We invite you to share your story and include it in our collection as a publicly available community resource. We encourage stories on anything and everything related to the city of Chester, including but not limited to 

  • Stories that celebrate Chester, its place and its people.
  • Stories that tell us about Chester’s past and present from the point-of-view of residents – your memories and recollections of people, places and events.
  • Stories based on family, professional or personal familiarity, topics of importance to Chester, including, among other things, issues of social justice, the environment, education, community health, housing and homeownership, senior living, and the experiences of young people.


For too long the story of Chester has been told by outsiders rather than the people who know Chester best – those who live, work and play here. Our plan is to collect and make available local stories to use in teaching and learning and community activism, address the gaps in knowledge about our city, and document the present day. Be part of this movement!


Sharing your story is easy. Digital stories should be only 5-7 minutes long, so you should think of your digital story as very focused. 

Here are some steps to help make sure your story expresses your point of view and captures and holds the attention of listeners. 

Step 1) Develop your Story Idea

The first step in making a digital story is figuring out the main ideas you’d like to tell. 

What is and is not a story? 

  • A story is a narrative of events drawn from your personal experience. 
  • A story can be fashioned from a memory, a reflection, a moment in time, and more. 
  • A story typically has a beginning, middle, and end, as well as characters and atmosphere. 
  • A story is not a lecture, an argument, or a debate.

Some things you might consider: What impact might your story have on other people? What do you hope your audience will learn or feel after hearing your story? 

Need to see some examples? Have a listen to Chester digital stories already posted at https://chestermade.org/stories-make-chester/ 

Step 2) Plan out your Story

Stories are powerful when they are honest and real. While you don’t want your story to feel rehearsed, you should still plan what you want to say and how you would like to say it. This can be as simple as sketching out your story plan on a single sheet of paper.

Stories with impact have an “attention getter” early on that draws people in. Maybe this is a memory or emotion that reveals the storyteller’s experience to listeners.

A storyteller might choose to link their personal experience to something that may be shared by a community – something familiar, a place in the city, a particular time, or a specific issue.  

Remember that you own your story. While it is important for the story to be honest, it is also important to share your experience in a way that feels comfortable for you.

Need some help on developing a story idea? Check out “Kinds of Stories” here.

Step 3) Practice your story

Practice telling your story out loud 2 or 3 times, paying attention to the length, the flow, what parts of your story work and what parts need to be changed or removed. Next, share your story with a few family members or friends and ask them for feedback (such as how the story is being told and how it is organized). Their feedback may give you new ideas and help you tighten and organize your story.

Step 4) Record your story

Digital storytelling is something anyone can do no matter what level of experience they have telling stories or using technology. 

Think about the place where you will be recording or filming yourself. Choose a quiet space with good acoustics where interruptions are unlikely to occur and, if filming, good lighting. Try out a few “takes” (brief test shots) to work out any issues with sound, video, or delivery. 

 You can use your cell phone to record and save an audio or video story. 

For an audio only story: If you have an Iphone or Ipad, open the Voice Memos app or ask Siri to open it. If you have an Android phone, swipe down from the top of your screen to see the quick settings tiles and tap the screen recorder button.

For a video story: If you have an Iphone, open the Camera app, choose Video mode, tap the Record button. If you have an Android phone, open the Google Photos app, at the bottom, tap Library. Under the 'Create new' section, tap Movie and record. 

Need more help? Visit https://chestermade.org/how-to-create-a-digital-story/ to watch a short video on using your cell phone to record. Or you might want to ask a family member or friend to assist. 

Submit your recorded video or audio file to jpbrice@pahumanities.org If the file is too large or you need assistance, send us an email or text to jpbrice@pahumanities.org and we will help you submit your story.

Is there supporting material (for example, photographs of friends or family members or places mentioned in your story, pamphlets, or maps) that you can include with your story? Let us know.

Please complete this form and submit it to CDS along with your digital story. You can take a photo of both pages of the completed paper form and email jpbrice@gmail.com or, you can complete this form online by clicking here.

Thank you for your interest in being part of the Chester Digital Stories Project which honors the hopes, dreams, and memories of the extraordinary, everyday people in Chester.

Still have questions?  Contact JP Brice at jpbrice@pahumanities.org

Public Access to Chester Digital Stories

Chester Digital Stories are a community resource – an opportunity for all of us to share experiences and promote continued conversation around a wide range of topics and issues relevant to the city of Chester, Pennsylvania. We encourage everyone to listen to and view our digital stories and share them with family and friends.

Use of Chester Digital Stories by individuals, organizations and institutions is restricted to non-commercial use. Educators, writers, filmmakers, scholars, and other interested individuals, organizations and institutions seeking to copy and/or use excerpts from or the entirety of any Chester Digital Story must request permission from the Chester Digital Story Advisory Board. Please contact JP Brice (jpbrice@gmail.com) for complete information.