One of the challenges of increasing ﬁnancial support for the Fayetteville-Manlius A Better Chance (FM-ABC) program is in raising awareness of the program and the impact on the young women who participate. That task has gotten a large boost through a series of videos produced to tell the FM-ABC story. The video series was created by 13 Colgate University students enrolled in the Community Based Participatory Research course during the spring semester of 2018. In this sociology class, students work in partnership with a local community organization to carry out a research project that meets a community need. The course is taught by Janel Benson, associate professor of sociology at Colgate and an ABC board member and academic adviser, who thought the FM-ABC program would make for a perfect organizational partner.
Benson recruited Sarah Kunze, manager of Colgate’s Digital Learning and Media Center to co-teach for the semester and secured funding to produce the video series through a grant from Colgate’s Upstate Institute, which supports community collaboration and civic engagement for students. Kunze trained the students in all of the technical aspects required to create the videos—from camera work to lighting and audio to post-production.
The students created six ﬁve minute videos that help tell the history and mission of the program and the impact it continues to make by opening educational doors for students of color. To make these videos, Benson’s students spent months conducting research, including extensive interviews with FM teachers, ABC scholars and alumni, staff, board members and other volunteers. In addition, they digitized all of the ABC House records and photographs for potential use in the project.
Benson says her sociology students were fully engaged in the project because it was evident that the FM-ABC program directly changes young girls’ lives.
“My students loved developing relationships with the current ABC scholars and learning about the impact of the program,” she says. “It was very important to my students to fully represent the ABC scholars and include their voices and perspectives in the project.”
The videos have already made an impact. They were ﬁrst shown at Lockheed Martin at a presentation by Kathy Elbadawi, board vice chair, and Erica Rube, fundraising chair, resulting in a $3,000 grant from the Lockheed Martin Federated fund. “The videos tell the ABC story in a much more personal and powerful way than we can just explaining what the organization does,” says Rube. “The videos introduce viewers to our scholars, and they are the best fundraising tool for the organization we have.”
To view the videos, visit: www.fmabetterchance.org/the-fm-abc-family/videos/