The high school students were excited, albeit a bit nervous, as they proceeded to Nathan’s improvised
recording studio in a classroom at the School Without Walls. For LearnServe, an organization that empowers
young people from across the DC Metro area to channel their frustrations into social innovation, this was a
big moment as well: the first time we had captured, on camera, the essence of the LearnServe Fellows
Program and the energy and vision of our student social entrepreneurs. Enthusiastically they introduced to
Nathan, and the public, their plans to collect crayons from family-style restaurants to donate to schools and
daycare centers in need of art supplies; to write cards for HIV/AIDS patients without close family members;
to launch school-based recycling and mentorship programs.
Since that first short film – still on our website, and required viewing for all applicants to the program –
Nathan has become our go-to videographer. He has filmed and edited videos for LearnServe over the past
seven years, which we now use for recruitment, public relations, community outreach, and fundraising.
Nathan understands and, more importantly, believes in the power of young people to create change. His
videos showcase these students’ voices, and the role that LearnServe plays in helping these students discover
their voices and their power. From storyboarding to filming to editing, Nathan always keeps the LearnServe
mission and our students’ voices front and center.
Nathan is also a great collaborator. He has interviewed several of our students on his Arlington Independent
Media show “Youth Can Change the World,” and has introduced us to community partners such as the
Arlington-based Teens Dream video competition, offering new platforms for students to share their work.
And Nathan is wonderful to work with. He can explain things in a way that people can easily understand,
regardless of their experience with videography. (I was especially grateful for that during the editing of his
first film for LearnServe; he walked me through the editing process so that I could understand both the
constraints and opportunities as we designed wove his interviews into a meaningful story.) Nathan invites
feedback, responds enthusiastically, and works with our team to hone our message so that we wind up with
powerful videos to share with our constituents.