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We’re to be Heard: Arah’s Story

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“If there’s anybody that’s having a mental challenge, I hope that they’d be brave enough to speak out. I want to let them know that they are not the only one on the earth or in society or in a community that’s going through that.” — Arah Cooper

OC87 Recovery Diaries and Philadelphia public television station WHYY teamed up with groups from four area mental health providers to create original short films that detail journeys of recovery and transformation.

The first time filmmakers were in charge of shooting, editing and structuring the video. We are pleased to present the final of the four projects We’re to be Heard: Arah’s Story, by Arah Cooper and Robert Cleveland.

Next up is the OC87 Recovery Diaries behind the scenes interview with Arah Cooper and Robert Cleveland, the creators of the above video.

Arah and Robert are from Philadelphia’s Horizon House, where Robert is a peer support specialist. Horizon House advocates and provides comprehensive, community-based services in partnership with individuals with disabilities and their families.

Arah and Robert working on the edit, Arah opens up the tripod

Arah and Robert working on the edit, Arah opens up the tripod

“There’s somebody else that is going through the same thing . . . It’s just that we’re scattered out so far from each other.” — Arah Cooper

The team tries out the camera on the tripod

The team tries out the camera on the tripod

“I like Arah very much. . . She is a survivor. She is a survivor of trauma, and her story will inform, and hopefully inspire a lot of other people.” — Robert Cleveland

Robert helped Arah tell her story of recovery. A key idea in Arah’s transformation from victim to survivor is forgiveness. In addition to other support systems, Arah plays piano to help her cope with her past in trauma.

Screen shot of the video in progress as Arah plays piano

Screen shot of the video in progress as Arah plays piano

“Oh, I love piano playing, I think it’s exciting, I think it’s an instrument that sounds so pretty. . . It relaxes me, it makes me confident. It makes me see brighter days.” — Arah Cooper

Arah beaming with the camera, Recovery Diaries’ Production Intern Laura Farrell helps out the team

Arah beaming with the camera, Recovery Diaries’ Production Intern Laura Farrell
helps out the team

“I expected to come down here to really find out who I really am. And from doing that it showed me that I’m educated more than I thought. I underestimated myself.” — Arah Cooper

Please leave a comment and watch the other I AM A VOICE HERE videos.

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WHYY & OC87 Recovery Diaries

OC87 Recovery Diaries and public television station WHYY have collaborated to team up with first-time filmmakers to create a new series of videos that tell inspiring journeys of recovery. A special thanks to WHYY’s Craig Santoro, Director of Media Instruction, Lisa Wilk (2015), Sarah Milinski, and Steve Dixon, Media Instructors at the Dorrance H. Hamilton Public Media Commons at WHYY for their technical and storytelling support; and to WHYY behavioral health reporter Maiken Scott for giving her support and a workshop on interviewing techniques. OC87 co-director and documentary filmmaker Glenn Holsten is the project facilitator. Bud Clayman is executive producer of the project. Follow this link to watch all of the videos in this series >

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  • Jim

    I can identify with the woman and would like to make my own video.

    • OC87 Recovery Diaries

      Jim, thanks so much for your comment. Please send an email to submissions@oc87recoverydiaries.com with a little more information about yourself and your recovery journey. All the best to you.

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