Monthly Archives: August 2010

Still Weathering The Storm: The Children of New Orleans

Four years ago my wife, Kerri L. Kennedy, who was working for Mercy Corps to rebuild children’s programs in New Orleans after Katrina, and I partnered with talented journalist and filmmaker, Joseph Van Harken, to create a short documentary about the kids who lived through Katrina.

Funded by Mercy Corps, we established a class in an existing summer camp to teach 10-14 year olds how to use cameras and produce their own PSAs.  We taped the entire camp class and, along with the 30 second PSAs put together a 24 minute short documentary.

To say it was a learning experience would not do it justice.  Joseph was amazing at getting the kids to tell their story of the storm, which included having to make peace with the fact that their parents were suffering.  The teacher, now a Teach for America fellow, Kristen Lozada worked with the kids every day and really developed a good relationship with them.  She loved the experience so much she came back to work in the city with TfA.

It has been a while since we produced and released it with the full support of the community.  In honor of the 5th anniversary, I ask for 24 minutes of your time to take a look at the work of these great kids.  They named the film: Still Weathering The Storm.

Looking Forward To A Digital Philadelphia

I had the great pleasure this week of participating in a Code For America brainstorming session with members of the City of Philadelphia Mayor’s office and Division of Technology. It was a fantastic experience as we discussed how technology can drive stronger and more efficient communications between citizens and City Hall, as well as help citizens create solutions for themselves within their neighborhoods.

This is part of the larger Digital Philadelphia initiative, of which I am a very happy participant on the web applications side. We have a public-private committee to bring open data and open applications to Philadelphia as they have in DC, NYC, San Francisco and other places. We are fortunate to have insight and participation from Comcast, Navteq and Wharton to Indy Hall, City Hall and the startup community.

It is certainly an exciting time to be in Philadelphia!

If you are not familiar with Code For America, take a look at the video and visit the site. It is a fantastic mission.

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Code For America Looking For Fellows

I am excited to work alongside these guys when they come into Philadelphia next year!