Meta House offers digital workshop to empower members

Milwaukee-based Meta House, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting women and their families to overcome their addictions, recently hosted a Digital Advocacy Workshop for some of its program graduates. The workshop taught Meta House graduates, many of whom have never had access to computers, how to use video, photography and computers to tell their story.
“So often it’s the staff members here that are telling the stories of our member’s recoveries,” said Mandi Lindner, communications coordinator at Meta House. “This project was about empowering them to have ownership over their own stories while at the same time teaching them valuable life skills.”
During the one day workshop, participants were taught basic photography skills and best practices in digital storytelling, Lindner said.
Lindner earned her digital story telling certificate from Marquette University and partnered with another graduate student from Marquette on this project. Jennifer Janviere, a Meta House volunteer who works in the Marquette College of Communications as a photography instructor also contributed to the workshop by teaching basic photography skills to the women.
“We wanted to take what we learned at Marquette and show these women how easy it is for them to do,” Lindner said. “The programs and equipment we used are available to them and some might even have access to them at the local library or by using a disposable camera.”
Throughout the day, the participants were encouraged to think about the images that best represented their story of recovery, Lindner said.
Meta House volunteers helped them capture the photos and then add them to a slideshow. Later, voice recordings of the women were taped and laid over the footage. Meta House plans to use the videos to help bring awareness to September recovery month, but hopes to replicate the workshop for other uses in the future.
“Our plan is to create this consortium of women that can develop these skills and serve as examples for our current clients to look up to,” Lindner said. “These skills are pretty easy to pick up, and extrememly valuable to people, particularly employers. It was such a great experience for the volunteers and for our graduates. We can’t wait to do it again.”
To check out Meta House graduate Latoya’s finished video click here.

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