CVOEO: A hand up, not a hand out
I had feared that by leaving a daily newspaper I would miss opportunities to tell stories about my community. Just the opposite. An unexpected silver lining developed into a new avenue for my freelance video storytelling: nonprofits. As more and more groups become savvy to video and digital storytelling they crave the kind of documentary pieces they see in the media. They want the real voices, not the scripted ones. After leaving the news grind I got a call from a local nonprofit known for their charitable and vital community programs: Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity (CVOEO). They were looking for a way to further their reach, boost their voice and educate the community on just what it is CVOEO does. I thought I knew all about CVOEO, having interviewed a few clients over the years for news stories, but I was pleasantly surprised to learn the depth of CVOEO’s programming. What they’re capable of is so much more impressive than what you see at first glance. And there was the problem.
This Burlington-based nonprofit needed help sharing their vision and voicing their successes. CVOEO helps Vermonters tackle the most difficult housing and employment problems, they will button up your home making it safer and warmer during our harsh winters and then when money is tight, CVOEO is there to help you with your home heating costs. As it turns out, they are so much more than that.
CVOEO prides itself on their ability to offer a hand up, not a hand out. Through empowering educational opportunities, CVOEO builds lasting, supportive relationships to sustain a person’s success. I loved every minute of this project. A varied cast of characters united under a single umbrella. Each and every person was working to not only improve themselves, but improve their community. I left every shoot with a profound memory. Mike’s business wisdom resonated with me as he detailed the ups and downs of discovering how to manage yourself and your staff while building a new company. I was delighted by the hilarious ramblings of nine-year-old Ethan excitedly reading aloud the daily newspaper in between sprints through his yard on late August nights. And I was fortunate to hear from the CVOEO staff as they recounted personal memories of moments that push them to succeed.
Thank you to the CVOEO crew and all those involved in this project. It was an absolute joy.