Non-Profit Spotlight: Crown and Shield

A good story can influence your decisions, change your mindset, and shape your future. This intense power of storytelling sits at the core of The Crown and Shield Foundation. Founded by Whitney Crowninshield Jordan, The Crown and Shield Foundation is a nonprofit that seeks to utilize the power of storytelling to inspire the youth of New Orleans and beyond. They believe that the stories children hear today have a hand in shaping who they become tomorrow, and this is the motivation behind everything they do. 

The Crown and Shield Foundation not only utilizes storytelling to provide a positive impact on students in New Orleans and beyond, but they also work to ensure that these children can be involved in the storytelling process as well. Their programs by children, for children, are hosted by a student and a co-host. The programs are edited into four episodes and then released on YouTube over the course of a month. As a result, these students have the opportunity to share a story that is personal and meaningful to them. To help the process, different age groups adhere to different themes; elementary school students discuss creativity and imagination, middle school students discuss challenges and teamwork, and high school students discuss impact and growth. Then, the students work with their co-host to tell a story through a series of interviews.

The inclusion of a co-host is essential, as these co-hosts have the opportunity to share stories centered around their professions. By working with students, these professionals can help young people to learn through exposure. Crown and Shield works hard to diversify the person who occupies the co-host chair so that the student hosts and online viewers can all get introduced to a wide range of professions, personalities, and perspectives. The final part of the experience consists of a conversation with the student host’s class. Students break into small groups to go through conversation prompts, discuss why sharing stories is impactful, and then edit the footage from the Kid Cams into the final episode of the series. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the organization has suspended the last part of the program, but they look forward to reinstating it once it is safe to do so. 

Media plays a massive role in a child’s development, which is why Crown and Shield also looks to create content by professionals for children. Media is often referred to as a “super peer” because children can consume upward of 11 hours of content per day. By creating age-appropriate, exciting content for children, Crown and Shield aims to inspire youth to live a meaningful life without relying on likes for validation. Crown and Shield relies on the generosity of donors to continue their mission, which can come in the form of monetary donations or the donation of specific products. Each product listed has a specific purpose throughout the program, so you can know exactly how your donation helps students on their storytelling journey. With the help of donors, Crown and Shield can continue to impact children through powerful stories, both in New Orleans and beyond.