Y.O.U. – Selalah and Tiaira Scott’s Story

For over 40 years, Evanston-based non-profit Y.O.U. has been providing quality programs and services to youth. Their vision is that all young people acquire the skills, self-confidence, and opportunity to participate fully, freely, and responsibly in the life of the community.

The Scott Family shares their story of how Y.O.U. has impacted their lives in this video:


About the Video
Producer, Director, Editor: Shuling Yong
Cinematographer: Jeff Perlman
Production Assistant, Additional Sound: Andrea Blake


Creative Fundraising and Audience Engagement

In these tough times of shrinking budgets and attention spans, we are forced to think of creative ways to raise funds and keep our audience engaged. Here’s how I found one unique avenue, right when I least expected.

Intuitive Technology

I had my virgin flight with Virgin America Airlines recently, and while I was impressed by the sleek plane design and cheeky safety announcements, I noticed something in front of me that I’d never seen on any other airline – a touch screen monitor. On it were instructions on how to use the touch screen navigation bar to watch movies on demand, free tv, and even order food.

touch screen menu on board virgin america airplane

Hungry? All I had to do was browse through their selection of snacks and beverages (options for the health-conscious included), add them to my cart, swipe my credit card through the built-in slot, and voila! The flight attendant brings my order to me in a matter of seconds. It felt just like shopping on Amazon.

Applied To Do Good

So I thought to myself… what if this same technology could be engaged to ask for donations? On board an aircraft, you have a captive audience, most with time to spare. How about making it such that a passenger could watch my documentary for free, and then at the end, be shown an easy way he/she could take action and support the cause on the spot?

Inspired, I dug around their menus a little deeper and stumbled upon an example that came quite close! Thanks to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson‘s participation in the Stand Up 2 Cancer movement, the entire fundraising show was available for viewing on board for free. And true enough, there was a line in the show description that said that if I wanted to donate to Stand Up 2 Cancer, I could simply navigate to the online store to do so.

Almost perfect! The down side was it was a little challenging to find my way from the entertainment section to the store section, and then to the section where a few non-profit organizations were listed and people could donate to their chosen cause. Because it’s so difficult to keep an audience member engaged, we always want to minimize the number of clicks a person has to make before completing a transaction. I’m looking forward to the day when the technology enables us to make the donation on the spot right at the end of the show/movie.

That said, big kudos to Virgin for making the ability to support great organizations on board your planes available. I haven’t seen the ability to do this anywhere else… yet! And this whole experience makes me wonder… what if we could implement similar technology in other places where people tend to sit for a period of time… like a movie theatre? How would that change the way we raise money and engage audiences? What other innovative methods have you seen in your community? Share your thoughts below!

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Center For Independent Futures – Patrick and Elise’s Stories

Remember the day you moved out of your parents home and into a space of your own? You know that liberating feeling of being able of living life independently, having the choice of what you want to do and when? We sometimes take our daily lives for granted. We hop on the train, we go to work, we hang out with friends, we do all the wonderful things life has for us. But for people with disabilities, the fastest growing minority in the country, doing some of these daily tasks require a little more support.

Meet Patrick and Elise, two participants at the Center For Independent Futures, and witness their transformations over the years. Their inspiring stories are just proof that with the right supports in place, and a strong, inclusive community, everybody can achieve the skills needed to live an independent life! Watch on.


To learn more, visit CIF’s official website at independentfutures.com

Produced/Directed by Shuling Yong
Cinematography by Jeff Perlman
Additional Camera by Shuling Yong
Editing by Philipp Batta

Y.O.U. – Tyler’s Story

Meet Tyler. Bright student. Strong role model. Aspiring journalist. One of the 15,000 lives that has been touched by Evanston non-profit organization Y.O.U. (Youth Organizations Umbrella, Inc.) over the last 40 years. She’s also one of the talented young men and women I had the privilege of meeting while on my journey to document the impact that Y.O.U. makes in our community.

With comprehensive after-school programming, assistance with homework, enriching summer activities and leadership development opportunities, Y.O.U. enables every youth the opportunity to realize their full potential, regardless of their economic backgrounds. I’d also like to highlight, especially, the organization’s one-on-one mentoring program. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of having a good mentor in life and am so glad the kids get paired with their own mentors through the program.

To learn more about Y.O.U., visit their official website at www.youevanston.org

About the video
Produced/Directed/Sound Recorded by Shuling Yong
Cinematography by Jeff Perlman