News | April 17, 2020

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WGCU, Best Buddies team up for digital storytelling workshop

WGCU teamed up with Best Buddies of Southwest Florida last fall for a digital storytelling workshop that launched the station’s “Move to Include” initiative, which is ongoing and anticipates the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act in July 2020.

“Move to Include” is a pilot project led by public media station WXXI in Rochester, N.Y. It began in 2014 and was made possible with the support of the Golisano Foundation and Tom Golisano, who also donated $20 million to build Southwest Florida’s Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Funded by a $645,000 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, this project includes multimedia elements that combine content production, curation and engagement to encourage dialogue about disability issues.

Photo shows Podcaster Mike Kiniry
Podcaster Mike Kiniry created the popular “Three Song Stories.” Photo: James Greco/WGCU

Participating stations in “Move to Include,” including WGCU, are planning additional events through next summer and beyond that emphasize ability, rather than disability.

The workshop with Best Buddies turned young people into filmmakers and public media staff into mentors.

“Buddies” with intellectual and developmental disabilities were paired with school-age “peer buddies” for the weekend workshop. Five teams of two each created a short video on a topic of their choice, doing the interviewing, filming and editing themselves with the help of a member of the WGCU production crew.

They did all of their work on kits consisting of an iPad, a tripod and bracket, headphones and two lavalier microphones. They presented their videos for family and friends in the WGCU TV Studio.

The “Move to Include” effort reaches to every corner of WGCU, including one of the station’s podcasts, “Three Song Stories.” This “Biography Through Music” program recently celebrated its 100th episode, which is cause for celebration itself. And so is its 102nd entry. Podcaster Mike Kiniry, with help from colleagues Tara Calligan and Richard Chin Quee, interviews a father and son, Ned and Ethan DuRant, who are partners in a band. Their collaboration in the band Dizygote was the reason for the interview. But at the same time son Ethan, 15, talks about his sensory processing disorder, “somewhat like autism,” he says. Even though he can’t stand loud music – especially if it’s sudden – he digs playing drums, guitar, bass guitar, mandolin and more. The condition actually made learning about and playing music easier, he explains.

Listen in to guests sharing the three songs that most take them back in time at threesongstories.org. You can also catch them on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.