November 30, 2004
Jaime Frost spent four years working in New York City’s fashion industry, focusing on the threads that appeal to young people. She’s now using her expertise to draw East Valley teens into 4 U magazine, a local publication launched in August that focuses on issues from the popularity of tweed blazers to eating disorders.
Frost, 28, says 4 U magazine, headquartered in Mesa, is becoming a place where teens can learn about issues affecting their peers, exercise self-expression and gain journalism experience.
"We use it as a place for them to get their first byline and get their stuff read and get their artwork out there," Frost says. "To have the extra participation and the extra activity on their applications for college just looks so good, and a printed byline is so good for anyone interested in writing."
Frost says the free publication’s content is aimed at educating and inspiring young people. And aspiring artists, photographers and writers from across the East Valley are welcome to submit their work for publication.
"It’s directed toward teenagers, but I’m finding that even people 20-plus are reading it and are liking it," Frost says.
The colorful fashion pages and glossy covers entice students to open the magazine, where they can read articles written by and about people they know and are likely to relate to. Teens can find tips on taking the SAT, spotlights on colleges and universities, music and book reviews and features on local bands.
But 4 U doesn’t shy away from more serious stories, like what it’s like to live with bulimia and dealing with teen pregnancy.
Frost admits she drew some controversy from parents over "The Diary of a Pregnant Teen" series, which began in the magazine’s premiere issue. But she believes this is one of many useful lessons young people can learn about from one another.
In the diary, a young girl talks about how difficult her journey through teen pregnancy has been and how it has changed her life.
"I figure if they read it from someone who’s gone through it, it’s different than reading about it in the nurse’s office," Frost says. "If one girl reads it and says, ‘I don’t want to get pregnant, I better go on birth control or abstain,’ then that’s perfect."
The magazine is now being distributed by advertisers and at the East Valley Institute of Technology, and Frost is hoping to find more locations people can pick it up for free. Teens can also access 4 U on the Internet at www.4umag.com.
"It’s just a way to keep encouraging (teens) and keep them doing positive things in their lives," Frost says.