BUILDING LEADERS

At Spy Hop we understand that our future is tied to the success of our young people; their education, happiness and positive outlook on life is paramount to the success of our communities, our state, our country and the World. Through our work, Spy Hop is building an innovative and creative workforce, a vibrant media and arts landscape, and a resilient and inclusive civil society.

Kitzia Rodriguez: A Lifelong Passion for Music

Kitzia always loved sounds and music and how they can influence our moods, inspire us, and motivate us to act. She found Spy Hop and enrolled in the Audio Apprenticeship Program, learning the ins and outs of sound engineering for film and music, while receiving a monthly stipend.

In November 2015, Kitzia and Spy Hop Executive Director traveled to Washington, D.C. to accept the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama- the nation’s highest honor in afterschool arts programs. Kitzia has also been awarded one of Adobe’s Creativity Scholarships, ensuring her completion of an audio engineering degree from the University of Utah.

“Everyone is given a chance. No one judges. You can be you, and you feel welcome. Everyone is so nice and respectful, and it makes it good to come here, where you can be you and do what you do, and express yourself to others.”

– 2018 Spy Hop Student

Gnimdo Tako: From Beats to Chemical Engineering

Originally from Togo, West Africa Gnimdo found Spy Hop by way of his friends and his untapped passion for music. He started attending Open Mic sessions on Friday nights at Spy Hop and it was there that Gnimdo discovered a love for Ableton and beat-making. He enrolled in the Resonate program and for the first time he recorded his own song, produced beats and performed live with his bandmates. Gnimdo says, “Spy Hop gave me the confidence and the skills to make music that I enjoy making and that helps me express the most human side of my spirit.” Gnimdo is currently in his junior year at the University of Utah studying Chemical Engineering.

“I feel that my experience at Spy Hop has made me much more creative and more critical in the way I think. Spy Hop has really helped me understand the importance of everyone’s opinions.”

—PitchNic Film Student

Ashlyn Cary: The Impact of Design

Working on engaging community projects helped Ashlyn realize a career in design was her calling. Now a junior in the Graphic Design Program at the University of Utah, Ashlyn credits Spy Hop with providing her the tools and head start needed to land internships and jobs typically not accessible to college
students.

“Positive thoughts what’s keeps me going
What keepings me growing
Can’t give up till I succeed
Focus on the things in life that I need (yeah)
So I don’t leave life decisions to a coin toss (nah)”

– Excerpt from “Thursday” by Seven Day Theory, Resonate Hip-Hop Music Program

Dan Tham: A Career in Journalism

For as long as he can remember, Dan has loved the art of storytelling. This passion led him to attend Northwestern University where he received a degree in journalism. Today, Dan is an Associate Producer for CNN in Hong Kong.

“Here’s the story of a boy who at a young age was forced to grow up and be a man. With little knowledge of this life, straight skipped adolescence and before long he soon felt the bitterness and sufferance of having to carry the world in his hands.”

– From the poem “Faith” by Alias, Sending Messages, Spy Hop’s youth-in-custody produced podcast

Samantha Highsmith: Telling Stories to Transform Communities

Samantha Highsmith was 15 years old when she took REEL Stories, her first class at Spy Hop. She went on to participate in Write Shoot Ride, and Watch This!, where she won an Emmy for her film Even-Handed. It aired as a series of youth-produced films that were a part of KUED’s Freedom Riders: Navigating Freedom project. Sam attended Seattle University, after which, she worked at KCTS Channel 9 in Seattle before moving back to Salt Lake City in 2015. Sam worked briefly as a camera operator for KUED Channel 7 in Salt Lake City before becoming a special projects producer for ABC 4. When asked what Spy Hop did for her, Sam replied, “I seriously owe my life to that place!

“I think Spy Hop was a real confidence booster for me. It boosted my confidence to be here and not be talked down to and actually show that, hey, I know this. I can do this. I can show you how to do it, too.” 

– 2017 Spy Hop Student

STUDENTS SERVED 2016-17

CORE CLASSES

  • ASIAN
  • BLACK/AFRICAN AMERICAN
  • NATIVE HAWAIIAN
  • HISPANIC LATINO
  • NATIVE AMERICAN
  • MULTIRACIAL
  • WHITE/NON-HISPANIC

COMMUNITY CLASSES

  • ASIAN
  • BLACK/AFRICAN AMERICAN
  • NATIVE HAWAIIAN
  • HISPANIC LATINO
  • NATIVE AMERICAN
  • MULTIRACIAL
  • WHITE/NON-HISPANIC

Spy Hop’s core programs, for students ages 13-19, take place
year-round in our youth media arts center.

Not all students are able to participate in our core programs, so Spy Hop brings our programs to them! This often includes underserved youth and youth-in-care students.

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