My Family, Our Stories is The Light Factory's yearly outreach project and exhibition of student work created by English as a Second Language students in High Schools all around the Charlotte area. The exhibition offers a glimpse into the lives of 75 youth who recently immigrated to Charlotte and the US. Countries of origin vary yearly, but include Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Democratic Republic of Congo, Russia, Vietnam, Jordan, El Salvador, Turkey, India and more.
Connecting native culture to new language, My Family, Our Stories works with English as a Second Language (ESL) students to provide them with the means of expressing their cultural identity through photography, film and narrative. The students receive 20 hours of instruction in basic photography or videography and 20 hours of instruction in narrative writing and speaking. As an after school component, they are given the opportunity to photograph or film their family, community and themselves. Students then write a narrative piece, in English, describing their family, culture and journey to the United States.
The exhibition presentation at The Light Factory consists of student photography and graphic representations of the students’ written work in their own handwriting. At the exhibition's opening reception, selected students get the opportunity to present their narrative, speaking in English in front of friends, family and members of their new community.
The Light Factory created the My Family, Our Stories program in the 1990s. Since then, it has helped thousands of students learn the English language and express their emotions using the power of photography.
Interested in bringing My Family, Our Stories to your school?
Click here for more information on how to work with The Light Factory.
My Family, Our Stories would not be possible without the support of the John Taylor Memorial Education Fund.
Click here to learn how the Taylor family turned loss into learning.