Inner City Youth Alive has recently completed a project for the purpose of serving the North End community through inspiring personal testimonies.
It's called the Story Studio. Kristin Hicks, the Story Studio Coordinator and Executive Assistant for ICYA describes it as a recording booth right in the heart of the North End. It's geared towards being a resource for people to come and share their stories in whatever ways they want.
The studio was created with a contemporary feel with lots of natural light, comfortable oversized chairs complete with cameras and microphones.
Whatever style of testimony people want to come and record, The Story Studio can accommodate for video and audio.
Hicks said, "We wanted to be able to reach out to people that express themselves in different ways as well. We can do music. We've had some people come in and write their lyrics and they bring their tracks in, as well as some spoken word - a lot of different ways that people can express themselves."
Hicks said that they wanted to be able to modify their set up in the best way for people to share.
"There isn't anything more powerful than a story," Hicks said when explaining the "why" for the need of the Story Studio.
The idea for the studio came up innocently about three years ago during ICYA's celebration of 30 years in ministry. Hicks said that they were taking a walk down memory lane and were thinking about all the former youth. She said they were wanting to bring them in to share their stories and in a passing comment, someone said, "we need a recording booth so that we can have all these stories on hand."
Hicks said, "And then a light bulb went on. It was like, yeah, we literally need to have a recording booth just so we can have all of these stories and be able to share them on a regular basis. Not just on big thirtieth or fortieth anniversary things."
That's where the idea first came. Hicks said that on a more personal level she fell in love with the community and the people that she sees every day in the North End while working at the ministry. She said the North End community is a beautiful place with beautiful people and incredible stories of hope and resilience.
"There's healing and empowerment that comes from the storyteller, to sit down and be able to own their story and say, 'This is what I've been through,'" Hicks said.
To describe the studio, Hicks said that it's a good quality space that wasn't just a back closet with a microphone. It was built from the ground up complete with soundproof and everything that goes into a story studio because your story matters and we want to put time and effort into it to be able to honour your story.
For more information about the Story Studio or to book a time, contact Inner City Youth Alive.