The Strive Media Story

One Man’s Vision Can Make A Difference

Matthew Johnson developed a passion for urban kids in the early 90s. He believed that what prevents many minority kids from success is a lack of opportunity and encouragement. So, he developed the Strive Media Institute that allows high-risk kids the opportunity to develop marketable skills in the area of mass communications. From its headquarters on Martin Luther King Drive, Strive kids have produced an Emmy award-winning weekly television show, Teen Forum, and a national magazine for teens, Gumbo. In addition, some of the kids even managed a website design company called TechKnow Solutions, profiled in The Milwaukee Journal.

Strive has established an educational curriculum geared toward emerging fields of communication technology, integrated marketing communications, print journalism, and video/film production. Students in the program take classes with tangible goals in an environment of professionalism and success.

These students are the same ones who attended those notorious inner-city schools with meshed windows and metal detectors. They often lived down the street from drug houses and prostitution strips. Credit Matthew Johnson for understanding that all human beings have been molded from the same clay. Some are just offered a little more help day by day.

So, Matthew Johnson, a graduate himself from Milwaukee Tech, found a way to help high-risk kids, and a new generation of filmmakers is emerging. It’s a wonderful story and one well worth hearing first hand should you ever find your way to that part of town and have time to stop in to the beautiful facility at 1818 N. Martin Luther King Drive.

While in the neighborhood, you might also swing past the site of the new St. Marcus School going up at Palmer and Garfield. It’s to be the new home of one of the more successful urban education programs in the city, and the home of the Wandani Youth Outreach, a tutoring and sports program that has reached over four hundred kids from some of the city’s toughest areas over the past eighteen months. There, too, a whole generation of potential artists and community-builders is taking strides forward.

It’s not all bad news these days. As Michael Moore recently pointed out, the bad news just sells a little better. There are wonderful stories out there in the world of filmmaking, like the Strive Media Institute, that just need to be heard.