Skylar Haines, a 17 year-old junior at RHAM High School, spends almost every afternoon at Community Voice Channel (CVC) in Bolton. She is in the process of creating an interview-driven news show called “Speaking Through Stories.”
Haines is passionate about film and broadcast journalism. She heard about and attended a workshop at Community Voice Channel that trained her to use their video equipment and studio in the most effective way, and launched right into creating her own show. Inspired by the plight of a local Syrian refugee family that her church was co-sponsoring, she decided to tell their story. After interviewing them in Arabic with a translator, she gathered facts and perspectives from Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) employees and from volunteers in her faith-based community about the co-sponsorship process. Haines hopes that, from one family’s journey to a collaboration of perspectives surrounding refugees in the nation, people will see the real faces of refugees so that they can make an informed opinion on the subject. She plans this to be the first in her “Speaking Through Stories” series.
Thanks to a $95,768 grant awarded by the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving (HFPG), Community Voice Channel is in the process of upgrading its television studio with new high definition equipment, and plans to train staff and local volunteer residents on its use. Local residents like Skylar are not only trained, but also receive one-on-one attention and support to produce their own content, create their own shows, and voice their own ideas.
“The mentorship and professional studio atmosphere at CVC is preparing me to be the serious journalist I strive to be. Community Voice Channel gives me the opportunity to take risks and allow these stories to be told,” shares Skylar Haines. “I am so excited about the new equipment. It gives the station the chance to be on the cutting edge of media, and it gives me an advantage to have that experience before going into this field. My hope is that the new equipment will help the station reach a larger audience and encourage more young people to take advantage of the mentorship and services available at Community Voice Channel. I am eternally grateful for all the opportunities CVC has given me and will continue to provide as I get trained on the new high-tech equipment.”
CVC, the only public access television station in the towns of Andover, Bolton, Ellington, Hebron, Marborough, Tolland and Vernon, is a nonprofit whose mission is to support residents of these seven towns in expressing their first amendment rights and producing program content that is of relevance to them and their respective communities.
Nick Lavigne, Executive Director of Community Voice Channel, whose motto is "Don't just watch TV...make it" shares, “We get to facilitate an environment where all residents can come and learn a new skill for free. These people can then apply that skill immediately by making their own show or helping someone else with their show, which allows people in the community to meet each other and work towards a goal. The new studio is going to be an amazing new experience for everyone to see what it’s like to use current industry hardware. Kids from the local high schools or middle schools will be able to get a lot more out of their A/V clubs or classes when they visit CVC during the school year and summer. I really love seeing people like Skylar take full advantage of what CVC has to offer, it’s what makes this all worth it. I can't wait to see what people make with the new equipment.”
“Creating opportunities for local residents is why the Hartford Foundation exists,” stated Megan Burke, Community Investments Officer at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. “It’s been a real pleasure working with the staff of Community Voice Channel to see how we can help them to better serve people across these seven towns to have a voice and to know what’s happening in their community.”
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.