Who We Are - Board

Jennie Hartsock — President
Payton James-Amberg — Treasurer
Jeff Davis — Secretary
Jessica McDonald
Hezekiah Franklin

Payton James-Amberg

My hero: Sal Khan, founder of Khan Academy

Me in one word: Plucky

Why I'm here: As a founder of the Muddy Creek Charter School and volunteer at all levels of K-12 education in Corvallis, I have met many wonderful kids and their parents who are suffering due to factors beyond their control: loss in the family, homelessness, mental health issues, substance abuse issues and learning disorders, to name a few.  Many of these kids struggle in school and come to think of themselves as worthless. But I see how strong they are for just making it through each day in difficult circumstances.  They are already resilient, they just need to see it for themselves.  Storytelling has been used as a teaching tool in probably every culture in the world.  It is a fundamental way that people relate to each other.  My hope is that digital storytelling workshops will be an engaging experience in which people will not only learn communication and technical skills, but also begin to appreciate their own fortitude and be inspired by others.  


Jeff Davis

My hero: changes often, but now it's Elizabeth Warren.

Me in one word: Unsinkable

Why I'm here: I can't tell if this is a big, existential question or a closer to the earth question, as in why am I part of the Resilience Project? So I'll go with the latter and say that everyone has a story to tell.  I think one of the most important components of a well-lived life is the capacity for self-reflection. This project provides some memorable opportunities for people to build stronger communities through a better understanding of who we are, and to find our voices through digital storytelling.


Jessica McDonald

My hero: My nephew, Rigdon

Me in one word: Interested

Why I'm here:I love people, and I want to know about them. The onion peels of one individual’s life unveil new perspectives on the world around us and bring meaning to the daily movements of everyday life – from great Aunt Vivian’s dog-eared recipes weaving tales of buttermilk biscuits and warm apple tartlets, to the grieving mother gently passing down stories of the child she lost – ‘remember how he wore rubber boots and a spiderman costume for a year straight?’ she says. I learn and grow because of the honest experiences of my friends, strangers, and family. And through all of these stories, we draw closest to those that reveal the simple power of resiliency. How we put one foot in front of the other, when our lives are at their hardest. These are the stories that teach me how to move through live, and give me hope that I, too, will also be able to put one foot in front of the other. The stories that I have encountered through The Resilience Project are silly, messy, joyful, and true – just as the best people are.


Jennie Hartsock

My hero: I’m not sure that I have one, but my two favorite people are my brother and my former partner.

Me in one word: Reflective.

Why I’m here: I believe the most meaningful stories work to form our identity. Digital storytelling is a fun way to practice what I’m learning in ACT by being mindful in the moment, maybe by finding the right angle to film loose cassette tape flying across the sidewalk or filming the wave of cream pouring into coffee in slow motion. By slowing down, I notice simple things that can — with some creative twists — mean a whole lot. Shot angles, metaphor, paradox, sound effects — so many pieces create the image (or what it appears to be), similar to the many stories we create about ourselves and others. What is true for me may not be the same for another person, or even for me at another point in time. In a sense, we collaboratively decide what is. Our words matter. Our stories are powerful. That is pretty neat. Onward!