What happens when you give youth a camera? Ask five Hartford students participating in SLAM (Students Learning About Media & Service), an after school program at Bellizzi Middle School, supported by Hartford Public Allies.
The students spent the last four months learning how to make real positive changes in their communities by volunteering at local service organizations such as Peterís Retreat, a congregate housing program for people living with HIV / AIDS, and participating in leadership building activities. Their experiences became the focus of their mini-documentary, which will premiere Thursday, May 28, from 4:00 to 5:30 in the Bellizzi Middle School Auditorium.
The showcase will feature a 15 minute question & answer session following the film accompanied by a brief awards and recognition ceremony for the youth. Refreshments will be served.
All of the students belong to Peacebuilders, a Hartford youth mentoring and violence prevention program that is involved in every aspect of their lives from school and help with life skills, to situations of assault and problems in court.
Practicing shot techniques, interviewing skills, and discovering oneís creativity through the art of film has been integral to SLAM. Antony Aponte, an 8th grader from Bellizzi Middle School, said, ďIt was fun messing with cameras, learning a new thing every moment.Ē
With a multi-faceted, hands-on curriculum, SLAM encourages youth to develop their sense of self-expression and realize the significance of their individual accomplishments though film, and leadership and community service activities.
ďI finally get to volunteer for something and itís something that I really want[ed] to volunteer for, not something that Iím not really interested in, so Iím really proud of myself, said Jesseina Torres, 14. Another student was in awe of her talents when she interviewed Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez about youth and community service.
The supporters of SLAM are the Hartford Public Allies, an AmeriCorps program of young social change makers dedicated to changing the face of leadership in communities across the country. Allies transform their lives and community through a rigorous 10-month program that combines full-time, paid apprenticeships in nonprofits with intensive skills training and active team community-building projects. SLAM was created as their community building project in support of Hartford youth.