Helena: Tell us about your companies and how they lead you to create a magazine for today’s youth?
Chevonna: The name of my original company is YWRAP that is Young Women Rising Above Perception. We mentor young women; we teach them to create visions and strategies for them to stay on the path to success. In addition we work with students struggling academically and that led us to establish the Whitney E. Johnson Foundation, in honor of my mother-in-law. YWRAP has a partnership with the Brentwood, Long Island School District and we have several programs that we work in connection with them, such as mentoring and the educational piece that provides Saturday school. Local professors provide tutoring, math, science, reading, literature and Spanish for Saturday school. All of this is what led us to develop All About Us Youth Magazine (AAU). The focus of the magazine is to help the youth establish a true relationship with their purpose and to encourage and nurture a loving relationship of “self” to allow them to explore and develop a greater respect for the person they are seeking to become.
We want to tell the story of youth that are turning their lives around and having a positive experience, so that if someone else is having the same struggles they can identify with that person who is writing in our magazine. We want to educate and involve parents also. So with that said, I started this journey with my husband Roger Johnson, Debricka Taylor, Editor In Chief and Le’ Verne Martin, Graphic Design artist. We have partnerships in developing this magazine and I’m very excited about it because it’s going to be very powerful and engaging. We’re also partnering with other colleges and college students who major in Journalism and Technology to help write articles for the magazine as well.
Helena: How important is it to also engage parents in the magazine?
Chevonna: AAU Magazine wants every opportunity to engage parents, because parents are starting to ask us questions about this generation of youth. Parents are struggling to understand this generation and all that is going on and the politics behind it. We really want to educate and help them understand really what is going on and how they can connect with the youth. We want to talk about parent-teen communication and how to strengthen the communication gap.
Helena: How do you think social media and technology has affected the youth in a positive way and in a negative way?
Chevonna: With technology at what point do we really want to draw the line as far as family, for example using GPS to find out where are kids are is a wonderful tool. The negative side is we shouldn’t have to connect with our families using technology especially when we are right in the same household where we can just sit and have a conversation.
Technology can be a double-edged sword because of social media and the social impact, especially with some of the young ladies thinking it’s cool to send their bodies across social media.I gave a talk about time to a group of young ladies, and I told them, there’s only 24 hours in a day and I had them break down what they did with their time. They realized that they spent more of their time engaging on social media than they do with their family. We have 86,400 seconds in a day and when the day is over, you’re going to have to answer for that time.
Helena: Do you have a launch date for the magazine?
Chevonna: We are shooting for May 12, 2014. We will initially be doing a promo magazine that will give readers a taste to what’s going to be in the magazine and what to expect. The magazine will initially be distributed on a quarterly basis until we get a feel of how the magazine is going. So we’re really excited about it.
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