It can be tough for kids to talk to parents. So they're putting their stories onto film.
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As Will Smith once said: Parents just don't understand.

Sometimes, it’s just hard to tell your parents things, and most kids struggle with finding ways to express themselves as a result.

But just because kids talk less sometimes doesn’t mean they don’t have stories to tell.


If anything, kids and teens are in the story-filled prime of their lives. They don’t just grapple with friends and family, relationships, gossip, school, and work — kids are also privy to conflicts of race, gender, sex, class, and other issues. It’s a complicated world out there, and kids know it.

That’s why re:imagine/ATL is giving them the tools they need to tell those stories in a powerful, and sometimes more comfortable, way. By equipping kids with film skills, re:imagine/ATL is handing them the mic — and letting them tell their own stories and make themselves heard.

Hear from the kids themselves how learning to film stories is changing their lives:

This group is teaching kids the skills they need to tell the stories of their communities through film.

Posted by Upworthy on Monday, September 11, 2017

When it comes to storytelling, everyone is on an equal playing field — which means that more diverse, more interesting perspectives have an opportunity to be heard.

As the program's founder Susanna Spiccia says, "Creativity — it doesn't discriminate."

For kids who are marginalized, that makes creativity a lifeline. Helping kids find a way to tell their stories doesn't just result in good stories, it also results in empowered kids.

At re:imagine/ATL, kids are pitching films focused on just about everything. Taj-Malik is telling "stories about [his] childhood," while Kalyn is addressing "how it's a little bit harder to do things when you're a girl."

Chris is pitching "a motivational piece," and Baldwin has ideas for "horror, drama, romance, comedy, action." For him and the rest of the kids at re:imagine/ATL, the sky is the limit.

There are lots of reasons it’s important to let kids tell their story their own way.

Society is biased when it comes to listening to grown-ups more than kids. Even stories about kids’ lives end up being told by adults. Remember the movie "Boyhood"? It was all about the experience of being a boy. And, yet, it was written and directed by a 42-year-old man.

Where are the stories about kids, told by kids?

When we hand kids the camera, there's no telling what they'll come up with. As volunteer Lisa Cunningham says, "We could be in camp with the next Spielberg."

The problem goes beyond just craving authentic storytelling. Too often, policy that applies to kids is debated and decided on by committees of adults. When kids are given a platform to voice the issues that affect them most, they’re able to be heard by the people who make the decisions that affect them.

But getting film experience is more than just a platform for telling stories. It’s also a huge leg up in a competitive industry.

In Atlanta, where the film and television industry is growing rapidly, kids who invest their interest in learning camera techniques early could see it pay off professionally down the road.

Normally, internships and entry-level jobs are slanted toward students with a hefty amount of privilege. But with re:imagine/ATL, kids from all sorts of backgrounds have the opportunity to get practical hands-on experience that could be the thing that becomes their foot in the door to a successful future.

That's something that doesn't need to be limited to Atlanta. As Spiccia says, "If you are in the film industry or you're in media period, you have a skillset that you can give back to our kids."

In any town, professionals have an opportunity to be a good neighbor to the younger generation, by passing on their experiences to kids who can then turn them into major opportunities.

And as the city of Atlanta proves, that’s a great thing for communities.

Empowering Atlanta's kids with film skills is an act that has powerful ripple effects. Not only does it set up a big portion of this generation for success, but it also allows them to go on to become mentors to other kids too.

Plus, you never know — the next huge thing in Hollywood could be something that was made right here in Atlanta.

Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

via @Todd_Spence / Twitter

Seven years ago, Bill Murray shared a powerful story about the importance of art. The revelation came during a discussion at the National Gallery in London for the release of 2014's "The Monuments Men." The film is about a troop of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis.

After his first time performing on stage in Chicago, Murray was so upset with himself that he contemplated taking his own life.

"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out — out onto the street and just started walking," he said.

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