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The #Stronger-Together Video Challenge

 

The #Stronger Together Video Challenge is a programme for primary and secondary school students.

— Expert training in creating videos from a professional video producer
— Using creativity & storytelling to discuss mental health, wellbeing, strength & resilience
— Eight, one-hour sessions either during school hours or after-school hours

 

"Using creativity and storytelling to enable young people to discuss mental health and wellbeing challenges, while supporting one another, sharing experiences and having fun in a safe space.”

The #Stronger Together Video Challenge is a powerful program to build lifelong skills and support connection and resilience in youth and young adults. Our aim is to support youth from disadvantage areas.
 


The team works with public and private organizations to bring this program to youth and young adults in schools, districts, colleges, and community-based organisations.


This programme is designed to foster positive youth development and resilience, a trait which is needed now more than ever to help students recognise their own strengths and explore mental health in ways that are meaningful and productive to them.

The programme will challenge students to learn how to produce their own professional videos by using their phone's camera, enhance connectedness, and support each other through sharing stories of strength, while learning the skill of video production, filming and editing, which will be useful for their future careers.

Over 8 one-hour sessions students work with an expert video producer over Zoom or in person, and receive training in creating their own professional-looking videos telling their stories of strength and resilience.

Why This Programme?

Youth and young adults' mental health and well-being are tremendous challenges for schools, colleges, and community organisations. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought heightened awareness to these vital needs and increased a sense of urgency to address these challenges.

But how do adults find innovative, age-appropriate ways to connect with young people? How can the stigma around mental health and wellness discussions be reduced?  How can adults work with youth to build resilience, problem-solving skills, and share tools to have productive and supportive conversations?

The Issue: We see an increase in symptoms of anxiety, depression, substance abuse, and suicide among high-risk populations, including young people. There is widespread agreement that schools, colleges, workplaces, and community agencies need targeted interventions for youth and young adults that will mitigate the impact of these combined crises.  

In addition, in the school or campus settings, educators report a decrease in student engagement and note that students have difficulty concentrating. Students lack regular touchpoints and connections, leading them to become disengaged from peers, teachers, and wider communities. 

Research shows that school and peer connectedness are key protective factors to avoid multiple, negative adolescent outcomes, including academic failure, increased dropout rates, and untreated mental illnesses. These challenges become especially critical at points of transition, such as transitions to a new academic year, or to a new school or college.

The Solution: To address these complex challenges using a solutions-based model, The Youth Resilience Team, comprised of experts in video production created an innovative program called the Stronger-Together Video Challenge Programme. The Challenge is having a significant impact on building resilience, improving peer connections, and increasing skills on video production - a life-long skill.

 

Video Challenge Overview

and Benefits

  • Over the 8-hour Challenge period, youth work with an expert in film production and editing in an online forum, and are trained in creating their own (and first) professional-looking video telling their stories of strength and resilience (or other topic as determined). 

  • Students have the opportunity to share their stories with each other, see that they all have something in common, and form connections through an activity they love to do -- all while sharing and learning together throughout the Challenge.​

  • Students gain self-confidence, learn leadership, advocacy, and a life-long productive skill that they can use as they move forward in life. Participants are awarded a certificate of completion, listing the curriculum and skills learned during the Video Challenge.

Video Challenge Goals

  • Create engaging connections among students.

  • Provide a platform where they can come together outside of regular school, learn a new productive life-long skill to tell stories, and share in open dialogue.

  • Use creativity and storytelling to enable students to discuss mental health and well-being challenges, support one another, have fun, discuss things they love doing, talk about experiences in a safe space, and join friends in a dynamic, learning journey.

  • Support students in building technical skills to use while focusing on the power of their unique stories and strengths inside themselves.

 

Video Challenge Outcomes

The Video Challenge has been implemented in Orange County (California)

and in Dublin 8 and Dublin 12 schools. So far, 176 students have participated to the video challenge, and 166 of them have answered the impact survey delivered after the Video Challenge, with the significant impact and outcomes mentioned below: 

80% of students reported they learned more about themselves and why they are strong during the Video Challenge

 

73% of students reported they learned about other students' mental health issues and their stories of being strong in difficult situations and this supported them to tell their stories 

71% of students reported they learned why sharing their story is important 

 

85% of students reported the video challenge increased their level of self confidence

80% of students reported they increased their knowledge of video production, filming, and editing

 

73% of students reported they are able to use what they learned during the Video Challenge in their daily lives

Click below to watch videos produced by the Challenge participants! 

​"Labels Stick" by Etienne.

Etienne is from Vietnam, and was adopted by Irish parents. For a long time, Etienne struggled with identity issues as well as horrible comments from others.

Etienne tapped into her inner strength, to overcome this adversity. In this video, she encourages everyone who is going through similar challenges, "not to let others label you".

"Fear is an illusion" by Luke.

F.E.A.R: False Evidence Appearing Real.

It appears real, even though it may have no real substance, arising when we feel threatened or undermined, which makes us cling to the known and familiar. Such fear creates paranoia, worry, nervous disorders, and apprehension.

In his video, Luke has a very interesting way to share his vision of fear being an illusion.

"Overcoming adversity" by Cormac

A big fan of King Kong, Cormac uses the fictional giant monster resembling a gorilla, to share his metaphor of overcoming adversity.

In this video, Cormac used a technique called stop motion animation. it is an animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion.

 
 

Participants Testimonials

“I’m a very private person, so talking about something I have struggled with to other people was scary and daunting.
This video challenge helped me open up more.
Talking through my ideas every week let other people know more about me, however also allowed me to come to terms with my experiences.
Before the Video Challenge, I barely knew anything about filming and production, however I learnt a lot from Cynthia and Michael.
The instructions and explanations never became overwhelming for me as an amateur.
I’m really glad I took the opportunity to do this course".

Etienne

“My experience of the stronger together challenge was a fantastic one!
It was the first time I created and edited my own film from scratch, and I learned many things that were important to create a film like editing, lighting, quality and camera.
It was also the first video that I put out there for people to see, and this challenge helped me to overcome the fear of visibility. 
I liked hearing other peoples stories and creating my own.
Overall, it was a fun time and was easy to understand and learn, and thanks to Cynthia and Michael, any questions I had were properly answered".
Luke

How it works

Students are given live instructions and a task to be completed during the live session, with the support of the video producer and facilitator as well as the designated school liaison person. 

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What is needed

  • A laptop or a desktop to attend the live classes.

  • A laptop that has a camera, a computer with a webcam or a smartphone that has a camera to film the video.

  • An internet connection.

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Who is this programme for?

  • The programme is open to all primary and secondary school students.

  • For the in-school video challenge, students will be recruited by participating schools.

  • For the after-school video challenge, students will be recruited by participating schools and student are also welcome to apply directly to Youth Resilience and a group will be selected to participate.

Video Challenge Output

At the end of the Challenge, participants have created short, professional videos focused on their strengths. They are original content and can be used to build awareness, educate the public, add value to an organizations' campaigns, and advocate for mental health.  The power of these stories can be linked in common purpose. 

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How is the programme evaluated or measured?

  • Direct Feedback: Students will be able to provide feedback on platforms and themes.

  • Ensuring Diversity and Inclusion: The Challenge will be open to all students in the area served and include students from various backgrounds.

  • Evaluation Survey: Students will respond to questions measuring the impact and goals achieved.

  • Teachers feedback.

  • Videos produced at the end of the Challenge.

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About Youth Resilience

We are a social enterprise (not-for-profit).

Our purpose is to enable young people to build resilience and improve their mental health with the help of technology and creativity.

Youth Resilience is a Company Limited by Guarantee. The company number is 714052.

Our office is located at the following address: Gteic, unit 1, Udárás Na Gaeltachta Industrial Estate, Belmullet, Co. Mayo, F26 P997, Ireland.

Youth Resilience was created by Cynthia Baloula, owner of Ireland's leading video production agency, CB Media.

Cynthia volunteers as Youth Resilience Managing Director. This is her way of giving back and having an impact in the world.

 
 

Want to find out more?
Here’s how to contact us!

Please email us at cynthia@youthresilience.ie

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