Students stand up to bullying in Charlotte with help from Cognizant Volunteers

At the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Charlotte, North Carolina, students in Cognizant’s Flip Camera apprenticeship this spring learned about the world in innovative ways. What better way to teach documentary film and technology skills – than in a hands-on, engaging way? Here are a few examples of how the hardworking volunteers from Cognizant helped Citizen Schools to expand the learning day with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) while making a difference in the Charlotte community: Bullying is a problem that unfortunately most students and youth in today’s society encounter at some point during their school day. When Citizen Teacher volunteers Saurav Das, Sandeep Jha and Arun Sivanand asked students what they wanted their Flip Camera documentary to focus on the students unanimously chose bullying. In this apprenticeship lead by Cognizant, student’s stories took center stage in documentary films based on their own passions and issues. Students worked alongside their volunteers for 10 weeks learning technology skills for filming and basic film editing to propose solutions to the bullying problem in their community. This became an opportunity for students to share a persuasive film rooted in their own experience. Teams worked together to gather footage and understand the core of the problem they choose. These aspiring film editors gathered comments and reactions from adults at their school like teachers, principals and Citizen Schools staff.

Filmmaking builds student’s voice and confidence and allows students to become advocates for themselves and their communities as leaders and effective team members. Students even created a slogan to stop bullying "Speak Up, Speak Out, Your Voice, No More Bullying."  In addition to developing skills, the Cognizant Flip Camera apprenticeship gave students an opportunity to see their documentary come to life in front of a live audience. On April 26th, 2012 Cognizant’s apprentices screened their documentaries for parents, peers and faculty attending Martin Luther King Jr.’s end of the semester WOW! event showcase. The students' films were a huge success and the volunteers from Cognizant are already putting their heads together to decide what to teach next year.