We want and need a community and recreational center for our district. We are petitioning for the rights to save the Northfork High School Gymnasium.
We would like to continue this and convince our school board that it is more cost effective and will be more beneficial to the community to allow us to keep the high school gynasium.Historical Northfork High School is sitting as a deteriorating…
Workshop 3 participants! These folks are working toward a more positive future for McDowell County.
(Left to Right back row) Shawn Penwarden, Tom Acosta, Brenda Goodson, Ron Serino, Mary McKinney, Gilbert Nash, Alan Johnston, Linda McKinney. (Left to Right front row) Michelle Miller, Matthew Goodson, Megan Bowers, Patricia Blevins, Renee Bolden, Elaine McMillion.
The Power of Storytelling: Youth in McDowell Express the Meaning of Home via video #WV #documentary
I went into HOLLOW without any background on how to teach a community to tell their own story and long story short, I have learned alot. The fact is I don’t need to have experience in teaching storytelling. The people of McDowell County know their story and they know how to tell it better than anyone else. Beyond some basic skills I have taught about interviewing, framing, audio and lighting, the youth here have truly embraced the chance to use the tools of video to communicate their story of home, hope and change.
One thing I have noticed is that kids older than 14 or 15 show less interest and confidence in filming. Those 10 to 13 years old seem to be drawn to the idea of HOLLOW and have been producing thoughtful and beautiful content without getting hung up on the quality.
As I sit here this evening, I am literally in tears over video a 12-year-old Coalwood resident shot yesterday. Tyler (pictured above) is the grandson of Reba and Bill Bolt and took one of the cameras up to Homer Hickam’s launch site yesterday. Below is an excerpt from the conversation Tyler and his friend Nick filmed.
NICK:Well here we are again. We are at the launch site in Coalwood, West Virginia in McDowell County. So Tyler, how do you like Coalwood buddy?
TYLER:It’s alright. Nice place to live, pretty view. If you’re from the cities you can’t live over here. Ya know you got to get used to these roads and it’s wild…there’s lot of wild animals running around through here and it’s just a good place to live.
NICK: I heard that we used to have stores, barbershops, everything. We used to have a clubhouse, well we still have it, and it’s still standing now it’s just not in shape enough to open it back up. They said it might have to take $1.6 million to fix it back. We got a pool, we got a park, and we got a store still. It’s called Country Corner, its good food down there, real good food. But usually we have to go to Welch to get other food like groceries and other stuff. So Tyler what’s it like to be in Coalwood?
TYLER:It’s a miracle.
NICK: Do you think we will ever get all the stores back?
TYLER:We might. I mean it’s going to take a lot of money. If I ever hit the lottery I would probably fix this place up. Do some other stuff to it. I love living down here.
NICK: I do too but it’s just…the environment these days is not too good.
This conversation is just a small insight into the footage youth is creating for HOLLOW. I am so grateful that so many people-both young and old-have taken ownership of this project and started to create content about places that are meaningful to them.
Very proud of Katy, a 12-year-old resident of Welch, for putting alot of thought and time into her story for Hollow. She spoke about how bullying has affected her family, what she wants to see McDowell become and offered fresh ideas for abandoned buildings. She filmed her family’s story in McDowell and Charleston.
“This place has so much potential but it’s taken forever for someone to realize it and actually start to do something with it,” Katy Justice.
(photo above by Katy)
Special thanks to John and Jolene Justice for encouraging their children to get involved with Hollow.
Saturday we hosted the first of three Community Workshops for HOLLOW. There were about 15 participants, as well as volunteers and team members from around the state.
This workshop provided a chance to discuss the various roles community members could take in the project and provide feedback to the team on what has been shot so far. In part one, we talked about the ways McDowell County has been portrayed by other filmmakers and journalists, listing the negative or frustrating words we’ve all heard.
Words that describe how McDowell County residents are portrayed on the left and words that they feel identify their community on the right. (from @hollowthefilm workshop #1)
There wasn’t a single community member who talked about these negative words without immediately providing the counterbalance—words like pride, warmth, diversity and resilience. With those concepts in mind, we reviewed the first clips of footage and talked about what to shoot next. They were happy to see a visual montage of themselves that no one had created before—images of everyday life in restaurants, fishing holes, church Sundays and fairs.
Many people talked about how they wish their others from the community, specifically local leaders, would have joined them for the workshop and agreed to take responsibility for turning them out in July.
In the afternoon, HOLLOW team member Eric Lovell explained balloon mapping. He showed some test images he’d taken of Linkous Park, talked about his plan to bring young people into the project through balloon mapping and asked for feedback about places to map.
We closed the workshop with some video camera training, reflection on the experience and discussion of what to do for our next workshop. Community member and volunteer fire fighter, Ron Serino, took a camera home with him that day to start shooting and everyone committed to bringing three others along with them for our July meeting.
Climb aboard and journey through the Appalachians with a thoughtful, irreverent, smart, opinionated and humorous student of life. See the world through her eyes with wonder and delight. Whether talking about her upbringing, her family, or the many places and people she has seen along way, you can’t help but want to move with her from one story to another.
Opportunity is knocking for McDowell County in the form of thousands of Boy Scouts who are coming to town next year to help with various community service projects. However, despite a looming deadline, county officials have been slow to identify community service projects. That’s surprising and unfortunate.
The Boy Scouts of America is partnering with the Citizens Conservation Corps of West Virginia to perform free community service projects across nine southern West Virginia counties. Already, hundreds of community service projects have been submitted from eight of the nine counties.
However, McDowell County has not yet submitted a list of community service projects for the Scouts, according to Aly Goodwin Gregg, a spokesperson for the Boy Scouts community service initiative. The county has also failed to establish committees to oversee the community service projects. The deadline to file an application for the community service projects is March 30.
I edited this short piece last night. Josh Clevenger, 16, is the mascot at Riverview High School. The Iaeger resident believes that the young people in McDowell County will be a part of improving the area for the future. Hollow is comprised of 50 documentary shorts that share the viewpoints of a community fighting for their “home” while adapting to population loss and stereotyping. The portraits will live on an interactive website that will be launched in April 2013.
$18.4m in grants are fostering a ‘critical mass’ of Boston-area tech outreach projects
Thanks to its concentration of high-tech activity and educational institutions, the Boston area has reaped a considerable amount of that funding - $18.4 million in grants to 19 projects.
“Because of Knight, we now have a critical mass of community, technology, and media projects,’’ said Eric Gordon, the creator of the Boston public school-based project Community PlanIt and an associate professor of visual media arts at Emerson College.
“It’s an exciting time to be here,’’ he said. “What’s coming out of Boston is going to change what’s happening around the country.’’
NOTE: Eric Gordon, quoted above, is an advisor on Hollow and will help develop how to approach getting the community involved in a meaningful way.