Storytelling Project, Welcome Home; Welcome to the Neighborhood, Engages Youth to Help Influence Light Rail Extension Project

The word home is meant to evoke feelings of comfort, safety, and familiarity. While the city as a whole is considered home to Seattleites on a larger scale, most residents apply the term more granularly to the uniqueness of their neighborhood. As the City plans for the West Seattle Ballard Link Extension (WSBLE), part of the preparation includes community outreach and engagement within the neighborhoods that will be impacted by the construction. Through this process, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods is partnering with Northwest Film Forum on Welcome Home; Welcome to the Neighborhood, a project that engages youth in a series of storytelling workshops focused on the question “what makes people feel at home?”  

“I think the stories we tell through this project can help inform the City on what makes people feel at home in their own neighborhoods,” said Derek Edamura, Director of Education at Northwest Film Forum.  “And, as the Link Extension project moves into new neighborhoods, City leaders can better understand the wants and needs of surrounding communities.”

Each of the workshops will be youth-led and focus on giving teens the technical knowledge and access to bring their stories to life. The project will also include a filmmaking component in which participants will work with Remove the Gap Production apprentices to turn their stories into short films.  

“We love empowering young people to tell their own stories through film,” Derek says. “It is exciting to partner with the City on this, especially as we talk about building equitable communities. Young people have just as much invested in these [light rail] projects as adults and their voices should be heard through the planning and development process.”

The program includes four workshops held in the spring and requires availability for filming days in June.

Program Schedule:

  • May 12: Knowing Your Power and Telling Your Story
  • May 19: Turning Ideas to Project Proposals
  • May 26: Write a Script From Your Proposal
  • June 2: Script Breakdown and Pre-Production

Registration for Welcome Home; Welcome to the Neighborhood is currently open to high schoolers across the city with a particular focus on those living in neighborhoods that will be impacted by light rail construction like Delridge and Chinatown International District.

To learn more or register for the program visit: https://nwfilmforum.org/education/workshops/community-storytelling-person-project/

5/09/2022 update on the West Seattle and Ballard Light Rail Extension: https://sdotblog.seattle.gov/2022/05/05/west-seattle-ballard-light-rail-extensions-city-comments-elevate-community-interests/