Last week, Dodge College hosted Community Voices 2015. These documentaries to create change are part of a program that teaches students ways to tell creative, non-fiction stories about social issues in the Orange County area and its surrounding communities. Under the guidance of documentary professor Sally Rubin, the students are paired up with local non-profit organizations to create a documentary pertaining to them. In addition to that, they are also tasked with creating a short PSA, to help raise awareness for their particular issue. This was the program’s 11th semester, and has so far produced over 50 documentaries on various topics.

This year, the topics of the films ranged from a member of the native Makah community trying to overcome his demons from the past, a young woman who suffers from Chronic Recurrent Multifocal Osteomyelitis and how she finds healing in her art, a couple who help traumatized and dying animals in the mountains, and a genderqueer youth who is exploring his identity.

What was most striking was that while each of the films was based around a very broad topic, they all focused on the individuals who were directly affected by it. It really brought these issues closer to home, by putting a face to it. They made for truly unforgettable experiences.

The four films were received quite well, with representatives from each non-profit organization on hand to see them. After seeing Community Voices the last few years, I was surprised to see new organizations this year, showing that there is no shortage of social issues in the Orange County area. Thanks to programs like Community Voices, the public is made aware of these places they can go if the issues pertain to them.

The Community Voices initiative is made possible through the generous support of The Dhont Family Foundation.