A California Humanities Grant Project in Cloverdale
This 2021 project was made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.calhum.org.
Cloverdale, California is known for its hot temperatures, active arts community, and popular wineries. It is also home to a large percentage of immigrant farmworkers; much higher than in surrounding cities. Of the fewer-than-9,000 people who live in this small town, 30% are Hispanic. If you look at just the K-12 student population, this number jumps to over 45%. As the public library, we are always looking for ways of engaging our diverse communities; especially those parts of our community that are under-represented.
We developed our program, Kids with Cameras: Stories of Covid, Resilience, and Hope for the Future, after talking with immigrant advocates, families, school board members, and other local leaders. Using the information gathered during our research and community assessment, we decided to focus on giving students the opportunity to develop digital literacy skills and then use those skills to share their Covid-19 stories with the greater community.
Ezequiel Guzman, President of Latinos Unidos Del Condado De Sonoma, an organization that promotes education, community responsibility, and empowerment of the Latinx community in Sonoma County, played a vital role by connecting us to the immigrant farmworker community in Cloverdale.
Bridget Hayes, Digital Literacy Specialist for the Sonoma County Library, presented three hands-on digital video workshops for children at the Cloverdale Family Apartments.
The ages of participants ranged from 8-16 years old. The parents of some of the younger participants stayed for the workshops and ended up being a big help! Bridget, a Spanish speaker, was able to communicate with parents who did not speak English. The students learned how to use the video equipment and then learned about storyboarding, lighting, composition, and editing. At that point, they were ready to put their skills to work and spent several days interviewing their friends and family members about life during the pandemic.
Not only did the students have fun learning new tech skills, but also they were able to help create a finished video sharing their stories with the greater community. We collaborated with the Alexander Film Society so the students and families were able to see their video on the big screen of a drive-in movie!