to raise,” said one child in the program.
“Two kids?” said Dee. “So you have twins?”
“Not twins but two girls. They were just born,” said the kid.
Dee said his intention when asking about the future is to open kids’ minds to new possibilities.
“The goal is for them to take their minds out of here and teach them a new skill,” said Dee.
Next, he teaches them how to set up and run the podcast equipment. On day two, he invites a guest in, usually an adult that can relate to what the kids are going through.
According to the Wisconsin office of Children’s Mental Health, 44,157 Wisconsin youth between the ages of 10 and 16 were arrested in 2015. That is a 40% decline compared to 2011 but still higher than the national average.
A large majority of violent youth offenders have an incarcerated household member, which leads them to deal with trauma and mental health issues.
Chi Town Taurus, a Chicago-based rapper, was the guest on day two of this particular podcast workshop. The rapper said he knows all too well what these kids are struggling with because he spent time in the Dane County Juvenile Detention Center as a kid.
“14 years old, I got arrested for a crime that never took place, but this was my start and I realized how much of an effect it really has on people,” said Chi Town Taurus.
While Chi Town Taurus was in the detention center, someone came to visit and speak to him, just like he’s doing now for today’s youth.
“Years later it had an impact on me, when I thought, ‘dang I should have listened to that guy,’” said Chi Town Taurus. “In my book, at some point that advice is going to register to you and I hope to be a part of that.”
People of all ages struggle with mental health issues and many kids have no idea how to deal with the trauma that life has dealt them.
Dee said he hopes that through this podcast workshop, he can inspire Wisconsin’s youth to stay out of the prison system and focus on a better future.
“I have had so many kids start off like, ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to do this’ and then when they actually do it, they just love it,” said Dee. “It definitely opens their minds.”