Creating Our Own Lens (COOL)

The Creating Our Own Lens (COOL) Program was designed as a collaborative initiative to provide access to hands-on career training in a vital industry (film production) to youth interns while supporting their personal well-being. We use a trauma-informed, healing prescriptive workforce development model that combines technical skills and job training with emotional wellness, healing and stress management. The program is designed to build educational and career momentum and increase youths' ability to manage their needs. COOL's goal is to build educational momentum and provide connections to career opportunities among African American youth disconnected from school and work, while helping participants manage the social and emotional needs that impact their ability to overcome personal obstacles and maintain a well-paying job. COOL is funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and through a partnership with the New Orleans Video Access Center, it provides training and educational opportunities in the field of visual media production. 




The interns participated in thirteen local events to provide videography services, take photographs, or work as a production assistant.



The interns completed eleven post-production/editing opportunities for clients outside of the organization


G'kar Jackson and Ikeem George are the two COOL interns working at IWES. Since August 2015, G'kar and Ikeem's work experience has been spent between the two community-based organizations that have given them learning opportunities for practical skills that can be applied to a wide range of professional settings. Whether working on the set of IWES" feature film Woke as production assistants, documenting political candidate forums, creating promotional videos for youth-led radio programming, or one of countless other projects, our interns have played a critical roles in supporting the work of local organizations in pursuit of social justice. The internship program also offers exposure to numerous professional development, skill-building and networking opportunities, such as regular meetings with a clinical psychologist, access to various workshops offered at NOVAC, set visits of local film productions and media literacy training.


G'kar Jackson

Prior to joining IWES, G'kar was a counselor with the 4-H organization throughout high school, where he served his community by helping hundreds of kids for two years. During high school he completed electrician certifications at Delgado Community College and attended the Washington Focus of 2012 youth conference in Washington D.C. From childhood, he as been intrigued by the art of animation and cartoons, and through this internship, he hopes to help youth in his community through his skills n film production and animation.


Ikeem George

Ikeem grew up in New Orleans and graduated from G.W. Carver high school. Two years after high school Ikeem became a student at the Youth Empowerment Project's Work and Learn Program, during which he gained skills in bike repair, coding, and digital design. After graduation from Work and Learn, he was hired as an assistant bike mechanic and worked there over a year before coming a COOL inter. His interests are photography, film production, editing, and sport.


To get in contact with COOL, please email Shelbi Gatlin.