We are Teen Moms

Quote from unknown author: Being a young mom means that we met a little early, but it also, means I get to love you a little longer. Some people said that my life ended when I had a baby but my life had just began. You didn't take away from my future, you gave me a new one.

We are Teen Moms is still to this day one of my favourite projects. I became involved in the project while working at the Sudbury & District Health Unit and was asked by our Research Department if I could assist since they had heard I had the ability to do the video editing that was required.

The goal of the project was to present the qualitative data that researchers had obtained in a more interesting way than a report. The plan was to showcase the information to health care providers therefore we created a video and had an official launch inviting appropriate community members.

In order to obtain the software that was required to create the video I had to personally ask the right people about our licensing as well as other options. If there is a way to get something done however I will find it and I won’t ever let barriers discourage me.

Throughout this project I had the challenge of going through all of the qualitative data that was collected through interviews with several teen mothers within the community. I was then tasked with the challenge of using those narratives as authentically as possible in order to create one script that would best represent all of the mothers that had participated.

The mothers had also been given disposable cameras and were asked to take pictures that represented their life as a teen mom in Sudbury. These images were therefore used throughout the lengths of the video in order to really create something that represented their stories. Although the designer in me instinctively wanted to do more photo editing and manipulation we all felt it was a better representation to leave the images untouched except for a couple of rare instances.

In order to capture their voices we also had an audio recording session with the moms that were available and had them read the script for the narration of the video. Hearing them read their own stories really makes a stronger impact than simply reading about their experiences in a report.

Lastly I brought some scrapbooking material that I had at home in order to facilitate a scrapbooking/craft session where they were able to cut out from magazines and create images that they felt represented themselves and this project as a whole. This artwork was used throughout the video as well as for printed material and distributed copies of the video.

I learned a lot during this project and I happily tackled another similar project once the opportunity presented itself. I also discovered that I have the ability to connect with people and make them feel at ease during something like recording that can very often feel awkward and unnatural. This ability is something that continued to be utilized throughout my time at the Sudbury & District Health Unit.