An Update from the 2016 Dare to Dream Fund Recipient

Ellie MacGregor was the 2016 Gail Burns-Smirth “Dare to Dream” Fund Award Recipient. As part of this scholarship, recipients provide an update to The Alliance detailing how the funds were used. We are happy to share the following excerpts from her update on her project below:

It’s hard to believe that over six months ago I stood in front of a room filled with incredible people who work each and every day to expand awareness of sexual violence, advocate for legislative change, and enhance the prevention of sexual violence in our small, shared state of Connecticut. I was humbled back then to receive the Gail Burns-Smith Dare to Dream Award and I am humbled today to have completed the project and share it with you all.

My original project proposal was to create a public, video campaign addressing the issue of sexual violence and promoting local advocacy for those who have been affected. I am happy to say that the final product has met these expectations. After meeting with the small team from Weston High School, we came to an agreement to interview your average-day-Joe about statistics and opinions surrounding the issue of sexual violence.

Questions asked revolved around the topic of empowerment and education—with an additional angle exposing ignorance and the lack of knowledge about sexual violence. We provided all volunteers with consent forms to sign, detailing the use of the video for the website and social media pages of my organization, The Center for Sexual Assault Crisis Counseling and Education. If the participants wanted to remain anonymous in their clips, they were given the option.

Julia Asphar, a senior from Weston High School, filmed and manned the camera while I asked questions to the participants. Her enthusiasm for creating this video campaign was inspiring. After a few days of filming and reviewing the footage, Julia worked vigorously on the film editing as well as the creation and implementation of additional effects. I was able to review the film on two separate occasions as it came together and I believe we ultimately created the most effective and well-organized product possible.

In looking back on my initial application for the Dare to Dream Fund, I stated that my intention for the final product was for it to be similar to a call-to-action. I never wanted the campaign to instill fear, but rather to instill hope that we will one day live in a world without sexual violence because prevention is possible. I truly believe that this final product has fulfilled this intention and I hope all who see it feel the same.


The Alliance is now accepting applications for the 2017 Gail Burns-Smith “Dare to Dream” Fund. Click here to learn more.

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