Digital Storytelling - Better Together

Natanya Behrmann
By Natanya Behrmann

There’s something to be said about the complexity of community exchange. It is often said that it takes a village, but what it is about the village that incites the kind of positive growth and transformations that empower and change lives?

Gisselle Cabreja is a mother of 4 and living in Dorchester. We met through Project Hope under the graces of Maria Alamo. About a year ago, she volunteered to participate in our Digital Storytelling workshop for parents exploring ways to overcome social isolation. I recently saw her at the Vital Village Network connection meeting and she told me about her baby niece who is confronting health issues and how she’s she’s helping her family find solutions, overcoming obstacles, and navigating a complex health system. As I looked into her eyes, I saw passion and energy and hope.

I was reminded of her story and how her eldest son was diagnosed with autism at age 12. With tears in her eyes, she had recounted her fears, her lessons learned. She committed to helping others avoid similar challenges during our Digital Storytelling workshop stating, “I’m learning something from everybody and I feel really happy that I know so many experience, that I can help other families and I’m learning to see when something is not right.” Her story was titled “The Gift” for as she said, her obstacles made her grow. Funny thing is, I also think her story made me grow. This is the beauty of storytelling.

We were 8 story tellers strung together by threads of commonalities under the banner of social isolation and with the shared vision of creating a better space for our children. They were grandchildren, sons and daughters, our friends’ children, children under our care, we had a united purpose. We gathered at the Boston University School of Medicine in a conference room for three days in May. The workshop was free of charge, hosted by the Vital Village Network and facilitated by the Center for Digital Storytelling.

Through the workshop we shared our stories, we wrote and edited our stories and finally we learned how to develop a digital story that can be shared online folding in media such as music and photos that could add texture and dimension to our tales. This was a heartfelt, insightful and invaluable experience. Please take the time to enjoy Gisselle’s story:  

For more information or interest in holding your own Digital Storytelling Workshop please feel free to reference the link for the center for Digital Storytelling or contact the Vital Village Network for further information.

Posted In: Peer to Peer Advocacy