CAMBRIA COUNTY— Two former Community Foundation for the Alleghenies Youth Philanthropy Interns were honored with a national award for the radio documentary, “An Unlikely Oasis in Johnstown, PA – Tranquility Gardens.” This recognition comes as both an honor and surprise to Tabitha Weaver and David Saylor.
“I never thought I would be honored like this, mainly because I didn’t know this was a way to be honored! However, I am incredibly grateful to PRX for their recognition,” said Saylor. “Additionally, I’d like to thank Larry Berger and Chanessa Schuler of the Saturday Light Brigade for all of their guidance and support throughout the process!”
“David and I were both shocked and ecstatic for receiving this recognition,” said Weaver. “We had no idea that we were entered! We hope that the attention our piece receives will help to promote the Tranquility Gardens.”
“Tabitha and I had actually planned on doing a totally different piece featuring our local arts community. However, after our tour of the gardens everything changed,” said Saylor. “Tranquility Gardens has an overwhelming sense of peace. It is impossible to ignore. After we had been introduced to the grounds, I think we both knew we wanted to switch the focus of our piece.”
“We were both very dedicated to this piece over the summer. We knew the importance of the message that the Gardens’ owner, Steve Purich, is trying to promote and I think we learned how hard work and dedication towards something can bring about results that you did not know were possible,” said Weaver.
Their piece, ‘An Unlikely Oasis in Johnstown, PA – Tranquility Gardens,’ highlights a secluded park where nature, art, and wisdom from Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, and Confucius are combined to provide a setting for youth mentoring and retreats. Their piece can be heard here: https://beta.prx.org/stories/168239
“I think the experience taught me to be able to think from a listener’s perspective. While creating the documentary, Tabitha and I constantly had to think about what the listener’s stream of thought would be as they listened to our piece. Just being able to see another’s perspective in general was a massive part of this project,” said Saylor.
The Community Foundation for the Alleghenies has partnered with SLB for the past three years to develop a series of documentaries as part of our Youth Philanthropy Internship, a program that has been funded through grants from The Heinz Endowments.
PRX is an internationally respected clearinghouse for the distribution of established radio programs and independent features and programs from all over the world. Only 14 other stories were honored as the Best Youth-Made Radio of 2015 and originate from cities throughout the country including Boston, Oakland, and Seattle. All of the winning pieces can be heard at: www.prx.org/playlists/356820.
Saylor and Weaver, both now college freshmen said it’s an honor to be recognized and they could not be prouder of their documentary.
“More than anything else, I just want the public to know Tranquility Gardens exist! I had absolutely no idea this hidden, peaceful gem existed in our tiny neck of the woods. I am forever grateful to have been introduced to it by the Youth Philanthropy Internship. If just a single person learns about Tranquility Gardens from me, then I’ll be elated,” said Saylor.