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Teen Techies and Health

July 15, 2019

By Charlotte Tjaden, CTEP AmeriCorps Member at Rondo Community Outreach Library

At the start of my service as a CTEP AmeriCorps Member I had no idea that I would be working with a group of fifteen amazing and talented youth. My primary service is with adults at the Rondo Community Outreach Library, so I also never thought that myself and three other CTEP members would be teaching this great group of teens how to film and edit a documentary in only three days.

Along with a team of CTEP members I facilitated a three-day workshop for a group of students at the Kitty Anderson Science Center (KAYSC) at the Science Museum of Minnesota on how to create a documentary. We worked with the staff at the KAYSC during the early lesson planning of the project to create lessons that were enriching and interactive.

Each CTEP member brought a different skill set to the lessons and work with the youth. Our group would designate and switch roles based on the certain skill set needed at the time. This was great, since I had studied theatre in college and got to use a warm up game from my days as an actor to help everyone warm up and relax. For instance, our first day started with a coordinated dance to the song, “Jump On It.” This helped  break the ice and also created a space for creativity and silliness.
Our following days were made up of lessons on different types of filming, use of certain equipment, and how to edit the video. It was important to our CE group that the youth took the lead on the filming and editing.  As of now we have completed three days days with the youth, who focus their work at the KAYSC on issues of health and make up the “Teen Tech Crew” in the KAYSC programming.
Officially, we have wrapped up the first part of the CE project, and the documentary that the youth created was even showcased at the “Free Minds, Free People” Conference of progresseive educators and learners this month. It was a really great feeling and experience to work with such a talented group of young adults. I was able to find new skills within myself and learned how to work with an age group I don’t usually work with (since I serve mostly adults as a CTEP Member at Rondo Community Outreach Library). We are now working on the next set of lessons and continuing to work with the youth until our service year in the CTEP AmeriCorps program is over.

Unofficially, we plan to make more documentaries, and maybe, if we are lucky, even coordinate some more dances.
CTEP Members: Susan Duong, Charlotte Tjaden, Devin Mayfield, and Max Fields

CTEP Community Partner: Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center (Science Museum of Minnesota)

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. This is one of the 2019 civic engagement projects.