Center for Digital Storytelling implemented through the Healing Hurt People Program

NNEDLearn 2012 Participant: Center For Nonviolence and Social Justice/Healing Hurt People

Developed by the Center for Digital Storytelling (CDS) and implemented through the Healing Hurt People Program (HHP). Partner organizations include the Center for Digital Storytelling and The Painted Bride Arts Center.

Population of focus

This innovation can be adapted to suit any population or cause. Healing Hurt People (HHP) used this innovation particularly for adolescent minorily individuals that have been victims of violence. HHP completed with young adolescent men and women of color ages 15-30, mainly African American and Latino


Due to trauma and the shame people injured by violence often experience many victims are plagued by the distress associated with their traumatic event and have difficulty expressing their experience The culture and structure of our society often further victimizes these individuals through the various systems (judicial, educational, medical etc.) with which they must interact within during their healing. Often, a part of this process is being expected or forced to retell their stories in a structure that is not their own. This innovation was implemented with HHP clients to help them create a voice and a forum to heal from their trauma. Digital Story Telling can be used as a creative tool to communicate with ones community about the impact violence has had on them. This innovation bears in mind the following beliefs:

  • Everyone has many powerful stories to tell
  • Listening is hard
  • People see, hear, and perceive the world in different ways
  • Creative activity is human activity
  • Technology is a powerful instrument of creativity
  • Sharing stories can lead to positive change


  • Through case reviews the HHP team identified the need to find creative and alternative forms of narration to help clients tell their stories and heal.
  • Drexel University School of Public Health provided the equipment and space to conduct the workshop.
  • Staff presented the idea to clients during weekly group meetings to familiarize them with the concept.
  • HHP and the Center for Digital Storytelling staff conducted a 4 day training (6 hrs/day).
  • HHP staff provided transportation for the participants.
  • Participants sat in a group setting and shared their experiences before creating their piece of work.
  • Participants created written drafts of their stories.
  • Participants recorded an audio version of their story.
  • Participants and staff found art, music, video, pictures and filmed scenes for their videos.
  • Participants edited videos using special video editing software with support from CDS staff.
  • Participants shared final story with other members in a group setting.
  • Every story was premiered in front of faculty, staff, family members, and friends.


Healing Hurt People

Center for Digital Storytelling
803 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley CA 94709
Phone: 510-548-2065