Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship

>Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship
Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship2021-06-16T12:01:34-06:00
Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship
Program Description

The Children’s Defense Fund-Texas Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship is an opportunity for young people to use their experiences and knowledge to create a short film that brings to light an issue that is important to them or their community. Those who have experienced different types of inequality are highly encouraged to apply. Inequalities include but are not limited to: food insecurity or hunger; housing insecurity, eviction, or homelessness; lack of health care; racial or other discrimination; neighborhood violence; and/or family instability or separation. Though one fellow will be selected, there may be opportunities for groups to join masterclasses and other training sessions. 

The fellow will be able to find and amplify their voice to a broad audience as part of this program. CDF-Texas will share the short film(s) across the country to spur civic action and advance policy changes to uplift youth, families, and communities facing economic challenges.

Here are some examples of youth-made short films for reference:

Visit Youth FX
Visit Peace It Together

While the creation of a short film is the key outcome of this project, the Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship will also seek to engage and train the fellow and other masterclass participants around a variety of storytelling methods. In addition to video production, the program will build capacity in other effective storytelling techniques, including persuasive writing, digital advocacy, and spoken testimony so that the fellow can continue to be a strong advocate for themselves and their community.

The fellow will receive a $500 stipend as well as a video-production kit with necessary equipment. CDF-Texas will also provide the fellow with training in storytelling, filmmaking, and more.

Program Overview and Expectations

The fellowship program will begin in July 2021 and run through November 2021 (completion date of December 1, 2021). Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the program will take place virtually. We understand that the COVID-19 pandemic may pose challenges to this project and are committed to working with our fellow to make sure they can create their film with integrity to the intended purpose in a way that is safe for them, their families, and their communities. 

As a fellow, you will be provided with:

  • A monetary stipend of $500;
  • Necessary video and filming equipment (that will become property of the selected fellow);
  • Training and support by storytelling professionals;
  • Access to CDF’s wider network and resources; and
  • The opportunity to effect change in your community by telling your story.

Should you be selected for the fellowship, you will be expected to:

  • Film, edit, and produce a short film (no more than 10 minutes) that shares your lived experience;
  • Attend mentoring meetings, virtual workshops and trainings for storytelling and video creation each month;
  • Dedicate 1 to 5 hours weekly to the project;
  • Be comfortable sharing your story, name, voice, and likeness in your video and publicly.

Requirements for Applicants

  • Must be between the ages of 16 and 24 and reside in the Greater Houston area.
  • Must be willing to share personal testimony about experiences related to economic or other challenges of inequality to help drive change.
  • Must have reliable access to wifi and the ability to attend virtual meetings (most likely via  Zoom or Microsoft Teams) via smart phone or computer.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated experience or interest in community activism
  • Demonstrated experience or interest in storytelling and/or filmmaking

If you’ve worked with film or video before and have experience with storytelling through a visual medium, please provide a link to your project.


In addition to a general application, you will be required to answer the following

short-answer (200 words or less each) prompts:

Section 1: Your Story

  • 1. How has inequality affected you, your family, and your community?
  • 2. What changes would you like to see in your community to help more people achieve economic stability and success?

Section 2: Your Short Film

As a Youth Voices Storytelling Fellow, you will receive support throughout the storytelling process – from developing your story, to determining how you want to tell it and actually telling it. However, the questions in the following section are a starting point. We would like to learn about the unique perspective you could bring to this project and your initial ideas about what parts of your story you would like to explore or share, who you will involve, and how you would like to share it. 

  • 3. What will be the focus of your story? What specific life experiences do you plan to explore in your short film? 
  • 4. How do you envision translating your story to film? 
  • 6. Why are you interested in and/or what excites you about the possibilities of visual storytelling and telling your story through film?
  • 7. What change do you hope to inspire by telling your story? What impact do you hope your story makes?
Register for our Masterclasses

Any interested Young Advocate can participate in masterclasses led by filmmaking/storytelling professionals. These masterclass sessions are offered free of charge in conjunction with the CDF National Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship Program, but registration is required.

Youth Voices Storytelling Fellowship Masterclass Topics:

June 17: Creating Your Own Production Company
June 24: Impact Producing
July 1: Film Festival Programming/How to Submit Films to Festivals

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