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.’
“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”