Princeton Childhood Development Institute

Videos Bring Human Stories to Light

Let’s face it: everyone is different. For most of my childhood, I pretended not to be different. It didn’t really work out though. No matter how hard I tried, I never really fit in. It may be a truism to say that everyone wants to be normal, not different. But everyone is different, not normal. Maybe if we embraced and accepted our differences, no one would have to pretend to be normal. Fortunately, there are people and organizations that are working to make the world more accepting of differences.

In the last year I have worked on a few projects for an organization that is working to make a society that is more equitable and inclusive for people living with autism. The Princeton Child Development Institute’s (PCDI) mission is to provide treatment, education, and mentoring in tandem with comprehensive intervention models to better support the needs of people with autism. Founded in 1970, PCDI now has programs that include early intervention, a preschool, a K-12 school, and adult life skills program, group homes, and supervised apartments. 

PCDI reached out to me to produce some videos to aid their fundraising efforts. Video storytelling often has a unique ability to tell intimate stories of an organization through the images and voices of those involved. 

For these projects, I spent several days on-site at PCDI’s various locations. The first video featured family members and residents of one of PCDI’s group homes. PCDI showed the video at their annual fundraising event, Spring Sensations, and reported back that it was incredibly well-received. Another video helped promote the “Meadows Miler,” a series of races that raise funds for the private, non-profit organization. That video featured Erik, a student at PCDI, and a member of the PCDI Pacers, the school’s running club. The final video was a thank you video to all those who participated in and supported the 2022 Meadows Miler.

Working with clients like PCDI is rewarding for many reasons. As a visual storyteller, it’s great to work with a client who can come up with a great idea, and then let the participants drive the narrative. It’s also heartwarming to work with an organization and its people who are so passionate about their mission. 

At the annual event this year, PCDI announced that it would be soon opening another residential facility. I wish them lots of luck in these new endeavors and look forward to continuing to help tell their stories. 

A big thanks to Joe Ronca for both production assistance on the Spring Sensations video and his fantastic shots filming the Meadows Miler with me.