RACINE — For every student involved in the Racine Video Production Workshop (RVPW) there’s a job and skill learned, along with a community benefitting from the hard work poured into the program.
For the past five years, the program which partners with Racine Unified School District, has highlighted local happenings and community members through different multimedia outlets.
The group is made up of students in high school who live in Racine County and is open to anyone interested in joining.
Through RVPW students also take a step aside from the seriousness of their program by providing content that relates to ongoing trends, vlogs, and fun challenges.
It’s a balance of content on multiple social media platforms and a balance of the students exploring video, photography, podcast, acting, writing, editing, and communication skills that fit their interests.
The group’s production workshop is located at Case High School, although the group is continually on the go in the Racine area.
Student-led program thrives
What started as just an after-school program has expanded into a program offering paid internships this summer.
When the schoolyear resumes, the students will continue by volunteering their time or earning class credits, if the student chooses.
“A lot of what we do is geared towards what the students want to do,” says Jason Love, Director of RVPW.
While he may be the director, the students enrolled are the masterminds behind what’s being produced.
“I made the joke that, which was true, was all we had was two Canon Rebels and one lens,” says Love when the group first started. “We just slowly been building up but this year that’s been kind of an explosion.”
There have been videos centered around blowing up a watermelon and playing hide and seek with tracking technology, in addition to spotlighting the theater, local businesses and organizations, and events such as Juneteenth Day, Drag Queen Storytime, and Rock the Block.
“You can kind of like fit in where you kind of want to,” says Saywyer Donovan, a member of RVPW.
The student compared their group to a basketball team, everyone is a part of the overall team, but everyone has their own strong suit, and they’re led by Love, who serves as their coach.
‘We are a community voice,” says Sawyer.
In addition to being all lights, cameras and action, the crew gets the chance to form a connection with the community by having cameras on the ground, microphones on, and videos recording important conversations with essential influences in Racine.
For example, this summer video production group has had the opportunity to take a deep dive with the Racine Police Department through a podcast series of 25 videos sponsored by United Way of Racine County‘s Equity Innovation Fund, City of Racine, Educators Credit Union, Racine Unified Schools‘ RUSD Extended Learning.
Specifically through this partnership, students are acting as the community’s voice by bringing its questions directly to the department.
The first handful of episodes were recorded with former Chief of Police Maurie Robinson (prior to his announcement of his departure) and Assistant Chief Alex Ramirez. Watch the first video online.
Students involved in this partnership believe they are using their capabilities to help connect the community and help build connections.
“We ask the questions that they don’t know how to ask,” or don’t have the ability to ask adds Mia Young.
“We are a bridge connecting us both,” explains Pamela Romero, member and a senior at Case High School.
Another student, Julie Letikirich, added that this segment shows another side to the police.
“We wouldn’t even be doing this without the community,” says Alex Radke, another member of RVPW.
Set up for success
At the core, the students focus on what’s happening around them. In exchange, what they are learning is setting them up for future careers in a variety of multimedia outlets.
Donovan wants to go into Graphic Design and Photography. The club’s newest member, Zuriel Lott, has an interest in acting.
While they have an idea of what they like, interviews and being interviewed along with attending events and being immersed in Racine County helps the students to grow as creators.
Racine County Eye feature
To help strengthen the student’s understanding of journalism and the role of local news in the Racine area, Donovan and Lott interviewed Emma Widmar for a podcast episode.
The podcast can be viewed on Youtube.
Students interested in getting involved in Racine Video Production Workshop can do so by reaching out to the group on Facebook or by emailing email@example.com or by connecting on other social media platforms.
The community can support the group by connecting on socials or by making a donation to the group. Contact Jason to do so.
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