Documentary on Homeless Teens in Chicago

The Homestretch is a documentary I first mentioned when I was still in the infant stages of writing Box of Rain. I was doubly excited about the news. First of all, and most importantly, the film calls attention to the overlooked and heartbreaking fact that many youth trying to make their way through the Chicago school system are also homeless. The film follows three youth as they struggle to stay in school.

The second reason, of course, is because that is the topic I address in Box of Rain.  Booker T worked hard to get a college scholarship, yet a macabre murder, combined with a tendency to judge a street kid by past prejudices, might make his efforts all for nothing.

I just found out that the documentary, which is available for special screenings and is being released in several locations, is going to be shown on the PBS show Independent Lens on April 13.  I highly recommend you find out what time the show will be on in your area an check it out.  In the meanwhile, click through to this article on the film to find out why you should watch it.

Think being a teenager was tough? Imagine going through that period without a steady roof over your head.

That’s the tale that unfolds in “The Homestretch,” a new documentary that examines the lives of three Chicago teens struggling to get a high school education while in what school administrators euphemistically call “temporary living situations.” Roque, Anthony and Kasey were among the more than 19,000 homeless students in the city’s public schools and an estimated 1.2 million homeless youth nationwide — a figure many advocates say is probably an undercount.

via Documentary on Homeless Teens in Chicago Aims to ‘Show the Struggle’ | Youth Today.

The Homestretch – A documentary about 3 homeless teens trying to make their way

I am excited that the Kickstarter campaign to complete this documentary about three homeless teens has almost reached its goal, but with only 23 days left to go, I want to encourage you to consider contributing to what sounds like an eye-opening look at the struggles kids face on the streets of Chicago every day.  To contribute, please click here.

The Homestretch follows three homeless teens as they fight to stay in school, graduate, and build a future. Each of these ambitious teenagers – Kasey, Anthony and Roque – will surprise, inspire, and challenge audiences to rethink stereotypes of homelessness as they work to complete their education while facing the trauma of being alone and abandoned at an early age.

via The Homestretch (trailer) on Vimeo.

In a recent email from The Night Ministry, CEO & President Paul W. Hamman had this to say about the film:

The film is nearing completion!  We are very excited to work with the filmmakers Kirsten Kelly and Anne de Mare and everyone at Kartemquin as the film rolls out over the next year.

But first, Kelly and de Mare have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish their fundraising so the film can be completed.  We hope that, in addition to your support of The Night Ministry, you can help them reach their goal.

We strongly believe in this film’s potential to raise awareness around youth homelessness and the work of The Night Ministry and our partner agencies in Chicago.

After viewing a nearly complete version of the film recently, Paul W. Hamann, President and CEO of The Night Ministry, said, “This film deftly, courageously, and respectfully illustrates the complexity of the issues that result in over one million young people experiencing homelessness every year in this country.”