The Veterans Community Media Center (VCMC) has been established to respond to the needs in the Veteran community for mutual support around suicide prevention services, military trauma and re-entry challenges and provide a place and programs for bridge-building, solidarity, mentorship, and self-expression with cutting edge media publishing – including broadcast television, web, and mobile.
The VCMC program provides education and practical experience in media and communications, in a professional studio environment which fosters opportunities for individual restoration, healthy communities, and team work training.
“The San Francisco VA Medical Center and Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center strive to encourage and support Veterans in returning to full citizenship in the community. This worthy endeavor includes developing collaborative relationships with local organizations, such as the Veterans Community Media Center, who welcome Veterans with a variety of opportunities: media authoring and distribution, advocacy, vocational training, art exhibitions and performances - for Veterans to have a creative voice and exemplary presence in the SF community and beyond,” says Richard Burton, Creative Arts Therapist for the SF VA Medical Center.
There is nothing like this yet for Bay Area Veterans, says Dan Evenhouse, LCSW, Director of Community Based Services, VA Medical Center. Evenhouse is enthusiastic that the VCMC space is easily accessed on Market Street and welcoming.
The VCMC is raising funds to implement the VCMC Plan to provide media, life-skills, stress, and communication training to Veterans. At the conclusion of the training cycle the participants will have the tools and resources to maintain ties to community media, independent film makers, news outlets, and to work on media projects for and about Veterans. We are pleased to have Veterans for Peace as our fiscal sponsor.
The VCMC believes that a veteran-focused and veteran-operated media center is crucial to repairing the fabric of an America that goes to war often, yet supports the survivors of these wars too little. We have a remarkable opportunity to model peace-time community, civic participation, reconciliation, and reintegration and not neglect our public servants when the wars end.
A Veterans Community Media Center that is permanent, sustainable, and ongoing provides the central piece needed to let Veterans help other Veterans as only they can, while building practical skills that are in demand in the current job market.
The center also provides a central community space integrated with public media producers to promote dialogue about the unique challenges veterans face (and we all face) in the aftermath of invasions, military actions, and war and how public media participation can elevate veterans issues.
Community doesn’t just happen, it has to be supported and nurtured, says Latonia Dixon, Commander AL Post-315, Visual Artist.
Media Projects in Goal Driven Teams
Example: Veteran of the Month Video
The emphasis of the VCMC is technical and teaming skills with positive outcomes in job placement, communication, and civic integration for veterans.
Veterans will team on projects with Veterans, mentors, and non-veterans for training and dialogue between various communities. Project teams will be nurtured and counseled for greater understanding to emphasize the common goals and experiences of the team. Participants may include Veterans who are students, job seekers, community seekers, formerly incarcerated, formerly homeless, tech mentors, journalists, film makers, and university professionals.
“Community-building and a center for Veterans and non-veterans are essential for the VCMC founders and supporters,” says Ellison Horne, a VCMC co-founder.
Training will provide a guided path to success which includes workforce development, digital story-telling and performance arts, peer counseling, and the sharing of vital information on a range of veteran-centric film and television projects, support services, and employment opportunities in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The VCMC provides the advantage of its video and radio production capacity at its state-of-the-art broadcast facility. The center is in the former facilities of the San Francisco Public Access Television studios which is equipped with professional broadcast studio, sound proof booths for radio work, and large conference rooms for training and hands-on media equipment practice.
In addition, crews will be working in the field with cameras, microphones, lights, and talent in the rich exteriors and populations of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Media projects will provide Veterans with “soft” and “hard” skills which translate to civilian projects in media and technology. Veterans will produce five levels of digital media projects with increasing responsibilities and range of competencies. Portfolio outcomes range from a mobile application called “Veteran’s Stone,” a geo-located memory project about Veterans, to short documentary or news pieces for broadcast and media syndication.
The program includes the following:
• Media Skills Training - Technical, Journalism, Software, Planning
• Working in Teams Training
• Social Skills Update in a Media Environment
• Stress Training - Stress Escalation and Management
• Community Engagement Training
• Dialogue Training
• Research and Resource Training
• Creativity and Creative Processes in Media Training
• Storytelling Training – Storyboarding, Interviewing, Structure
• Project Management Training
• Media Literacy and Civics Training
In addition, the program will be modeling the community media production team process to promote successful healthy engagement.
“Veterans Community Media Center will define the next trend of insight and knowledge exchange between Veterans and the larger community in partnership. Together they will create an imaginative, innovative, and healthy impact environment. It is a shared place where technology and artisan, science and arts, discover the best of all worlds,” says Jim White, Veteran.
The Veterans Community Media Center has a substantial list of allies including:
- Richard Burton, MA, Creative Arts Therapist, VA Medical Center
- Moe Armstrong, Founder, Vet to Vet
- Paul Cox, Fmr. Board Chair, Swords to Plowshares
- Latonia Dixon, Commander AL Post 315, Visual Artist
- Dan Evenhouse, LCSW, Director of Community Based Services, VA Medical Center
- Nick Frost, Veteran Start-up Entrepreneur
- John Higgins, Dept of Media Studies, University of San Francisco
- Ross Mirkarimi, Sheriff, City and County of San Francisco
- Marcy Orosco, MSW, Program Director, Harbor House, Salvation Army
- Shabaka Henley, Actor/Playwright
- Danny Glover, Actor/Producer
- Dr. Ceasar Churchwell, Mentoring Men’s Movement (M3)
- Jacquie Taliaferro, Dir. Media, NAACP – San Francisco
- Ron Perez, Coordinator, Cover Project, SFSD
- Jon Funabiki, Executive Director, Renaissance Journalism, San Francisco State University