Everyone wins when youth get engaged with digital media: Jeunes en action – CJE-NDG shows us how

At the Digital Literacy Project, we believe that offering digital skills workshops to community groups helps the participants gain confidence and become empowered to express themselves through media. This increases their sense of opportunities for their own personal goals. Further still, we think that engaging youth with digital media skills  is important for the community in general. Helping reduce barriers to digital tools gets youth involved in positive projects, working on their skills and, more than likely, contributing to Montreal’s economy.

Youth have a lot to offer when given the opportunity to create.

We collaborated with Jeunes en action, a youth socio-professional integrational program of the Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi-NDG , again this winter. We worked on the second part of a documentary video project that we began in the fall of 2011.

We began with a screening of the documentary video we made in the fall. After having chance to look at what they had done, the participants were inspired to make their documentary video have more impact and to get the message out about Jeunes en action.

To tell the story of Jeunes en action, they decided that they needed to tell their personal stories as the goals and aspirations of the participant are deeply tied to the mandate of the Jeunes en actions.

Unanimously, the group wanted to strongly situate the documentary about their program in the neighborhood where they live. They felt that the story of Jeunes en action at the Carrefour jeunesse emploi-NDG could not be told without telling a bit about their relationship to their neighborhood.

Notre-Dame-de-Grâce became a major theme in the work and with almost nationalistic fervour they ‘represented’ NDG with their interviews, video footage and lyrics to original music.

At the Digital Literacy Project, we like working with video because it has the potential to bring a group together. There are many tasks required in video projects; everyone can find a role.


  • Shoot video
  • Edit video
  • Work on soundtrack music
  • Write scripts
  • Plan and organize
  • Contribute to the overall messaging.

Jeunes en action participant Seven explains:

” I think this class is great because it brings together a group of people with a broad level of experience with computers, and we have to learn and work together, helping each other along the way to develop a final product that we can all say we helped make together.”

Working on a documentary video is great way of increasing digital literacy in a community organization setting. Participants learn that they can use media to express themselves and the goals of their community project.

This type of experience helps participants have the confidence to tackle other digital media projects for themselves or for a future project or job.

There were many people in this workshop that had little or no experience with digital media and by the end were motivated to pursue it further.


“I really enjoyed the DLP I really loved editing the video clips, it was a great experience and something I would be interested in doing one day in the future”


“At first I was not too sure about DLP and their whole project! But now its the end of the project and I wish it would never end! I love taking pics and videos. Now I know that it’s a great interest of mine. I have learned to edit as well! It motivated me to wanna make a short-movie…”

While video skills are relevant to many workplaces, the experience of working on a multi-facetted project are going to be relevant to every workplace environment. Participants have to express themselves and work together. Discuss abstract ideas and put them into concrete action.

Jeunes en action coordinator- Mary elaborates further:

“We truly feel that the DLP fits in with the mission of the Jeunes en action program: young people’s personal, social and professional development. The final product is certainly a big personal and professional achievement for all the participants, who had the opportunity to use their strengths and challenge themselves to learn new skills. The process of media production works on the social level by fostering team spirit in a diverse group of people working together.”

A few of the participants actively make music in their lives. Doing a project like this offers another venue to work on their music practice. The participants made all the music and wrote lyrics and raps for this project. During the project the participants discussed the question:

“What does it mean to make music for a documentary video about a community program?”

It is different from making music in which you only represents yourself. The challenge is to make it ‘cool’ yet ‘appropriate.’

Geoff notes:

“I really enjoyed the digital literacy program as a musician it was really cool to incorporate my music with video footage we all put together, I really enjoy it….”

In our experience, we see a lot of very talented young people with a lot drive. It is great to make a space for them to deepen their skills and confidence with digital media. We see a lot of young people who are very excited to contribute to their communities.

We need to get their energy out in the community!


Please check out ‘Taking a Walk with CJE in NDG”




Bienvenue à NDG – Fall 2011

Bienvenue à NDG of the NDG Community Council came to the Atwater Library and Computer Centre this fall. We supported their job skills program by offering them a workshop on graphic design, social media strategy and conversational marketing.

Bienvenue à NDG is a job skills program which uses event planning as a way of bringing the participants together to work on a shared project.

Digital Literacy Project facilitator Sophie developed much their program based on the both the computer skills necessary to effectively  market an event and through evaluating the skill level of the participants.

We worked on graphic design, information design, basic computer skills and some social media. Colin and Celine from  a local web marketing shop stresslimit even came to present the basics of facebook and twitter.

On the last day, we made video which tells a bit more about how the DLP workshop went for the participants, as well as how our  workshops supported the Bienvenue à NDG program.


For more information about Bienvenue à NDG or the NDG Community Council, check out the links below:


Jeunes en Action – Video Documentary — Fall 2011

We collaborated with Jeune en Action at the Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi Notre-Dame de Grâce. We conducted a workshop for them to make a video documentary about their program of coaching young people entering the work force.


With Digital Literacy Project facilitator Victoria, we explored the basics of documentary film:

  • Types of documentaries
  • Responsibilities of media makers
  • Different types of shots and hands on techniques

We worked with the Jeunes en Action coordinators and participants to develop a standard series of questions that each participant would answer. Everyone had a chance to be interviewed or to do the interviewing. The participants also spent time collecting shots of the neighborhood and the Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi Notre-Dame de Grâce location to represent their experiences.

After all the shots had been collected, we changed locations and the participants did a series of video editing workshops here at the Atwater Library and Computer Centre.

Early in process, we realized that it would be great to repeat  this workshop again in the spring as the process of making the documentary was productive on many levels.

Victoria elaborates:

One of the aims of the Jeunes en Action program is to help its members discover personal and career goals, and also, to help them find the tools and resources in order to realise them.  Making a documentary about oneself mirrors the essential step of self-reflection required in this path of self-actualisation, and at the same time, we worked as a team, being energized and inspired in our collective efforts.  Turning the camera upon oneself, asking the hard questions, and then being able to reflect on one’s representation was an empowering experience for everyone involved.  It’s the kind of exploration that is critical, creative, and very rewarding.  At the final screening, everyone felt the sense of accomplishment needed to continue, while new members of the Jeunes en Action program felt the excitement of the next round.  The participants in NDG are all very talented, with their own unique voice and experience — I always feel very honoured in being able to work with them.

Following this, we thought it would be interesting see how the participants had changed while following the Jeunes en Action program.

In November, we screened Jeunes en Action – First Impressions at the Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi Notre-Dame de Grâce, and made a plan for how to tackle the next workshop. The Jeunes en Action participants are already collecting pictures and video in anticipation of our next session.

Mary from Jeunes en Action explains:

We highly value our partnership with the Atwater library, and we extend special thanks to Eric and Victoria for their collaboration on the CJE NDG documentary. This is the fourth Digital Literacy Project we’ve embarked on with our Jeunes en Action group, and it keeps getting better! Each time the youth learn new technical skills and develop their creativity, team spirit, sense of initiative and self-confidence. The digital literacy project consistently gets one of the highest rankings in our workshop evaluations. The participants certainly feel proud of their latest accomplishment, and they are excited about continuing the documentary next year. Those who did not yet have a chance to participate also look forward to adding their input and expressing their views on the CJE and on their neighborhood through more interviews, music and video shots.


Check back in the spring to see part two!


Check out these links if want to find about more about Jeunes en Action:

Get Green Fall 2011

The Digital Literacy Project supported the environmentally-minded “Get Green” at the Carrefour Jeunesse-emploi Notre-Dame de Grâce to help them learn how to record a song and make a video as part of their jobs skills program.

Facilitator Nina had originally planned to help the group learn how to make a video for a song Get Green Participants were going to record. However, in the end we helped them with both the song and the video and Digital Literacy Project Coordinator Eric helped out as a audio recording facilitator.

Kayla (a participant from Get Green) explains the relationship between the workshop and their program:

“Get Green is a program provided by Service Canada to teach youth ages 16 to 20 transferable skills through a series of workshops to be used to benefit their futures. One of these workshops being a song that the participants were going to write and record together at a studio to build teamwork and show them a possible career option for those interested in music. A few weeks after the group had started writing their song they found out that their music producer could no longer work with them…”

There were challenges to making the video and the song at the same time. During the video editing process, we had to find places in the library where we could record a verse or two — transforming offices or storage rooms into make shift recording studios. There was a constant dialogue about whether we were making a song for a video or a video for a song.

Nina explains:

“It was really interesting trying to make the video at the same time as the song was being written/produced. I think the biggest challenge was making sure we stayed focused on what we wanted to say, and staying true to the authentic thoughts and ideas of participants. It was great to see them working to make the song and the video from scratch, and I learnt a lot through out that process.”

In the end, the participants were happy with what they created and the experience supported the over all program of Get Green. Making the song from scratch was rewarding but took some time to get off the ground and required patience from everyone. We used Creative Commons beats and documentary clips and experimented with various audio processing. As for the words, the participants wrote about their experiences, their neighborhood and what success means to them. Working with music is great because everyone has personal way of relating to it.

Cecile (a participant from Get Green) elaborates:

I’m happy that we had a section in our program that we had to make a music video and a song it has helped me to be more out there with my talent and open up more as a way of expressing myself…

Katrina (coordinator of the Get Green project) notes:

“The partnership with Atwater Library was a really exciting one for us at Get Green. The creation of a video – from getting the shots, to choosing which to final editing – was a valuable learning process for the youth (and me)! Many of them had never worked with video before, and the editing equipment provided by Atwater was previously inaccessible to them. It was exciting to watch them use their creative outlets in an entirely new way. Also, the fact that Atwater was able to take over the song production at the last minute added a new element to the process. How would the video look in the end? We were lucky to have such dedicated facilitators who brought out the best in the youth. Thanks Nina and Eric! The youth were ultimately pleased with the video and proud of what they’d done. The Digital Literacy project is successful in that it makes digital knowledge and skills accessible to participants.”

Get Green screened their work at the graduation ceremony for their program at the CJE-NDG on December 15 2011.


For more information about Get Green:

Get Green is a pre-employability project for Anglophone youth (16-20) who have left the school system. This 17 week program aims to provide young people with social and professional skills through a variety of workshop: budgeting, employability, cooking and other lifeskills.  We also plan business and school visits so that youth have an idea of the options that are before.  We strive to support young people on their path to success.  The next Get Green project will begin in March 2011.  For further information please contact Despina Sourias at the Carrefour Jeunesse Emploi.  514 482 6665 ext 212 or despina@cje-ndg.com

Yellow Ribbon Social Club – Online Galleries and Digital Photography

Members of the Yellow Ribbon Social Club, a senior’s group at the Yellow Door, returned to the Library this fall and learned more about online photo galleries, photo slide shows and other photographic tools for telling personal stories through images on the internet.

The group had  participated in other Digital Literacy Project workshops offered on digital photography and photo manipulation. With Digital Literacy Project facilitator Robin Kelly, we focused on digital photography as a communication tool. Online slide shows and videos composed of important pictures or relatives or loved ones. Some used pictures they found inspiring to create artistic videos purely for self expression.

Robin explains:

This has easily been one of my favorite workshops to date. Having worked with the participants before on similar workshops, I’ve witnessed their confidence and enthusiasm towards learning digital tools go through the roof. It’s awesome to see some of the participants go from unsure double-clickers to confident digital storytellers! Other participants, who came to the Library already confident on the basics, launched into projects that really challenged themselves, working on their own and at the Library. I got the sense that having the opportunity learn new digital tools in a supportive and encouraging environment, all while creating and sharing their ideas was a really positive experience. Being a part of this workshop was definitely a positive experience for me; each time I met with the participants from the Yellow Ribbon Social Club I was inspired by the work they created and all the things they had to say!

We hope to continue working with these individuals. At the end of a session, we often have more ideas than time. We will be working with a few of the members of this group on another Digital Literacy Project collaboration with Ressources Ethnoculturelles contre l’Abus Envers les Aînés, this term. As well, Kathryn (who we met through our support of the Yellow Door) will be shifting from student to teacher and will be teaching a few courses for the Atwater Library’s Digital Literacy for Seniors by Seniors Project this winter.

Participant Katherine explains what this type of programming means to her:

Physically, seniors are not what we were at 16 years but the internet enables us to stay attached to our world, solar space and virtual worlds beyond what we could ever have imagined. Atwater’s DLP’s outreach and friendship to Yellow Door clients over time has established a respectful relationship with each client enabling us to expand our horizens while staying connected.  Our fall workshop produced some fabulous artistic pieces.

Visit the Yellow Door website for more information about their impressive programs for seniors.

Check out past collaborations with the Yellow Ribbon Social Club and the Digital Literacy Project.