Jesse Medeiros; Executive Director

Jesse Medeiros has been working in film & television for more than 20 years, regularly providing both corporate, nonprofit and network clients with turn-key production design for shows, live events and installations.  His passion for high-risk kids come from a deeply personal place. 

“I was these kids,” Mr. Medeiros states, “I know the things they are struggling with. I know exactly what they’re going home to in their neighborhoods and I know what they think their choices are.”

“For me, production was a vehicle.  It allowed me to find a way to support myself, to get an education, and to begin to explore my circumstances in the larger picture of the world around me.”

Jesse’s own father died when he was two years old, leaving his mother, a young woman to raise him alone.  “It is very hard to tell a different story about your life when you (as a young person) cannot get your basic needs met.  I grew up in a neighborhood where you were more likely to know people who went to prison then you were to know people who went to college or started a business.”

With MAP, Mr. Medeiros has come full circle, helping kids not only process their circumstances, but realize that only they can change them.  “Opening doors is important, and that’s what MAP does. We teach real skills and we connect young people with real living-wage work opportunity. As a community, we have to stand next to these kids as they take the first scary steps towards change. I think Austin does a great job of that. We have some incredible organizations here, and MAP is proud to be one of them. 

Nina Medeiros; Creative Director

NinaPrior to co-founding the Media Awareness Project, Nina Medeiros worked heavily in various aspects of communications from script and speech writing to social media management and video production.

“There is nothing more powerful than the human voice.  It keeps hope alive, it crosses mediums, it creates movement in closed systems. We founded MAP because we believe kids & communities do better when youth have a voice in the systems that serve them.”

“I am compelled by these children, by all children really. The world they grow up in is complex. It is often not supportive of their social and emotional learning. Whatever background they come from, kids too often arrive at adulthood without the skills and abilities necessary to create happy sustainable futures.”

Nina’s father disappeared before she was born, creating an emotional, financial and physical absence that would shape her entire life. Losing her mother in her early teens only complicated things more. “It’s impossible to overestimate the impact loss has on young people.  It shapes everything. It colors everything. Approximately 1.5 million kids in this country have an incarcerated parent.  More parents go missing because of social issues like addiction and poverty.  Parents disappear working multiple jobs to keep things afloat. The bottom line is, a lot of kids are doing this thing (growing up) completely alone.”

“The most important thing I think MAP can give kids is the experience of finding a way to stabilize and thrive in chaos, confusion and adversity. If we tell ourselves (as a society) they’re sunk…we seal their fate.  This mentality costs all of us. It costs us money- billions of dollars spent on institutional care. It costs us in skill, millions of lives wasted, that could have been productive contributing components of this great democracy. And it costs us the unspeakable–the human collateral is absolutely devastating.”