About Us

We are a site dedicated to handing youth and young adults the megaphone they need to be heard! We host monthly episodes that target social issues faced by today’s youth. Youths and teens come together in a forum format and discuss the issue with the intent to let our viewers know that they are not alone in whatever they are dealing with. Many solutions also arise from these discussions. Along with the Forum are segments meant to compliment the discussion: Youth News (reported MacNeil-Lehrer stylewith Journalists’ Roundtable (á la The McLaughlin Group), Street Beat (off-the-cuff comments by teens), Ask An Expert (knowledgeable community members shed light on the topic), and Community Events.  To join the discussion, you can comment on the blog for each episode; you can also submit your writing to create a discussion of your own.

On our site, we have staff writers who post regularly to offer advice and insight into other issues. Some posts will feature a personal anecdote, recognize & celebrate youth success, or research about a topic that we believe our readers should know more about.

If you would like to guest blog, please visit: our Blog With Us! page

If you would like to be on our show or become a staff writer please contact us at: participate@talkback4teens.com or (585) 454-9830 and we will make it happen!

Meet the Staff!
TALKBACK4Teens is dedicated in memory of Brianna.

john Ornelas, Executive Producer and Founder
Originally from Los Angeles, “O.>” created TALKBACK4Teens from the desire to help youths in the community. His three teen sons are also the motivation for his continued work with TalkBack and his other shows for senior citizens, small business owners, chess instruction, and for reform of the family courts, as well as his WXIR/Mixcloud/Soundcloud radio show on property rights: Evicted Vinyl. He believes in being a force for good. Join forces with us!

Read Two Year Anniversary Message: Anniversary Message

Read Four Year Anniversary Message: Touch and Go, and Go Again

Watch Fifth Year Anniversary Video: First 5

Read Year Six Anniversary Post: Advocacy

TALKBACK4Teens is dedicated in memory of Brianna. Not Forgotten.

Contact to support or discuss sponsorship:  jornelas@talkback4teens.com

Former Staff

Tianna Mañón
The inimitable T was our first Teen Host and first News Anchor, our first Managing Editor & Social Media Manager who transformed our website, garnered followers with her tweets and created our facebook page & Instagram page and the segments Youth News, Street Beat and Ask An Expert, as well as The Talent Project. As our first staff writer, she wrote articles for our website which are still being viewed in huge numbers from all over the world to this day. Graduating from RIT this month summa cum laud with degrees in Journalism and Political Science, she is a Rochester native who joined us on episode 6.0 Teen Pregnancy when she was a 17-year-old senior at School Without Walls and worked at Safe Sex Inc. She immediately stood out to our EP, who recruited her to the show with the promise of editorial control of the website. She returned to Washington DC to live and pursue her career starting with Urban Turf newspaper where she spent a momentous Summer internship reporting for The Hill newspaper. She is Editor-In-Chief at Open Mic Magazine.  And she studies culinary arts at MCC.471532290_100x75She earned the title Teen Co-Founder of TB4T and co-produced several episodes including 11.0 Social Media & Sexting, 16.0 Back2School and 35.0 Slam! She was a regular blogger for Tavis Smiley and once interviewed Cornel West. Along with her long-time beau Victor, she is the owner & founder of East Coasters. Screenshot2012-10-13at63640PMOur favorite lines by her: “NO! You’re seventeen years old, you’re sexting, do you think it’ll have an effect on twenty-four-year-old you?!” “Sex is very personal; maybe that’s where we went wrong as a society, putting it out there to actually sell stuff.” “…you recognize other people as people and not just fixtures in your own world.”  “You just wanna pee, man.” We fully expect her to change the world as a print journalist. She returned as a guest on episode 47.0 Former Hosts and as guest journalist on the Youth News Journalists’ Roundtable for 51.0 Campus Mass Shootings, and as a guest host on episodes 55.0 Our Lives Matter & 63.0 UnHoly Trinity. Read her one year anniversary message: Letter from the Editor  See the amazing work she and her staff are doing at OpenMicROC.com and Follow her @tiannamanon

Jordanaé Smith
The multi-talented Ms. J’ was our second year host who took over as Lead Host and News Anchor, then later took over as Instagram Wrangler. Together with Tianna, she created the segments Youth News, Street Beat and Ask An Expert. Her first episode was on 14.0 Drugs when she was a 17-year-old senior at Wilson Magnet High School. With her insightful comments, she quickly drew the attention of Tianna who then recruited her as her own replacement at host. She became one of our first interns at her high school. 469287681_100x75She co-produced several segments, including 16.0 Back2School and 18.0 Parties, where she introduced set design to the show, 21.0 Food and 22.0 Race. JS AnniversaryShe wrote our first fiction short story for the website “Fate/Kris.”  She constantly amazed the staff with her beautiful fashion transformations. She is a Sophomore at RIT this year where she studies Interior Design after switching from Fashion Design. Our favorite lines by her: “The pepper spray, what it’s doing is promoting better thinking.” “If i could marry a fastfood restaurant it would be Subway.” “Before you get me, I’m gonna have to get you.” “Let me tell you what that was, she had a hot Skype date.” “Everything I do, I am criticized!” She already has the tentative agreement to design Veronica’s first house. She returned as a guest on episodes 38.0 Freshman Year College, 44.0 D.I.V.A.S. and 47.0 Former Hosts.  See her one year anniversary message video: Jordanae’ Smith Sings One Year Anniversary Message

Olivia Nkenge Harrison

Our third year Lead Host and Lead News Anchor, and first college-level intern, who comes from Syracuse NY, irrepressible Livia is a graduating senior this month at RIT majoring in Journalism and minoring in Spanish, a member of DIVAS and MCAS, who spent a semester studying abroad in the Dominican Republic. Recruited by Tianna as a Junior at RIT, her first episode with us was on Street Beat for 29.0 Good Year or Bad? and Forum 30.0 LGBT w/Youth News: Sparks Shooting. She was co-producer for episodes 36.0 Prominent Women, 33.0 Online Dating and 37.0 MOCHA RIT. AIbEiAIAAABECO_w3pHgy9u2iwEiC3ZjYXJkX3Bob3RvKig3ODk4ZmZhZTVkNzczMWIzOTQxMTg1ZDQ4ZWE1ZGZiZWE3YWU0NzViMAHKol91JBWQf3gCnvhLM2Vqg6gHogAn exceptionally positive and outgoing person, she did tremendously well at putting our guests at ease and lifting up by example her co-host Bernard and co-anchor Tymoni. Our favorite line by her: “Pounding to his head, pounding and pounding!” 33.0Forum Instagram clip8

She moves to PA to pursue her career in graduate school. She is destined for greatness in Broadcast Journalism, so look for her lovely face on your screens. She returned as guest on episodes 44.0 D.I.V.A.S. and 47.0 Former Hosts.

Bernard Rodgers
A talented interviewer who wants to have his own show someday, now a Sophomore in Communications at RIT, Bernard took over as lead host and news anchor for year four after serving as Olivia’s co-host. He was recruited by Shantinique and Jordanaé during their Summer Bridge before freshman year at RIT. The creator of our Community Events segment, he first joined us as Street Beat Interviewer on episode 27.0 Gamers and as co-host on our Forum for 30.0 LGBT with Youth News: Sparks Shooting. He was co-producer on episode 37.0 MOCHA RIT. He also completed the Studio Production class at RCTV and worked as camera operator on segments, b-roll and episodes, including 41.0 Teen Improv. Our favorite lines by him: “This lady was from Hell.”  “Tell me to shut up, I’m telling you!”

Zoë Sullivan
Abundant with attitude, our fifth year lead host Zo joined us as a junior at Irondequoit High School interested in communications, as on-air intern at host and anchor.  Our first music consultant and first teen (video) Editor, she was a DJ at her high school radio station, WIRQ, and also the activities Director on the station’s Board of Directors. She works for the company BRL Entertainment Solutions, where she excels as music manager (buying new music, making party playlists and such), editing wedding videos, running the photo booth and DJing many events. 50.4 Instagram

Her first episode as Co-Host was on episode 44.0 where the topic was DIVAS from RIT, followed by 45.0 Solutions Not Suspensions as Co-Host. She was then Host for 46.0 at IHS, topic: Relationships in High School. She completed the Interviewing class at Writers & Books called Popping the Questions.  Our favorite lines by her: “Fun. Yay America.” “Religious people AREN’T crazy.” “I’m so done.” “What did you take away from that fun time of your life?”  “wow, that’s really relatable to my current life.” “omg, messed up”  “But when small business is what keeps this country together!”  “Helpful tip to women, don’t date a guy in a band if you don’t want to lug around equipment.”  “…fool all of us, like this is an Ocean’s Eleven movie.”

Clara Wagner
clara wagner A graduate of IHS and a Tufts University student in Communication, and friend of Lem Lem, Clara was Year Six lead host as well as Co-Producer. YN Instag 59.3
She graduated from West Irondequoit in 2014, and since has pursued learning in international development, nonfiction storytelling, public relations, and nonprofit work. She plans on continuing and exploring her education in how to use words, images, and sounds to tell stories that matter. She joined us for episode 59.0 Smoking.
You can follow this brilliant child on her blog My Brutiful Life

Shantinique Cowans
A talented artist and athlete, Shantinique is now a junior at RIT in Film and New Media Interactive. Ms.Shan first joined the show as a 17-year-old senior at Wilson Magnet HS as an Assistant Producer Intern, our first intern!, and participant on episode 19.0 where the topic was Sports. She was a frequent Forum co-host for Jordanaé and Bernard, and Street Beat interviewer, and Youth News co-anchor, and took over the Ask An Expert segment as Co-Producer. Our favorite lines by her: “I think of myself as an Octopus; an Octopus, they reach out for what they want and hold on for dear life.” “I might introduce Veronica as, This is my white sister; this is my family.” “I would laugh and somebody else wouldn’t get it: it’s a cultural thing.”

Keia Starks
43.0 Keia Starks

Keia is a writer and editor and graduate of MCC in Communications who took over the management of written posts from staff and guests as Blog Managing Editor. On-hand as production assistant at many a Forum, Ke shepherded the guests, ran the sound board and monitored the conversation during filming. Joining us on episode 43.0 Forum on Non-Violence & Youth News: 40 Pound Girl. Ke also stepped in as Host on episode 54.0 Teen Activists.

Instagram 54.18

She completed the Interviewing Workshop at Writers & Books called Popping the Questions.

Amber Stokes

Joining the staff off-camera, Amber was a second year student in Graphic Design at MCC when she took over as Graphic Designer, Social Media & Website Manager. She created stunning posters & flyers for the show, while overseeing the website and all of our social media, from FB & Twitter to Instagram, Pinterest & Tumblr.


Coaxed on-camera only once, see her on the Youth News segment for 42.0 Alyssa On Mars

Dean Lawrence
Mighty Dean was the main co-host for Jordanae’ during our second year, as well as a frequent Street Beat interviewer. His deep voice and penchant for pithy statements made him a favorite of the staff. His first episode was on 16.0 Back2School, followed by 17.0 Politics. He is an alum of Wilson Magnet High School and also of Teen Empowerment. Our favorite line by him: “My homework’s not really getting much attention.”  “Gravity always pulls you down; So if you let go, you’re gonna fall.” He left the show to pursue a military career.

Veronica Arnone
The audacious Ms. V was recruited by Jordanae’ as a 17-year-old senior at Wilson Magnet High School in the IB program there with best friend Shantinique & Jordanaé, as a guest on episode 21.0 Food. She stayed on as co-host, co-anchor and Street Beat interviewer. She graduated at the top of her IB program and won many awards, including Channel 13’s Scholar Athlete of the month for her amazing pitching arm. 38.6 InstagNow a sophomore at Castleton College in Vermont, she switched from a Nursing major to Physician’s Assistant. Our favorite lines by her: “So you get new boobs put in, and you still can’t fit into the shirt you want, but you now have this new asset you paid thousands of dollars for…” “I think the best definition of race is a label, not necessarily genetic, a label people use to put down others.” She returned as a guest on episode 38.0 Freshman Year College.

Destiney Williams
The main co-host for Bernard in year four, Dest is a college freshman studying Child Psychology at Roberts Wesleyan. She first joined us as a 17-year-old senior at Wheatland-Chili HS on episode 32.0 Urban-Suburban Our favorite lines by her: “That got awkward real fast.”  “I only get like one day off.”

Tatiana Lovejoy
38.1 Instag 10

A student in Liberal Arts at MCC pursuing Fashion Design, Tatiana first joined us as a 17-year-old senior at Northeast Prep High. A friend of and frequent counter-point to our second year teen host Jordanaé, Tatiana joined us on the same episode 14.0 Drugs & Teens. Our favorite line by her: “It’s your fault if you’re getting paid to teach, but you’re not really teaching.” She returned as a guest on episode 38.0 Freshman Year College wearing a great ensemble and jewellery she designed herself.

Tymoni Correa-Buntley
A Sophomore in Journalism at RIT recruited by Tianna, Ty joined the show to work with Olivia at Anchor for the Youth News. Her first episode was 31.0 Knockout. Our favorite lines by her: “Are you lying?” “I don’t know, I think I’d want to go to Outer Space.” A strong writer and journalist, we’re certain she will make a name for herself in journalism. She left for a year abroad studying in London England. Third year RIT Journalism student Ty rejoined our staff as News Director for our Youth News segment, where she launched the Journalists’ Roundtable. She was co-anchor with Olivia & Bernard in year three, and has interned for the Democrat & Chronicle and Reporter Magazine. She is pursuing a dual major in journalism and political science with a minor in sociology. She has strong interests in the arts, education, human rights, poverty alleviation, and how all of these influence pop culture. She returns from a year studying abroad in London England. Recently, she has been freelance writing, script writing, and working in audio production.
Blog: tlcorreabuntley.wordpress.com  Twitter:@tymonilashayy

Marianna Santos
Mar joined us as a sophomore at IHS whose goal is Forensics in law enforcement.   She is a veteran of the Monroe County Teen Police Academy, where she climbed walls and took down straw perps, who won an Honorable Mention Award from Monroe County for her PSA STOP DWI. She recently was nominated for the Youth Leadership Forum for Law & CSI in Washington DC. Instagram YN48.7She joined us as a production intern and staff writer; her first episode was as camera operator on episode 44.0 where the topic was DIVAS from RIT. She was then Co-Producer and camera operator for 46.0 at IHS, topic: Relationships in High School, followed by Co-Anchor with Zoe on Youth News 48.0: Slender Man. She also finished the Studio Production Class at RCTV.  Our favorite lines by her: “So that’s what’s happening in Wisconsin fer ya.”  “oh, are you frickin’ serious?”

Layne Wall

Layne joined us on sound board for episodes 55.0 Our Lives Matter and 56.0 Change Agents, a graduate of RCSD’s Wilson High School and School Without Walls, who stepped up as Interviewer & Host on Ask An Expert and Forum for Episode 57.0 Gun Violence.  He was working on a show for RCTV and for WXIR: GenerationY.

Alex Dankwa
YN Instag 59.1
Alex joined us as Production Assistant and was on-camera as commentator for episode 59.0 Youth News LGBT At Risk/ Free College.

Celine Anderson
Joining us as a freshman in Journalism at RIT recruited by Tianna, Celine created our Pinterest page, produced and directed our first Ask An Expert segments, for 19.0 Sports and 21.0 Food. She also joined us as a guest on 33.0 Online Dating. Our favorite line by her: “I will Google you in a heartbeat.”  Celine returned to her hometown of NYC.

Thank You! to our production company NoDogsInHelicopters!:JOrnelas, Jim Strauss & Jesús Duprey.
And to our parent O4Media, as well as to the now defunct ROCTV Producers’ Cooperative: Jim Strauss, jOrnelas, Stan Main, Debra Rhoten, Judy Davis & Carol White-LLewelyn.

3 Comments on “About Us”

  1. classroomchitchatfacilitator
    March 23, 2013 at 7:04 pm #

    I think you have a great idea here for sharing news and topics that would be important to teens and others. If you’re in need of any content, you’re welcome to check out my blog “Classroom Chit Chat”, a project I started with my students in Peru in which they shared on topics important to them and conducted interviews. Also, if you would like to share content on “Classroom Chit Chat”, you’re more than welcome.

  2. Trista Ngin
    February 20, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

    A social issue (also called a social ill or a social problem) is an issue that relates to society’s perception of people’s personal lives. Different societies have different perceptions and what may be normal behaviour in one society may be a significant social issue in another society. Social issues are distinguished from economic issues. ‘

    Our blog

  3. sarah
    October 10, 2012 at 12:48 am #

    Just caught your episode on drugs. Please know that every person on the panel, including the host, comes across so articulate and knowledgable. Your words provide so much insight and motivation. Continue to raise awareness and stay on the path you are paving for yourself, because your future is full of success, every single one of you. Well done! Well spoken! Thank you for leading by a beautiful example.

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