Digital Story Telling – Strengthening our Heritage
New Westminster has long been proud of its community and its heritage. It is not surprising then that the Digital Story project, with the support of the Simon Fraser University team, is helping to build unity between the generations thus strengthening that heritage. The 10 week program digital storytelling project, in collaboration with Thornebridge Gardens, has through its programs, policies, and practices increased cooperation, interaction, and exchanges between residents and their families. These often marginalized citizens were granted an opportunity to reflect on and share their life experiences, reclaimed their identity with their peers, and with the use of technology pass a legacy on to their families.
Initially, the program fostered recognition. Thornebridge residents were asked to reflect on a single life event that impacted them. During the process of story development they were asked not only to tell the story but reflect on how it impacted them, using images, emotions, historical records, etc. As they told and rehearsed their stories, seeking feedback, they learned a great deal about one another and developed a report that went well beyond the few sessions they spent together.
As time passed, the program fostered engagement. Thornebridge and its citizens have had the pleasure since being involved with the Digital Story Project to tell and retell their stories in different capacities. They did a short film presentation for family and corporate decision makers. Our parent company recently embarked on a rebranding process and we were looking at program development that would foster engagement and a "life worth living". Limited space meant that fellow residents were not able to attend so a second showing was scheduled, giving extra time to those stories needing a little "polishing up". Finally, these stories have been given to families as gifts, shared with friends and social groups who have expressed surprise, support and praise
Lastly, the program fostered support. It was through the previous cooperation, interactions and exchanges between the Project team members, and staff that residents found mutual benefit. We have through this program saw residents want to continue with this process of learning new skills long after SFU’s involvement in the program ended. We have now established a "Digital Story Club" for graduates. It is hoped that through this program, the group can share their talents, resources and ultimately support one another and benefit its community’s citizens.
This is one of the many stories and examples of how we have truly lived our Verve Values- Integrity, Empathy, Flexibility, Collaboration, Passion for Excellence- to make a difference in the lives of our residents and staff.