I had the honor of teaching an intro to film and narratives to Somali youth in the City Heights neighborhood of San Diego. Somali Family Services (SFS) has a robust youth program and is a community-based social service organization that provides culturally and linguistically appropriate programs and services to refugee and immigrant communities of San Diego. And while SFS works in the areas of Health & Wellness, Economic Development, and Community Engagement, it is their Youth Programs that teem with energy. The Youth Programs focus on education, enrichment, and civic engagement.
Yesterday, I met with an engaging group of teens and learned about their own stories. Many of them have immigrated or recently come to the United States. They are acclimating to school and life here and maintain their Somali culture. During our time of sharing Oreos and Cheetos, we delved into the power of story-telling and how a seemingly everyday moment is powerful. These young women are bright, and engaging and I hope they take this lesson and create their own stories to share beyond this youth meeting. Teaching the power of storytelling and film wasn’t anything new to me. Since I’m the president of my school’s Film Club, I regularly give presentations on similar topics. It was astounding that these young women were much more engaged than my own fellow students! It was such a pleasure teaching them and I even felt like I learned new things from the process. I'm so grateful that SFS was able to have me come in and teach the youth, and I hope the youth are just as inspired to create change and awareness!