Stephan Berger '12 recounts the meaningful personal and professional experience.

On set: Adelphi students Carl Lycia and Sarah Aiosa film a video portrait of a student at the
Massachusetts Adoption Resources Exchange (MARE).

We may not always understand the impact that certain opportunities present in the moment, but then we look back and realize the significance they’ve had on our lives.

In February 2012, our Documentary Production class, led by Joan Stein Schimke, associate professor in the Department of Communications, traveled to Massachusetts to film a documentary about the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE). “One of the best ways for students to learn about making videos and films is to know what is expected of them in the real world,” Ms. Stein Schimke said. “Students are eager to find out what really happens in the production world, and I provide them with that information through hands-on experience.”

We all wanted to create a meaningful film project that allowed us to experience both the creative and technical aspects of filmmaking. However, once production began and we met these amazing children, it became much more than just a project for us all. We got a firsthand look into the lives of children in the foster care system. MARE is one of 35-40 adoption exchanges nationwide whose mission is to find permanent loving homes for foster children who are typically harder to place, such as older children or siblings. Showcasing the children’s personalities and allowing them to tell their stories directly to prospective adoptive parents through video portraits have been key in finding them happy and lasting homes.

Our objective going into this project was to hone our filming skills and make a powerful documentary. It was challenging at first, but once we all got over our initial hesitation and fears, the real magic began. At the end, we all felt confident in our ability to create accurate video portraits and also formed a special bond with each and every one of the children. We returned to Adelphi and, during the next few months, we created individual video portraits from our footage. Our documentary premiered in April 2012 at the IMAX Theater at Jordan’s Furniture in Natick.

The experience was extremely rewarding and humbling. Ms. Stein Schimke gave us something more valuable than just notes from a notebook. I learned so much more than just the technical aspects of filmmaking. I learned about life, about struggle and about myself. It put everything into perspective for me. We never know why certain things happen in our lives until afterward, when we can reflect and come away with more knowledge and compassion than we had before.

For further information, please contact:

Todd Wilson
Strategic Communications Director 
p – 516.237.8634
e –

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