Staff Stories: Amber Navarrete

Overlay Image for Staff Stories: Amber Navarrete

Amber is a cool, outgoing lady who loves a good Scorsese movie. She’s also a fantastic video editor at VOLT Studios. But more importantly, she’s a caring soul who deserves credit for helping people.

A Little Background… 

Amber and her husband, Josh, found out about ten weeks into their pregnancy that their newest addition would have Down syndrome. Naturally, Amber’s first instinct was to do research on the condition. But she didn’t start with traditional sources of information.

“I went straight to YouTube. I didn’t want to just read about Down syndrome — I’m a very visual person and I wanted to see it and really understand what it was about.”

In the months and years that followed, Amber and Josh experienced the unique joys and hardships found in many families touched by Down syndrome. They also joined the MN North Metro Down Syndrome Parent Group, where they were embraced with a whole new level of support.

“When you meet another family with a child with Down Syndrome, it’s like you grew up together. We’ve all spent so many times in hospitals and going through different circumstances. It’s just a different type of living, so when you meet somebody else in the same situation, it’s like seeing an old friend.”

Partnering with Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota (DSAMN)

DSAMN holds the annual Step Up for Down Syndrome, which is their biggest fundraising event of the year. Normally, they have a huge party, but COVID threw a wrench into that plan.

Due to safety protocol, Step Up had to be online for the 2020 gathering. To help make the event enjoyable and engaging, DSAMN decided to create a compelling video series. Enter Amber.

Through a mutual acquaintance, DSAMN asked Amber if she’d be interested in leading the video campaign. Amber jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for a project with a deep meaning to her.

The Down Syndrome Video Project

DSAMN’s goal was to show families experiencing Down syndrome at various stages. The focus of the videos included:

  • Pre-Diagnosis (during pregnancy)
  • Teenage years
  • Adulthood
  • Who We Are at the Down Syndrome Association of MN 

Highlighting people with Down syndrome at different ages ensured the videos would cover a good cross-section of life with the condition. Beyond this starting point, the organization gave Amber the freedom to shape the videos in her own vision.

“They let me do what I wanted. I inserted myself into the project and made something that I would have loved to see when I found out my child had Down syndrome.”

With the help of Creative Director Tom Jacobsen, Motion Graphics Artist Kurtis Benson, and Producer Jennie Ekstrand, along with gracious supporters like Dave Keepper (a copywriter who donated his time to assist Amber through the project) and Black Label (who donated all of the music), Amber created a gripping, relatable series. A collection of videos that she would have loved to see when she was doing research on YouTube years ago.

Usually, in the video production world, everything has to be short and to the point. But this project let her make segments that were long and thorough because that’s what the audience needed. 

“Coming from a world of 60-second videos, it was great to dive deeper and do more impactful work.”

Well done, Amber. Scorsese would be proud, and so are we! VOLT Studios is lucky to have you on our team.