The Impact

On the first class of each semester, we invite two individuals to come to our classroom and tell us about homelessness, Eric Breit, the Development Director at Housing for New Hope (HNH), and Michael Kelly, a Peer Specialist and Outreach Worker for HNH. While Eric provides so much important and useful contextual information about the homeless situation locally, it is Michael’s stories about his own experiences living along the train tracks right across from our building that everyone remembered and referred to in later class discussions.

Magnum Photographer Susan Meiselas once said, “There’s a very subtle difference between going to a place because one is ‘concerned,’ and becoming ‘concerned’ through the process of engagement.”

Without a doubt, these ten accomplished young documentarians will leave this experience with many lessons, and much concern, and perhaps the position one day to further act on that concern.

The Durham Herald-Sun published this piece

A Project to Give Voice to the Homeless

Duke News published the following piece:

Service Learning Course Puts A Face on Homelessness

One student, John Refling, wrote, “I shared my piece with the men at Phoenix House and they absolutely loved it.  The brothers’ reaction to my documentary really blew me away, and made all of the work I put in to this project very, very worth it.  It was a great pleasure watching their reactions as they saw the piece; they kept commenting on the pictures, and then saying, “Oh!  There I am!”.

It sounds really cheesy, but it gave me such a feeling of accomplishment seeing their appreciation for the project, and their realization of, “Oh….I see what they were doing all this time!” I’m very excited for Monday’s class.  Watching all of the pieces with the subjects is going to be a very rich experience.  Thanks for everything. This class has easily been one of the best I’ve taken, and I’m so glad I decided to enroll.” -John Refling, Duke ’12
“I was really nervous about presenting my finished audio to Angel. I believed the piece was a representative portrait of the woman I’d come to admire, but I needed to know that she felt the same way. After she listened to her story, she was all smiles. She wanted a copy for her sister; she couldn’t wait to hear it again; she was practically bouncing around the house. Then I realized, so was I.” -Caitlin Johnson, Duke ’12

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