Our school has been working with Digital Storytellers for several years now and we have never been disappointed! Their team comes with timely, appropriate themes prepared with the current needs of our site. The poets have fresh, lively, thought provoking, courageous content in their performances, our students are always engaged and it opens up conversations around the school afterward. The variety of performers means that there is something for everyone. We truly appreciate the exposure to their art that they bring to our students!
Principal, Bret Harte Middle School, Hayward
Digital Storytellers provided my students the opportunity to authentically bring their personal experiences into an academic setting at a level not usually achieved in the classroom. Students developed a strength of voice and validation of self that transformed how they engaged with writing assignments, both poetry and otherwise. The residency unearthed talent and interest in many students who did not previously know or act on their own inner strength. It was quite special to be able to see these traits brought to light for my students.
English teacher, Leadership Public School, Richmond
I was fortunate enough to participate in the Digital Storytellers workshops all four years of my high school experience, and, honestly, I count these times as some of my most meaningful moments during that time. DS created a community of spoken word, healing, and engagement at Richmond High which carried on outside of the workshops. Having a space to express our stories allowed me to better understand my peers, and is one of the many reasons I hope that other students are able to enjoy the workshops as much as I did.
Former Student, Richmond High 2012-2015
I was connected to Digital Storytellers through an old friend from the Oakland slam poetry community and was immediately impressed with the ideas and concepts presented by them.
Our afterschool program 'Precita University' contracted them for a 6 week poetry course with a focus on elementary school aged youth and engaged in several conversations regarding how to best fit their curriculum to the group based around age, group size, socio-economic climate, current events, and personal interests. Patrick was highly engaged in these conversations and worked diligently to assure myself and my staff that the program would be flexible enough to adapt as needed to our group as it was slightly younger and larger those they had been working with previously.
Patrick and Jaz opened the first class with a high energy and comedic performance that drew the children into the program through laughter, and then seamlessly transitioned into call and response activities that encouraged the children to actively participate in the happenings in front over them.
Over the next several weeks Patrick and Jaz worked diligently in making slight alterations to the program to assure that it best met the needs of the group. Activities were made more physical to account for peaked energy levels, group sizes were altered and shifted to account for various levels of interest and ability. At one point, Patrick took it upon himself to perform for our Jr. High school students who, despite clearly stating that they felt poetry was 'lame' went on to provide input and feedback about his performance and seemed to linger just a little bit longer in the classroom than they had the week before.
Both Patrick and Jaz were attentive, witty, creative and passionate about the activities they lead and the feedback provided, often sitting cross-legged on the floor with the children to help them finish a poem, or on one occasion actually writing poetry from inside of a fort built out of classroom equipment in order to better 'set the mood'. I would suggest Digital Storytellers for anybody who wants to expose their youth to the fun and energy that can come with literacy.
As younger generations seem to grow farther and farther from the written word we see our youth completely reliant on electronic screens for both information and entertainment. Digital Storytellers is doing a fantastic job of trying to reclaim some of the passion and adventure of writing and introduce the next generation to the magic of creativity.
Edward 'Teddie' Honey
Youth Services Administrator, Mission Neighborhood Centers