In 2012, 10% of the children (over 23,000) exiting foster care aged out of the system. Research has shown that teens aging out of the system are highly likely as adults to experience homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration, and other poor outcomes. Both society and taxpayers suffer when the potential of youth is not realized. In the US in 2011, Opportunity Youth cost taxpayers approximately $93 Billion in lost revenue from lack of productive workers and an increase in social services. In the New Orleans metro area, the costs measured approximately $195 Million that same year.
We are Jonathan Jackson, Executive Producer/Director and Philip Williamson Jr., Director/Producer with American New Wave Media Group based out of New Orleans, La. Also, Kendal Francis, Executive Producer/Founder of Blessed 26. Blessed 26 is a Non-Profit Organization who's purpose is to teach respect, networking, and social skills to help combat the negative images the public has on African American teenagers from New Orleans helping with giving these teenagers options for life after foster care.
This documentary we are creating details the effects of the cutting of Louisiana’s Young Adult Program, a program that helps teenagers from foster homes transition to young adulthood. Governor Bobby Jindal recently cut this program in July 2013. This documentary highlights how Blessed 26, is helping teenagers currently in foster care with that transition without the help of state resources. It also follows the graduates of this program and of their respected high schools as a follow-up for life after.
How Your Money Will Be Spent
We as filmmakers look to create a documentary that is visually appealing, as well as totally informative. We are looking for your help in raising $30,000, and will be a non-union production. The priority of the budget goes as follows:
The audience of this film is mainly African American youth (13-22) in New Orleans and throughout the South US. We as filmmakers feel that this audience is not presented with positive images of themselves. Therefore, the film will be shown as part of the Blessed 26 program, with speaking engagements held by Kendal Francis, as well as locations we will partner with to screen to our target audience.
At the end the 10-week course, suits are fitted and purchased for each student, and a dinner is held in honor of the students and attended by professional African American men and women from the community as an ultimate networking experience as seen in the Pilot. As an example, "Darrell" in the clip above, after being released from a New Orleans group home during his senior year, is one of those students. He has graduated from high school and is going to a University in New York on a scholarship because of his hard work and with support of the Blessed 26 program.
As with many things, especially film there will come challenges. Our challenges are merely, putting together the quality project we want to, using the equipment we have and with your help that challenge can be a distant memory.
Despite the amount we are asking for, we will finish this project because we know how much these young men need this in their lives. We as adults regularly talk about our youth but rarely do we talk or listen to our youth. This is the perfect opportunity to find out their needs, challenges, obstacles, and fears they face today.
Other Ways You Can Help
Even if you can't contribute there is always word of mouth. The more it gets out there, the more people will hear about this very needed project. Use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr, Phone, Text, Email, etc.
Speak with everyone you know to help get the word out about Illuminating our next generation. You can click below on the share tools because you may be the one person that triggers the movement of a lifetime.