Video Contest - Family Stories about Emergencies/Disasters

Collage of photos showing emergenicies or disasters


Have you and your child experienced an emergency or disaster?  Did your child’s health condition affect you or your child’s ability to manage or cope with the emergency or disaster? 

As a national nonprofit organization promoting quality health care for all children and youth, particularly those with special health care needs or disabilities, Family Voices knows that often the most helpful information and support comes from other families.

Family Voices is excited to announce a video contest!  We want others to learn from you.  Send us your home-made video in which you share your experiences about dealing with emergencies or disasters.  Accepted videos will earn $100!

DEADLINE is May 31, 2016!




Frequently Asked Questions:



Who is Family Voices?

Family Voices is a national nonprofit family-run organization, helping families of children/youth with special health care needs or disabilities (CYSHCN) since 1991, regardless of diagnosis.  We support a network of family leader organizations in every state that provide one-to-one assistance and training to help families obtain the best health care for their child.  We help families navigate the maze of services and promote families as partners in health care.

What is the purpose of this contest?

Preparing for disasters and emergencies is important for everyone, but even more critical for families of children/youth with special health care needs or disabilities.  Families can learn from the experiences of other families, and video-clips of "real family" stories can show other parents how a disaster or emergency may affect a family.  Our hope is that more families of CYSHCN will take steps to prepare for emergencies and disasters after learning from your experiences.  See "Video Content" section below to learn more about what we are seeking.

 How is this project funded?

The project is funded by the Centers for Disease Control. Family Voices is partnering with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on this effort.

How will the video-clips be used?

These video-clips will be posted on the Family Voices website (
), along with materials to help families learn about and prepare for emergencies and disasters.  The videos will also be posted on our YouTube channel ( and the AAP websites ( and



Who can enter this contest?

Any family member/caretaker of a child/youth with a CYSHCN can submit a video-clip.

Can more than one video be submitted?

Yes, we welcome all videos.

What is the prize?

Family Voices will pay $100 prize for an accepted video-clip.  Up to ten prizes will be awarded. 

How are the winners chosen?

A team of Family Voices family leaders will view each submitted video.  The team will consider the authenticity of the video, the clarity of the video, and the impact of your message to pick the videos to be posted.

When is the submission period?

Videos will be accepted through May 31, 2016.

How do I submit the video?

Videos should be emailed to  If the video is too big to send by email, you may use a free video sharing service such as   You must include your name, email and/or phone number with your submission.

Will I receive acknowledgement on my video?

Yes, Family Voices will acknowledge receipt of your video.  If you video is selected, you will be contacted.

When will finalists be chosen?

Winners will be announced by June 27, 2016.



Who can/should be in the video-clip?

A parent, other family member, youth with special health care needs/disabilities or caretaker of a child or youth with special health care needs/disabilities should narrate the video.  The child or youth with special health care needs/disabilities should be shown in the video, either by picture, or appearing in the video.

What should be talked about in the video-clip?

This video is about your story - your family's experience/s during and after an emergency or disaster, how this affected your family, specifically your child/youth.  You may want to state what you learned or advice that you would give another family.  Personal information, including full names of providers, should not be used.

Are there specific topics that should be discussed?

We want your authentic story.  Some questions to help you think about your story include:

  • Were you able to prepare for the disaster/emergency? If so, how?
  • How was your child affected by the disaster/emergency?
  • Did you talk with your child's doctor about preparing or coping with the disaster or emergency?
  • Were you able to help your child understand what was happening?
  • Was the situation complicated by specific needs of your child, such as use of a wheelchair, medical devices, medications?
  • If you had to take shelter, did that cause problems for your family?
  • What was helpful to you and your child during the emergency/disaster?
  • Did your child/youth have problems after the emergency/disaster?
  • What did you learn from your experience/s?
  • What would have helped you or other families?

What tips help make a good video?

  • Plan what you will talk about in the video. It might be good to write up a script or have your main points on index cards.
  • Be as clear and concise as you can; don't talk too fast. We want people to understand your story and hear your message.
  • Play your video for a family member or friend to get feedback.
  • A sample of a "family story" video is available from the Family Voice State Affiliate Organization in New Jersey, Statewide Parent Advocacy Network. While this video is not about an emergency or disaster, it does show a mom talking about her child. You can watch this video at
  • Another example of a family story can be viewed at In this video a mom tells her story with index cards and photos.

Are there examples of family stories about emergencies or disasters?

Yes, while we don't have any "video stories" there are stories you can read from families of children/youth with special health care needs that Family Voices developed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These can be accessed at:



How long should a video be?

Videos should be 1 ½ to 3 minutes in length.

Is there a file size limit?

Videos should be under 50 mb.

Which file formats will be accepted?

Videos should be avi, .mpg. .mpeg, .mp4, .wmv, .mov, .swf, or YouTube videos..

Can the videos have graphic overlay?

Yes, if you think this helps your story. This might include text and subtitles, for example. If your video is accepted, we will add a graphic overlay noting our logo and project name, along with the title of your video.

What equipment do I need?

You can use any equipment that you have. You can use a mobile phone, iPod, flip camera, or video camera to make your video.  You may want to edit your video. iMovie comes free on all Macs and is very easy to use. If you have a PC, check to see if it has Windows Movie Maker, or download it free online. However, you don't need to do this.  If your video is selected and needs minor editing, Family Voices can do this.



Contact Melissa Vickers at