When Connections Adapt

SNAP’s Power of Connection and stories of partnerships

September 23, 2021 by Annie

Trust. Comfort. Equal opportunity. These are the words that Amy, Sarah, and other neighbors used to describe the Spokane Neighborhood Action Partnership (SNAP) during the 2020 Power of Connection campaign. With over 50 years of stepping up to strengthen our community, SNAP’s footprints leave a roadmap of regional stories and support systems. With over 30 programs, there has never been a shortage of potential stories – the question has annually been how best to approach the unique opportunities and challenges of a given year. In 2020, everyone knows there was no shortage of challenges, either.

Reflecting on the past five years of Rogue Heart’s partnership with SNAP reveals a storytelling spectrum, from interactive documentary events (A Walk Through Poverty in 2016), years of long-form stories for fundraising events, to now shorter online featurettes and digital ads in response to the pandemic’s pause on live events – it continues to be a journey. At Rogue Heart, we continue to advocate for storytelling with dignity and a sense of celebrating the human spirit – no matter the length of the video, no matter the client.

(Above, the first :30 ad produced for SNAP as a last-minute need. Luckily, Diana came through with a voiceover for us, and we had years of footage to draw from to create the edit).

To me, the Power of Connection is that shared feeling, emotion, or place while holding and honoring people’s stance in their stories. Hearing someone’s story is a gift that, gratefully captured through digital film, can be shared with others to fuel more empathy and connection. After hearing the 2020 stories from Sarah, Amy, and the Spokane Street Medicine Team, I feel more connected to Spokane and my work as a creative collaborator with #TeamRogueHeart and their community partners.

   Partnering through the Pandemic

The first story Rogue Heart was invited to document in 2020 was with Spokane Street Medicine, intended to approach unsheltered people to provide medical treatment and resources, a rapid response to an immediate need with the pandemic. Not gonna lie, when I first watched this video I smiled when I heard the name “Spokane Street Medicine,” as it brought to mind a sense of response, respect, and resourcefulness.  They knew they needed to meet people where they were.

SNAP’s power of connection lifted up partnerships in an innovative way to make fast work of meeting needs – modeling once again that we need not face challenges alone.

   Being There For You

“I’ve walked that path, and it gives them hope to walk to the other side of that path. The power of connection, to me, is building a bridge to the people that I’m working with. Our clients need everyone to show up for them. It’s going to take the whole community to make the changes.”  – Amy

Amy and her fellow SNAP community health workers have knocked down barriers to transportation, healthcare, food, and other necessities. They also distributed over 1000 food boxes to affordable housing tenants thanks to a partnership with 2nd Harvest.  Amy’s powerful story is one of experiencing SNAP’s impact as an essential worker, and previously as a recipient of support services. We hope you’ll give it a listen.

   Rising to the Occasion 

“It will give other people in my situation hope and strength to keep moving forward and that nothing is impossible.” – Sarah

Sarah stood in her power to speak even while in crisis. Her story of self-determination and purpose is moving, and her willingness to give back to SNAP through sharing her story along with encouraging other women in crisis to ask for the help they need is fiercely giving. Tenderness and respect encircled the moments when she speaks to the camera, sits with Arielle, and plays with her son. It was our honor to help share her voice.

We are indebted to people and partners like Sarah, Amy, Arielle, WSU Elson S Floyd College of Medicine, Second Harvest and the more than 170 other community partners of SNAP that demonstrate how great things can happen through collaborative response to crisis.  As Arielle mentioned in Sarah’s story about the power of connection, “… it is about community. You don’t walk alone. We do depend on one another.”

Remember your own power of connection and that neighbors like SNAP are always by your side. 2021 has shaped up to demand no less from SNAP, as they continue to adapt to serve our community’s most vulnerable. You can help SNAP continue to respond to the needs of Spokane by joining us in donating to their 2021 fundraising campaign here: 🧡 SNAP Power of Connection Fundraiser

Annie Szotkowski

Written By Annie

Annie Szotkowski is a creative partner with results-driven experience in writing, journalism, public relations, facilitation, and content strategy for nonprofits, small businesses, and government agencies. Annie received her undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University and is pursuing her Masters from Texas Woman’s University in multicultural women’s and gender studies. She values community, collaboration, ethical storytelling, and connecting with people online and outdoors.

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