CTEP AmeriCorps Civic Engagement Presentation: Digital Creativity & Mental Health Toolkit

Each year our 35 CTEP AmeriCorps members choose community action projects that make a contribution to bridging the digital divide. The CTEP civic engagement projects are often cited by CTEP AmeriCorps members, staff, supervisors, and community supporters as one of the most unique and energizing parts of the program.  


In light of the logistical uncertainties stemming from the ongoing Covid pandemic, we’ve created a virtual toolkit of creative and mental health resources that can be used both within and beyond this present moment. In acknowledging the mental health toll that the pandemic has taken and the potential of creativity to ease that toll, our goal is to create a website consisting of beginner-friendly, step-by-step project instructions that anyone, from youth to seniors, can reference and learn from, with tools that they already have. 


The original idea behind this project was to create something that combined a completely virtual format, digital media skills instruction, and a focus on mental health amid the current COVID-19 global pandemic. After some conversation, the decision was made that the best way to realize those ideas was to create a Digital Creativity & Mental Health Toolkit. This toolkit will include step-by-step instructions on how to complete a variety of beginner-friendly digital media projects, resources to further explore digital media, and information about how creativity can positively impact mental health and accessible mental health resources. We feel this project will be a valuable tool both to CTEP and our service sites, as well as a great way for members of our group to share their interest and knowledge of creative media skills, as well as mental health strategies and resources. 


            Aileen has organized a series of “choose your own adventure” slides to help teach learners basic software skills and graphic design, as well as just a general positive message. Shania has organized a presentation on podcasting for beginners, her lesson includes how to come up and organize a topic, create an environment to record in, and some basic storytelling skills. Alice will have a tutorial on GIF creation to help put more good vibes in the world. CJ will be creating a digital brochure through Canva with some resource for both emergency help and resources for affordable access to therapy.

We are hoping to debut our Toolkit at Digidaze on July 15th. We’ve reached out to the group running Digidaze to make the proper arrangements. We appreciate the quick response times and open line of communication. After this we’re hoping to give some presentation at SPNN to get some direct feedback from learners. Once our service year is over, we’re hoping the Creative Toolkit finds a permanent home on SPNN website.

Group Members: CJ Di Vencenzo, Aileen Dwyer, Alice Hu, Shania Russell