I had been in New York City for less than three months when I first met Kristen Eglinton. Kristen is the Executive Director and one of the Co-founders of Footage Foundation, an international non-profit that works to amplify the voices of underserved communities. (Not to mention her work as a textbook author)! At the time, I was looking for a community in New York- something that Kristen and Footage Foundation has provided for so many young women, including myself.
Upon recieving a State Department Grant, Kristen worked with her colleagues to create the project Girl-Talk-Girl. Participants of Girl-Talk-Girl used mobile phones to create digital stories about gender based violence they have faced in their lives. From Saint Petersburg to New York City, there were recurring themes, and the participants bonded over the similarities their lives shared despite geographic distance.
The work Kristen does reaches far beyond helping others tell their stories, rather, it focuses on growing them and empowering them. Because strong vinas empower other vinas, Footage Foundation was able to get an extension on their grant which allowed them to create a toolkit and train other women to become facilitators of the program. Kristen and her colleagues worked tirelessly to train young women to help others create and tell their stories, creating a chain reaction of empathy and empowerment.
In the last few months of 2016, Kristen worked to bring knowledge to the refugee crisis by launching the #AreYouBraveEnough campaign which focuses on the impact personal stories can have on others. This resulted in them being one of the 10 finalists in the annual GivNYC event hosted by Givkwik. As we move into 2017, Kristen continue to fight for all of those around her, and most recently represented Footage Foundation in the Women’s March on Washington.
Kristen and her work with Footage Foundation have been an inspiration to me and many of the people who surround her. She is a source of light in dark times as she continues to work to amplify voices around New York City, the Unites States, and the world.