The Digital Clubhouse model is built on four cornerstone intergenerational project based experiences that give voice to people in our community and help resolve real-world issues in education, health, and managing the diversity of American and global society.
By participating in our programs and projects, people of all backgrounds and ages learn to work together to achieve common goals, to be more accepting of each other's differences, and to be tolerant of one another's views. We've come to realize that although "all our rivers run through different places, we are all part of the greater sea of humanity."
All DCN programs and projects are "free" to the public. However, all those who participate are expected to "pay back" their Digital Clubhouse by helping the next group of participants have a comparable or better experience. In this way, they reinforce their new knowledge as they help us develop the next generation of members, creating a culture of "learning by teaching, and caring by sharing."
We hold special public events throughout the year to share the work of our members and to invite new participants to take part in our activities.
Our four cornerstone programs are:
The Digitally Abled Producers Project project is a youth leadership program for boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 19, approximately one-half to one-third of whom have a disability or come from at-risk backgrounds.
While the focus is on mastering essential technology, D@PPers also learn a wide range of important life skills, such as interpersonal communications, public speaking, writing, team building, basic project management and event planning, and time management skills.
D@PP is the "operating system" and "trunk of the tree", supporting virtually all other programs and projects that are carried out at a Digital Clubhouse. Many youth continue in the program for throughout their middle and high school careers, and on into college, as members of the D@PP Alumni Association.
In order to qualify to be a member of D@PP, youth must commit to a year of service to their community, volunteering an average of 20 hours each month, helping others in their community, including mentoring at least two new D@PPers every year. They help teach the D@PP program to new participants, work on intergenerational digital storytelling projects in their community, and teach preteens about the ethical and productive uses of technology in our after school program. Some are assigned to special projects, depending on their individual skills and interests, and the needs of their Digital Clubhouse and the community it serves.
Those who meet their service commitment over a 12-month period, receive the President's Gold Service Award (for 250 hours of volunteer service in a calendar year), and are eligible for additional opportunities to develop their skills and build their pre-professional networks, including paid and unpaid internships as Teaching Associates in the Digital Clubhouse Network.
All D@PPers are evaluated at the end of each three-month D@PP program cycle and are asked to write personal essays describing what the D@PP experience meant to them at the end of each year of service. These personal essays help prepare D@PPers for college, including the SAT college entrance examination which now includes a writing sample.
Students teach their peers the basics of intergenerational digital storytelling, and gain experience working in community outreach projects, such as Cousins of the Clubhouse.
In its 10th year, the D@PP project makes possible our other community programs by bringing youth to our community table.
People of all ages and backgrounds have a story to tell.
That is the fundamental principle behind our use of intergenerational digital storytelling to build community. We merge the age-old art of storytelling, with new multimedia technologies, bringing people together in a collaborative environment where they can exchange dreams, memories thoughts and family histories, while learning how to use the tools of success in the rapidly evolving digital age. In this way we can appeal to the interests of a 92-year old grandmother, as well as the tech savvy preteen who would otherwise spend most of his or her time buried in a video game or instant messaging their sibling in the next room.
Over the past nine years, we been an acknowledged leader in developing exciting new ways of applying the power of technology to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in recording, preserving and sharing the history of their community. Our programs bring together people of all ages and backgrounds to learn how to use computers to produce "mini-movies" with the look and feel of Ken Burns documentaries that can be shared with schools, libraries, museums and a global audience over the Internet. Working with adult mentors and storytellers from a wide range of experiences, youth gain a deeper appreciation of history and important social issues as they become curators of their community heritage. Workshops have focused on Black history, the changing role of women, Latino heritage, innovation, and family histories.
Storytelling has been called the "Gold Standard of Healing", and we have conducted a series of workshop-based programs and projects over the years to determine how our intergenerational digital storytelling techniques help ease suffering and promote healing among people who are coping with life challenges such as stroke, breast cancer, loss of a loved one and other traumatic experiences.
The Stories of Service project is our flagship intergenerational digital storytelling program devoted to preserving the stories of our nations war veterans and others who served our country in it's time of greatest need. Led by our New York Digital Clubhouse, it is becoming the template for launching national versions of our other history-based applications in the future.
For sample stories and more information,
Visit the project's national website.
This was shown on the big screen at the World War II 60th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony with the Department of Defense in San Diego, CA, on Memorial Day 2005.
The Digital Griot is a project aimed at sharing and preserving the perspectives of the African American experience. This project is most active at the clubhouse in California.
See a sample story: Flying with Neeta, by Stan Harris
Digital Healing projects have resulted in many of our most moving digital stories, reminding us that courage is not only to be found on the battlefield, but in everyday life.
See a sample story: Reflections, by Karen Kwast
The Latino Legacy project is designed to document the legacy of Latino Americans. It has been pioneered by students based in California and has been a large part of our community outreach efforts.
See a sample: Cesar Chavez Story
With today's technology, the Good Grief project gives us the power to live beyond our own lives, as well as coping with loss and bereavement. Here are two of our finest examples of stories from participants.
See a sample story: A Soldier's Story by Gaye Pare
See another sample story: I Can Fly by Neida Pare
See a sample story: Tommy's Story by Lavada Peterson
The Young Brave Hearts are youth who have had to cope with a major life challenge, and have done so with strength and determination, helping to educate and inspire us while reminding us that when it comes to character, size doesn't matter!
See a sample story:
For the Love of the Game, by Kevin Lichtenberg
A pair of news broadcasts tell how Kevin was able to overcome his disability and participate in his life's love.
See them here.
The Youth Health Advocates (YHA) project is an exciting new program that is mobilizing young people from elementary school age through college to help combat the rising epidemic of childhood obesity, diabetes and related illnesses that threaten the future of our children, our families and our community.
Advocates are being taught 21st century success skills, while learning how they can be the first line of defense to fight preventable illnesses. They commit to being positive role models and to help teach their peers, parents and the public about the importance of making healthy life choices. They learn about proper nutrition and physical exercise, how to develop personal fitness plans, how to make public presentations, and how to engage decision makers and the media in the process of raising public awareness and stimulate positive action regarding important health issues.
For more information, please see the Youth Health Advocates Website.
See a sample story:
International Tobacco, by project participant Jen Chou
The Cousins of the Clubhouse is a community outreach program designed to bring more Digital Clubhouse projects into community centers, especially for the benefit of lower income families in the community.
Working out of senior centers, schools, churches, or other community gathering places (even a donut shop!), youth run sample digital storytelling, D@PP, and kow programs working with members of the surrounding community. This allows our model to have a greater impact in the community as a whole.
See an informational piece about the project produced by Microsoft: