Our mission is to empower young people from diverse backgrounds to express themselves, build self-confidence and develop leadership skills through community broadcasting.
AZYEP was founded in 2000 by Annemarie Zanca, LPC in honor of her brother Andy. Andy was a volunteer DJ on KDNK Community Access Radio beginning at age nine until his death at age 21; he died by suicide in 1998. A child and family therapist at the time, Annemarie recognized the power of radio in helping develop self-esteem in young people, as well as the influence it has to combat isolation. She started the program so that all kids can learn about radio. By giving kids a medium to use their voice, they gain opportunities for self-expression and the community gains insight into the youth culture. AZYEP provides social-emotional support and community connection for all kids and listeners.
In our twenty-year history, AZYEP has partnered closely with KDNK, Carbondale Community Access Radio and has grown from a 30-minute weekly radio program to hosting six hours and 1/2 of music and talk shows each week in both English and Spanish.
In 2007 AZYEP began partnering with teachers to incorporate radio projects into the school experience for third to twelfth graders. Over 3,000 students from Aspen to Parachute have broadcast on KDNK through classroom classroom collaborations.
AZYEP began hosting a youth news team in collaboration with the KDNK news team in 2017. Students meet each week to investigate topics of interest and develop their communication skills. Each month the team produces a live public affairs show.
In 2016 AZYEP began a Peer Mentoring Program and training for high school participants to teach radio broadcasting to younger participants during our summer radio camp and weekly youth radio programs.
"I wanted to be a part of AZYEP because it seemed like a really cool opportunity for my voice to be heard and to make a difference in the community. It was also a chance for me to share my love of music with others and to make friends. I got to interview lots of interesting people, so I learned about a wide range of topics."
~ Maija, AZYEP Scholarship Winner and Board Vice-President 2013-2018
"AZYEP has helped me in my life outside of radio broadcasting by giving me more confidence. I feel like if I can talk to a huge clump of people on air, what can't I do? The first time I went off a diving board into a swimming pool was the day after the first time I went on the air with my sister! AZYEP is important because it shows people that anybody can do anything. It is just awesome!"
~ Lily, AZYEP Participant 2014-2018
"Being on the radio has helped me outside of the station because I feel more confident that what I say means something."
~ Connor, AZYEP Participant 2017-2018
"I feel like I have a voice in the community. I have improved many skills from being a DJ. It helps me get out of my comfort zone, I have become more confident, I am a better speaker and I am getting better at using technology. Because I've gained confidence through radio I have been able to approach new students at school and start conversations."
~ Rachael, AZYEP Participant and Board Member 2015-2018
"Being on the radio has helped me speak loud and clear. I have more confidence in myself. I have also learned how to see things from different perspectives and have an open mind."
~ Liliana, AZYEP Participant 2014-2018
"As a middle school teacher it can be difficult to find authentic audiences that can encourage our students to think outside the classroom. When students know their work is going to impact the world around them, the classroom work becomes more meaningful and the learning increases. The classroom program run by the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program has filled the niche that I needed to empower my students. Knowing they are writing something that will air on the radio prompts students to create high quality work."
~Teacher Feedback: Autumn Rivera, Glenwood Springs Middle School 6th grade teacher
"Collaborating with AZYEP was a powerful experience for the 4th grade Crew at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. As a final performance task for their Geography Expedition, students created PSA's to share their learning with the community. The authentic audience provided a platform for students to truly feel that their work and learning matters, making for more meaningful and engaging work. It also empowered the students to feel that their voice matters. All 83 4th graders at GSES heard themselves on the radio, which was so inspiring to get 100% participation. The shared experience allowed students to support each other and build confidence. They truly believed they had an important message to share with the community. Many students shared in their reflections that this radio collaboration was a very memorable experience and they were excited for their next radio project! I am so grateful for AZYEP and the opportunities that they provide for our kids!"
~Teacher Feedback: Julie Allen, GSMS, third grade teacher