My Identity + Our Community = My Story gives young people the chance to explore their cultural identity and their role in achieving multicultural unity. An alliance among service organizations, schools, and the New Learning Institute developed a summer program that provided students with the opportunity to create digital stories that expressed their ideas and aspirations for their community and the future.
In February 2009, the YWCA Fort Worth & Tarrant County Department for Racial Justice brought together the Pearson Foundation, the Multicultural Alliance (MCA), and the Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) to explore how the four organizations could work together to enhance the experiences of more than 130 Tarrant County area high school students who would be attending camps during the coming summer. The team intended to give young people a new medium, digital storytelling, to share their thoughts about their role in multicultural unity and exceptional leadership in the 21st century. This collaboration resulted in the development of the theme “My Identity + Our Community = My Story.”
New Learning Institute workshops were conducted in conjunction with summer camps offered by MCA Camp CommUNITY, the FWISD Multicultural Leadership Seminar, and the Leadership Academy. Students were asked to explore their identity and their responsibility to their communities. Participants collaborated in groups to tell their stories through the creation of original videos. During this process, camp participants attended motivational seminars, visited universities, and addressed issues of cultural diversity. They built meaningful friendships and developed awareness of themselves as part of a community, all while journaling their experiences using digital technology.
During the final week of the NLI residencies, Deborah Ferguson, a news anchor with the local NBC affiliate, had an opportunity to interview and film the students as they worked on their stories at the YWCA’s Fort Worth facility. The resulting news story offered another opportunity for the young people to make their voices heard.
The summer’s NLI activities culminated with a celebration at Texas Christian University’s Dee J. Kelly Alumni Center. Students and their families, as well as community leaders and school district officials, were invited to see and hear the unique stories created by students from across Tarrant County.