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I recently had the incredible opportunity to be part of an eight-week pilot on-site outreach with the My Hero Project, working closely with approximately ninety students from Ascot Avenue Elementary school in South Central Los Angeles. Funded by the Max Factor Family Foundation, this program aimed to integrate MY HERO Media Arts Education, media literacy, and creative storytelling into the school's curriculum.
Together with MY HERO Intern Justine Beed, a graduate of USC School of Cinema, we embarked on a journey of discovery with both mainstream and SEN students. Spending an hour each week with every class, we encouraged the students to find their voices and unleash their creativity. Third and fourth-grade students were challenged to create mini documentaries, paying tribute to heroic women during Women's History Month. Meanwhile, fifth-grade students took on the task of creating Public Service Announcements, advocating for action on global or local issues close to their hearts.
Throughout the program, the staff at Ascot Avenue Elementary also had access to free Media Arts Education resources, including the vast MY HERO stories archive (/stories). We introduced the teachers and students to various concepts of pre-production, production, and post-production, utilizing the technology already available on-site. Our hope was that these projects would continue to inspire and empower students long after the program came to an end.
Dr. Gustavo Ortiz, the school's Principal, played an instrumental role in fostering an environment where students could develop their digital media and creative storytelling skills. He expressed his gratitude for the MY HERO project, which brought "windows and mirrors" to the entire school community. Through the creation of videos, students were able to envision their future through windows and see themselves as part of the pathways laid out by their heroes and sheroes through mirrors.
"The impact of the MY HERO project at Ascot Elementary goes beyond the classroom. It has enriched the lives of students, providing them with tools that will carry them through life. The use of technology and video editing, taught by Frank and Justine, has revitalized Ascot, the oldest standing elementary school structure in LAUSD. The project has brought the future of education to the present, empowering students with the knowledge and skills to express themselves through artistry and student voice.
When we discuss urban education and its potential to make an impact on poverty, social ills, and homelessness, the MY HERO project opens the windows to a brighter future. It highlights resilience, relevance, and the relationships that tie all of us together. It is my belief that programs like this have the power to transform lives and communities."
I am grateful for the privilege of being part of this program and witnessing the transformative power it holds. As I bid farewell to Ascot Avenue Elementary, I carry with me the memories of students discovering their voices, a dedicated staff committed to their growth, and a Principal who sees the potential for big change. Together, let us continue to open windows to a brighter future through storytelling, resilience, and the power of relationships.
The MY HERO Project uses media, art and technology to celebrate the best of humanity, one story at a time. We shine a light on positive role models to help students of all ages realize their own potential to make positive change in the world.
Introducing "I Am My Culture: Digital Storytelling Workshop" at UC Irvine Youth Writing Project!
Join me for an exciting online class designed for students in grades 3-5.
In this workshop, we will explore the art of digital storytelling to express our personal and cultural identities.
Over 15 class sessions, totaling 30 hours of instruction, we will learn how to use Apple iMovie on iPad and MacBook (WeVideo for Chromebook or PC is also supported) to create captivating digital stories. Through still and moving images, voice-over narration, music, and interviews, we will develop essential 21st-century literacy skills while sharing our unique cultural perspectives.
The workshop will run from June 26 to July 13, Mondays to Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. PST (no class on July 4).
Throughout the workshop, you will learn how to express your personal and cultural identity through the art of digital storytelling. We will explore the power of still and moving images, voice-over narration, music, and interviews, discovering how to use these elements effectively to create compelling narratives. By the end of the six-week program, you will have developed a digital story that captures your unique cultural identity, ready to be shared with others.
Limited spots are available, so enroll now to secure your place!
Get ready to embark on a transformative journey of self-expression, creativity, and cultural celebration. Join "I Am My Culture: Digital Storytelling Workshop" at UC Irvine Youth Writing Project and let your stories shine!
Enroll today and be part of this incredible experience.