By Mike O’Keefe
Students at two Hunts Point middle schools, MS 424 and St. Ignatius School, are letting their neighbors know about important issues close to home, with the help of modern technology.
The students used cameras and computers supplied by a New York based non-profit group to report on issues like the environment, graffiti, and stray dogs and cats, through a year-long digital storytelling project locally arranged by the Hunts Point Alliance for Children.
Over the course of the year, the seventh- and eighth-graders used equipment supplied by the Virtue Foundation as part of its Digital Storytelling initiative, as they learned to use technology to recount news in the peninsula, as well as their ideas for improving life in the neighborhood.
“Incorporating exciting technology with student-led civic engagement projects is a path to discover life-long passions,” said HPAC’s managing director, Maryann Hedaa.
Along with the story-telling skills they picked up, students also raised money for a nearby animal shelter, made tree guards to help save neighborhood trees, and helped design a mural at the entrance to MS 424 on Bryant Ave.
The initiative is designed to encourage young people to get to get involved at the local level while learning about all the new technology that can help them get the word out, said the Virtue Foundation’s executive director, Joseph Salim, adding the combination “has the potential to transform communities.”