Embrace the Mess is an evolution of re:imagine/COMMUNITY, an in-school program founded in 2015 by re:imagine/ATL, in which students produce videos for corporate and nonprofit clients focused on a social issue.
When Program Director Julie Foster-Straw brought in filmmaker Paras Chaudhari, he noticed a gap in the program. Educators were not equipped with the tools needed to create quality content with their students, and students were tasked with telling other people’s stories before knowing how to express themselves.
With incubation sites at Frederick Douglass High School and Forrest Hill Academy, Paras brought in fellow creative Gavin Bernard and adjusted the program to one that focused on a shared teacher/student experience of learning tools to tell personal stories.
They began recording their classroom sessions with the intention of breaking down what worked and what didn’t. Embrace the Mess was then born as a training tool for other educators.