A new documentary that hopes to save lives

A team of talented friends, colleagues and I have begun to film a documentary on a dynamic, beautiful and articulate young woman named Erica Murray, who is living with leukemia.

The documentary aims to bring awareness and education to the need for bone marrow stem cell donations for leukemia patients, as well as highlight the difficulties of a mixed-race individual to find a perfect match. Through Erica’s story, we hope to compel people, especially of mixed race and minorities, to go out and register to donate.

The more people who register to donate their bone marrow stem cells, the better the chances for all patients in similar conditions to Erica to receive the match they need to save their life!

If we bring understanding through one person struggling with leukemia, we can bring awareness and understanding for the whole cause.

Registering to donate is as easy as a cheek swab!  And once you’re called in, it’s an easy, safe process to donate via blood (Peripheral Blood Stem Cell donation) or via a bone marrow procedure (feels like a kick in the butt). Whichever procedure you and the clinic choose, that time you take to donate can save a life!

For information and to register to donate, visit the website of any of these non-profits:

Be The Match

Asian American Donor Program (Free donor drives and home kit for minorities!)

DKMS Americas

Documentary shines light on local volunteerism

The Mountain View VOICE writes about our video on volunteerism:

Documentary shines light on local volunteerism
by Susan Hong

A video produced by KMVT, Mountain View’s community television station, has won the 2007 Best Professional Documentary for Public Awareness award from the Alliance of Community Media.

The 30-minute video, “If We Don’t Care Now,” addresses the need for volunteerism on social issues like the environment, homelessness and education. It profiles a local nonprofit organization, Hands On Bay Area, which helps individuals volunteer to make positive social changes.

In 2005, Hands On Bay Area approached KMVT producers Naomi Ture and Brian Szabo with the idea of making a video about volunteers. The producers jumped at the chance.

“I’ve been involved in a lot of volunteer work personally in the past, and being able to really see in depth what different nonprofits are doing in the Bay Area to help effect change is very inspiring and very exciting to see,” Ture said.

The team found volunteers who planted seedlings to revitalize the Bay, painted murals in schools and taught English to immigrants. Other volunteers talked with elderly residents in assisted living centers or served food to the poor. The video provides snapshots of these individuals.

The filmmakers delved beneath the surface and asked the local volunteers how they felt about the work they were doing. All said they personally benefited from volunteer work.

“Our goal is to capture an organization’s heart and soul on video, and in a style and manner that you typically see only from high-end production houses,” said Szabo, who is executive director of KMVT.

According to Hands On Bay Area, in 2005 the group arranged for 10,000 volunteers to help with 120 projects giving 48,000 service hours.

“I’ve seen the power of volunteerism where the people who begin to get engaged start to feel a little more powerful and a little less powerless. They start to recognize that they can change and they can play a role in that change,” said Jim Pitofsky, the group’s executive director.

“They get a better appreciation of the challenges and are less judgmental about those who are going through hard times,” he added.

In the video, Patrice Tardif, the group’s community program director, attests to the positive feedback of volunteering. “You should walk away feeling great, like you’ve just been zapped with a surge of energy,” she said. “That’s the great thing about Hands On, because we are able to do that for both our volunteers and our clients.”

For more information on “If We Don’t Care Now,” or on KMVT, visit the station’s Web site at www.kmvt15.org.

Those interested in volunteering can visit Hands On Bay Area’s Web site, www.handsonbayarea.org, choose from nearly 100 different ongoing projects, and sign up to volunteer. The group can also be reached at (408) 956-1448.

Video Program puts a Focus on Learning

The Times Union in Albany, NY writes about the stop-motion animation class that I teach for kids at the Ark’s after-school program – one of my favorite places in Troy, filled with idealistic people creating realistic programs that bring creativity and achievement for the students.

The Troy Record and RPI Online News also wrote articles.


The Exploratorium launches its Science of Music website!

Explore the science of music, through these online exhibits, movies and questions.  Along the way, you can compose, mix, dance, drum, experiment, and above all…listen.  Check out Step Re-Mix, the interactive that I developed and prototyped to engage users in a musical composition using beats and the body.

Educational Media to Prepare Children for Minor Surgical Procedures

The Brown University Department of Education has added my thesis to their list of 14 sample honors theses!  In 2001, I believe it was the first time that a student in their department proposed  a combined multimedia and written thesis, rather than the standard written thesis.  I worked with the Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, RI, to produce, then give written analysis of, a web-based video and multimedia program for children about to undergo minor surgical procedures.  This was a continuation of an animated and interactive software program that a team and I had developed and installed a year before, for the same purpose of alleviating anxiety in children visiting the hospital.  See abstract below.

Designing Effective Educational Media to Prepare Children for Minor Surgical Procedures: A Close Look at a Supplemental Web-based Program Created for the Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

By: Naomi Ture ’01

The surgical experience is often associated with negative consequences such as anxiety, stress, behavioral problems and slow and painful recovery. For children, much of this is due to misconceptions, a lack of familiarity, poor coping methods and the loss of control. Research studies and theories have shown significant value in preparing patients for potentially traumatic experiences. Children who are anticipating surgery need accurate, developmentally appropriate, and individualized information communicated to them. Surgical preparation programs can help children to find coping mechanisms, increase confidence, promote self-expression, gain an understanding of what they are about to encounter and build trust in their health care providers.

Computer technology has unique advantages that could be applied to pre- operative preparation for children. A well-designed program can effectively employ the multimedia and interactive aspects of technology to entice children to engage in an environment where they can explore at their own will and pace. With computers becoming increasingly common in homes and schools, current and future generations of children are becoming expert users. Thus, children can gain knowledge and understanding without extra adult supervision. Furthermore, the Internet can provide the opportunity for a pre-operative program to be accessible to larger audiences in their free time.

In response to a need for an alternative means of preparation at the Hasbro Children’s Hospital, I designed a hospital-specific interactive multimedia Internet program for children about to undergo minor surgery. I realized that an effective program would incorporate a solid research base rather than broad understandings. I based my design on criteria from the psychosocial perspective concerning effective preoperative preparation methods and guidelines for effectual educational technology. Though limitations such as Internet speed and some design flaws exist, I believe that my program, based on extensive research will be an effective component of the Hasbro Preparation Program.