'Youth Voice Amplified' podcast debuts, gives young people in Kern a voice to create positive change


February 18, 2023

The Foster & Homeless Education Services Program at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools office announced today that it has launched a podcast called "Youth Voice Amplified." The youth-led and youth-focused monthly interview series is produced and hosted by KCSOS's two Peer Support Specialists, Gennessa Fisher and Brian Johnson, who will talk with young people in our community about their life experiences with homelessness, foster care, disabilities, teen parenting, and much more. Each conversation will uncover stories of hope and strength from youth storytellers who want to reach back and share the best ways we all can support youth in similar situations as theirs.

"The goal of the podcast is simply to provide a platform for every young person to tell their story and create positive change around them," said Youth Voice Amplified co-host Brian Johnson. "If you want to know how to do better for youth or simply be inspired, this is your show."

The podcast is designed to be enjoyed by all listeners but is of particular relevance to those in education and youth-serving organizations. The mission of the project is to help educate our community on important topics and have storytellers tell their first-hand experiences and consider ways that you can implement changes to better meet their needs.

"When young people share their stories, they can change the world, but some youth voices still go unheard," said co-host Gennessa Fisher. "Providing that voice is what this podcast is all about."

Episodes of Youth Voice Amplified can be found at http://www.kern.org/yva or by searching Spotify, Google Podcasts, or Apple Podcasts. New episodes will drop on the first Wednesday of every month. If you would like to ask a question, recommend a topic, or suggest a guest, please send an email to youthvoiceamplified@gmail.com.

About the hosts

Gennessa Fisher is one of Kern County's strongest advocates for utilizing youths' perspectives to create change within the foster care and homeless systems. Drawing from her lived experience of homelessness and foster care, Gennessa acts as the Bakersfield-Kern Regional Homeless Collaborative's Youth Action Board Chair and serves on the Collaborative's Governing Board. She is deeply committed to working in partnership with schools and community partners to develop strategic solutions to end youth homelessness.

Gennessa currently works as a Peer Support Specialist at the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office. She is very passionate about working with young people on a daily basis at the Dream Center, a foster youth outreach center, and seeks out any opportunity to help them recognize their awesomeness.

As a former foster youth, a foster youth advocate, and a foster parent, Brian Johnson has a unique perspective on the impact of foster care on the lives of children and youth. Brian joined the Kern County Superintendent of Schools Office in 2022 as a Peer Support Specialist at the Dream Center. Each day, he ensures that foster youth and homeless youth have a voice and the services they need to overcome barriers to education, employment, and housing. Brian believes that by getting to know a foster youth's story can grow our understanding of their foster care journey. Outside of the office, Brian, for the past five years, has been a devoted foster parent walking children through traumatic times and helping them to better succeed in life.


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