I Stand For Carolyn. Shifting the Local Narrative to the Real Priority.

Nov 3, 2012

This week members of  The Children’s Movement of Fresno helped to rally citizens throughout the city of Fresno in a push for the chance to compete for $37.3 million in the DOE’s Race for the Top grant for schools.  In a video petition urging the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Teachers Association to put children first, members spoke out on the need to set aside differences, come back to the table to find agreement and submit the application. “The deadline had come and gone and they couldn’t agree.  Then a miracle, thanks to the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy and suddenly we had another week.  We needed to do everything we could with the extra time to show how much this meant to the community of Fresno” said Linda Gleason.

“We knew we needed a creative way to show the range of our members and their passion for making children the priority” says Brandon Wright, Executive Director of Youth Empowerment Studios.  Wright’s organization under Gleason’s direction, was responsible for the production of the video petition which was designed and executed in under 36 hours.

The Children’s Movement of Fresno is committed to informing the political, business, civic leaders, parents and people of Fresno county, about the issues effecting  children — and encourage them to make the well-being and education of their children their highest priority, including in the way they invest their public resources.  In less than one year, their membership is just under 3,000 and growing daily.  To join, visit their website here.

The Children’s Movement Urges FUSD and the FTA to Put Children First

Hope. The Oxygen of Human Societies.

Oct 9, 2011

The Secular Prophet , an article published this weekend in the Wall Street Journal after the passing of Steve Jobs, shapes an important conversation about the reality of our desperate need for hope as a human society. Mr. Crouch who is the editor-at-large of Christianity Today Magazine provides a context for considering the secular and non-secular or faith based perspectives. He illustrated how Mr. Job’s Apple became a religion of hope in a hopeless world and by comparison how the hope born of faith brings peace, purpose AND the promise to transcend this lifetime, taking you to the promised land.  

It has been said that human beings can live for 40 days without food, four days without water and four minutes without air but, they can not live four seconds without hope. 

Hope is a virtue, not mere optimism and it, more than anything else, is what bridges those of us who believe in heaven and those who don’t. It is our common denominator.  I love the reality that among the many, many contributions Steve Jobs made on this earth that will have changed it forever, sparking this conversation was one of them.

Giving them a Voice; Digital Storytelling

Jul 8, 2009

I just finished some editing work on video we shot in the southwest Fresno community for a project we are working on for First 5 Fresno County.  The process is so illuminating.  I’m reminded once again of how much we all have in common and how much trouble we usually have as a society in seeing that.

The residents we interviewed live in one of our city’s most neglected neighborhoods, isolated by poverty and crime.  Regardless of the many societal gaps represented when working inside of disenfranchised communities you will find so many good people who just want opportunity, a better life for their children, the chance to learn, a way to connect with others and give back.  These inner city residents were comfortable talking with us because they could feel our heart.  They’ve seen us around and know we care.  Their instincts tell them that we can be trusted and that we aren’t going away.  As a result they are willing to open up and risk telling us their story.  These stories help us realize how much we do have in common. They honor the deep need we all have to express ourselves and they work to bridge those gaps that keep us from coming together in a way that  serves each other.

Digital storytelling is becoming a powerful medium thanks to the web. It allows us to capture human expression and gives all people, especially the most disconnected, a chance to use their voice.  The non profit sector is beginning to understand how to leverage this medium.  Organizations like the Center for Digital Storytelling are providing technical assistance around the world.  This week we are meeting with The National Campaign out of Washington D.C. to talk about using this medium for advocacy work, a project funded by The California Wellness Foundation.

Powerful communication will always touch your heart.  A good story will always come from your heart. What I love about working inside of these communities, is that the residents will be sure they can feel your heart before they’ll tell you their story.  It doesn’t get any more real than that.

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