On November 28, 2016, the Digital Storytelling Center of Kansas City will open its new digiSTORY Academy in the Connecting for Good facility at 3210 Michigan Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri. “This is an exciting and significant step for digiSTORY KC…“ says Ron Green, Executive Director “… because we no longer are dependent on other non-profit programs to provide the equipment and space we need to offer our digital storytelling workshops to kids in KC’s urban core.”
Tom Esselman, CEO of KC’s Connecting for Good, approached the digiSTORY KC organization about collaborating to offer digital storytelling workshops in its space at the facility. “Connecting For Good is expanding its programs for digital education, careers, and life skills in the urban core. We welcome digiSTORY as an exciting partner in the expansion of the beautiful LAMP campus.”
A key mission of digiSTORY KC is “to inspire and educate the next generation of digital storytellers.” Although we’re starting with just one classroom, we will now be able to offer after-school, evening, Saturday and week-long summer workshops,” says Green. We invite the public to join us for our Open House on Wednesday, November 30th from 5:00 – 7:30 p.m. Visitors may drop in any time during that period. Comments from the Executive Director, key partners and the board of directors will be shared at 5:30.
The program launch will include four workshops: two targeted for kids and two targeted for teens and adults:
“We are being very aggressive about this launch,” points out Ron Green. “We are actively seeking to expand our volunteer base to help us meet a demanding schedule of workshops. We also are falling short of the equipment and materials needed to function at the level of quality we desire for our workshops. Donations could never be more timely for our organization than right now. We believe that our leap of faith to move the program forward will be alleviated by the demand we have heard from parents for after-school programs that are fun for kids yet meet their needs for enhanced digital literacy.”
During digiSTORY KC’s first two years, it focused primarily on serving kids in KC’s urban core through partnerships with organizations like Operation Breakthrough. The board of directors recently voted to implement a new strategy that now encourages collaboration between underserved kids from the urban core with kids from outside of the urban core. The goal is to help kids from different cultural backgrounds to collaborate on projects that will help them appreciate the talent and innovation of their fellow team members. “Digital media is one of the most collaborative industries around,” cites Green. “Just look at a movie’s credits and you’ll get a sense of how dependent the production is on talented people working together effectively. By encouraging kids from within and outside of KC’s urban core to work together, we hope not only to bridge KC’s “digital divide” but also its “cultural divide.”
Because digiSTORY is a relatively new non-profit organization, winning funding support from area firms and foundations has been a challenge. digiSTORY KC hopes to meet workshop program expenses by charging modest workshop fees for those who can afford to pay them while waiving fees for those from families facing financial hardships.
“By offering our expanded workshop program, we hope to meet two key goals for our digiKIDS KC program: 1) to enhance the digital literacy of area kids, and 2) to introduce kids to STEAM-based career opportunities in digital media. These careers can provide rewarding professions while helping to fill the future needs of Kansas City’s robust digital storytelling industry.