The DomCop scholarship program has been discontinued
The DomCop scholarship program was started in 2016 to give opportunities for students to innovate and help create value with today’s modern technology. We wanted to help support the education of a deserving student who also shares our passion and drive for making the world a better place. We hope to assist the right student in reaching their full potential in delivering exceptional results.
Unfortunately, we no longer support this scholarship and have decided to shut it down in 2019. Details below on the last winner of the program
The winner of the previous DomCop Scholarship program is Kate Dorman. Kate is a Master's student at the University of Washington and is enrolled in their Social Work program. We at DomCop are impressed by Kate's Project Reel initiative. We wish her all the best with her efforts on this.
Kate's Essay -
Everyone has a story to share. Everyone. Too many people's experiences, feelings, and realities go untold and unheard, and every human, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, age, capability, and income, deserves to be heard, simply because they are human. Project Reel would facilitate the self-empowerment of at-risk children and adolescents by teaching them how to document the untold and unheard stories of low-income, homeless, and refugee people as well as the stories that they feel compelled to share and that may have a societal or environmental impact. Project Reel mission would be twofold: providing youth an alternative education and making individual and societal impacts through videography.
I worked with a single, teenage mother of two, whose perseverance to work and be a good mother while finishing high school inspired me to return to school to obtain my masters degree in social work. However, her struggle with prior gang involvement, a criminal record and battle with drug addiction motivated me to create a mini-documentary about her life, because I believe in the opportunity for everyone to be heard. This experience combined with my affinity for working with at-risk youth was the inspiration behind Project Reel.
The most effective programs worldwide for at-risk and low-income youth and adolescents empower them by providing them career, vocational, or trade opportunities that do not require a formal education. Oftentimes, these youth do not succeed in a traditional school setting, as the education system is not always structured to meet their unique needs. Venezuela's El Sistema invites all children as young as three years old to participate in a free youth orchestra up to six times per week for several hours each day. The idea of El Sistema is to take children off the streets, to provide them a safe space, and to teach them a skill. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan children have participated in this program, and the directors of the Los Angeles, Miami, and Boston philharmonics all participated in El Sistema. Loosely based off El Sistema, Project Reel would invite children as young as seven to begin exploring the industry of film. Project Reel would provide a safe and courageous space, encouraging exploration and analyzation of self, others, community, and the world.
Project Reel would partner with alternative high schools and middle schools, where the majority of the students are considered to be at-risk. This non-traditional form of learning would be an outlet for those students who do not feel called to academia. Oftentimes, at-risk students are not considered to be responsible or trusted. They are the "troublemakers". Instead of punishing them for not achieving in a traditional school setting, the intention of Project Reel would be to channel the inner passions and motivations of the youth. They would be entrusted with using expensive film equipment and laptops. When given a chance, most people greet opportunities with pride. At Project Reel, youth would participate in activities and projects dependent on their age. They would learn the basics - from how to charge a camera to how to use lavalieres and lighting equipment. They would learn how to operate editing programs such as Final Cut Pro X. These videos would require a story-telling creativity, which they would learn through watching documentaries and analyzing what makes them effective or ineffective. They would also practice the problem solving process of transforming the individual clips into a unified story. They would learn and implement interviewing techniques. Youth would also read local and national news articles to discuss current events and social justice issues. Students would read books on how documentaries and visual storytelling can raise awareness and spark social and environmental change.
Students would create a yearlong project, throughout which they would partner with professional mentors in their field of interest. For example, if they were filming a documentary about LGBTQ people in their community, they would be partnered with a mentor from organizations such as Gay City Health Project or Equal Rights Washington. They would be expected to create and present storyboards. Meanwhile, they would be required to film mini-documentaries on a family member, a favorite hobby, etc., in order to develop their skills. I would also partner with local news networks and look for opportunities for older students to have summer internships. Culminating in an end of the year film festival open to the public where the youth could display their hard work and answer questions from the audience.
During the school year, youth would have the opportunity to participate in Project Reel after classes, and during the summer, daylong workshops would be offered. Older youth would also be able to create and teach their own courses or workshops for younger children under the supervision of a teacher.
The main challenges in starting Project Reel would be financial as it would be a non-profit business and would therefore be competing for donations and grants. Project Reel would need to prove its success over time in order for it to gain notoriety leading to increased donations and credibility. With the ideas and support of the youth, fundraising events would take place throughout the year. Overhead would be expensive, as Project Reel would need to purchase camera equipment as well as laptops. Initially, to cut down on costs, Project Reel would not have a physical location. Youth and staff would meet in public settings such as community centers, libraries, or schools. Eventually, Project Reel would strive to employ a certain percentage of former Project Reel youth. It's growth would be driven by the generosity of others as well as word of mouth.
An additional barrier would be gaining youth interest in Project Reel. However, as far as I am aware, there is currently no competition for a program like this based in Seattle, WA, where I reside and where Project Reel would be founded. Working with school administration and staff, I would post fliers and promotional signs throughout alternative high schools and middle schools. Word of mouth would also contribute to the growth of Project Reel. I believe that people who have lived an experience can best tell the story. Oftentimes, youth, particularly at-risk youth, do not feel that they are heard. Project Reel would encourage them to express their worldview through their storytelling. I believe that all of these skills (problem solving, creativity, speaking with and listening to others, storytelling, and presenting a project) in addition to internships and networking opportunities within Seattle will increase youth employability. The content of the documentaries would undoubtedly have an impact on the community as well. Project Reel would be built on the foundation that an investment in children and youth always yields a high return, as they are the future.