One of the most moving experiences we were witness to in the many years of filming was the moments at The Crib (The Night Ministry’s emergency youth shelter) after the lucky 20 kids got in thru the lottery and the staff all took a moment before dinner to “Give Gratitude”. This was youth led and offered such profound moments of community, resilience and support. For these kids, who spend so much time in isolation, who have no certainty, who yearn for community, this time was sacred. The community The Crib has built is reflective of the great respect, care and humanity of Paul Hamann, Tedd Peso, Christy Prassas, Jake Bradley and Nate Metrick (among so many others) of the great staff working at TNM.
We were also privileged to witness inspiring “community" at Teen Living Program’s Belfort House. When one of their kids makes it through their 2 year transitional program and moves into their independent living apartment they have an official “Graduation”. A celebration of that person (often the only one these kids ever have gotten) and at the end the community gathers in a circle and recites the Irish Blessing over this youth.
And lastly, an example of how community can rise, no matter how small, out of some of the most incredible obstacles. Chicago Public Schools has an overwhelming number of kids in crisis. Like so many schools, they are understaffed and inequiped to deal with it. But a few folks are fighting hard to make a stronger community of support to keep these kids in school. So we were inspired by the resiliency of the many Homeless Liasions who, day after day, try to reach out to these kids who are on their own.
So inspired by the traditions we’ve witnessed in the film, we want to share our own Irish Blessing upon all of you and “Give Gratitude”. Thank you for being our supporters, cheerleaders and for showing us that community thrives and can together make a difference. And ‘May the road rise to meet you…"
The number one obstacle that places like The Night Ministry/The Crib, Teen Living Programs and Chicago Public Schools have in getting more direct support for these kids in crisis is pervasive negative stereotypes. The film can help…we all know the power of story and how when we spend time with people, and really look at their human struggles and triumphs, they stop being “the other” and start being one of us, one of our own. Thank you for making this project possible in it’s final moments.
Looking so forward to working all together to bring this to the world!
Anne and Kirsten
(and Will, Katie, Jenn, Andrew, Elizabeth, Justine, Tim, Leslie, Erin, Gordon and so many, many others who have fought to bring this project to life).
The Homestretch world premieres at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival in April with THREE screenings. Get your tickets here.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to help us in making an impact with this film.
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