|Surviving the Storm: A documentary views the resilience of children through tragedy|
|Written by Chianti C. Cleggett|
|Wednesday, 25 April 2012 11:35|
One year after the April 2011 tornadoes, the devastation is still far-reaching. For Yolaine Joseph, the deepest impact was felt by the children who endured the storm. “Often, children are overlooked. We [tend to only] think about financial losses and physical pain,” she said.
Determined to highlight those who are often forgotten, Joseph took an opportunity presented by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) to create a project focused on children. “[My goal was] to tell the story through their eyes,” she said, recalling that nearly 200 kids were affected by the storm at Jackson-Olin High, where she teaches.
Together with her AFT partners, called a CARE team, Joseph produced the 30-minute documentary, “After the Storm: Children Surviving the April 2011 Tornado.” This is more than a story about children surviving a storm, said Joseph. “The DVD could be used in any tragic situation as a teaching tool to help kids.”
Joseph, who teaches theater at Jackson-Olin and English/Literature at Miles College, interviewed kids ages 8 to 17. Two girls from Pratt City and one in the Pleasant Grove area experienced total losses and remain unable to return home.
Six other students, including Joseph’s children, were from Fultondale, and are back home. “Even though [some of the students] did not lose everything, they were unable to live in their homes for at least two weeks.”
She continued, “As a director and producer, I want to be a voice and advocate for children. [These children] lost everything and experienced tragedy, but they are resilient.” Joseph, a Howard University alum, graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and plans to create a series of documentaries on children’s issues. “I’m going back to my original passion,” she said.
“We can learn from children,” she added. “Even in the midst of a tragic situation, you can find an opportunity to see life in a new way, as a new beginning.”
“After the Storm” was filmed and edited by Patrick Johnson of Blaq Angel Media. It includes five original instrumentals by SoForReal Productions as well as the title track, “The Storm,” with lyrics written by Harrell Sherrod.