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About Bloorview

Awards: Power of Possibility

Melissa Joseph, Social Worker & Cathy McCann, Speech-Language Pathologist, Cleft Lip and Palate Team

Film Production Project: A film workshop for teens with facial differences offers youth an opportunity to improve their social and communication skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Have you ever watched a movie and thought to yourself, “They must have had so much fun making this!”

Ten teens from the cleft palate and craniofacial programs at Bloorview and SickKids participated in the film workshop developed by Melissa Joseph and Cathy McCann and proved this statement true.

Before the workshop, it had been difficult to get teens to attend programs and to work on therapy goals. Of course, like most teenagers, they weren’t keen on attending events with their parents either. Seeing this as a challenge, Melissa and Cathy brainstormed ideas with the Cleft Palate Team and came up with the idea of a film workshop.

They were inspired by the idea that filmmaking could be used as a vehicle for working on socialization and communication skills. While the teens focused on their project and learned about film as a vocation, they indirectly challenged feelings of shyness and anxiety in a safe place with coaching and support.

The film workshop took off after Melissa and Cathy found a filmmaker to participate in the project. They came up with three areas of filmmaking to focus on: documentary, green screen and clay animation. From there, Melissa and Cathy sent out flyers, made phone calls and asked individual therapists to invite their clients, all as ways to promote the program and recruit teens.

Ten teens signed up and despite an initial reluctance to be on camera, by the end of the workshop, everyone made an onscreen appearance.

The workshop was a huge success! Melissa and Cathy found that the teens took risks with their speech that they normally would have shied away from; they made lasting connections with each other; and were proud and excited about their accomplishments. 

The next workshop is planned for March 2008, so keep your eyes open for upcoming stars in our presence!

Congratulations Melissa and Cathy!

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