Shine Global has partnered with The Dream Yard Project and Rooftop Films with the support of the Fledgling Fund to bring the power of art to the streets of New York with free events based around our documentary Inocente.
Rooftop films will present three free outdoor screening of Inocente in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx with Q&As with the filmmakers and special guest Inocente herself!
In a celebration of Inocente’s triumphs and talent, these organizations have also partnered to offer free multi-medium art workshops for local youth, ages 8-18, using the power of cinema and art to inspire New York youth to creatively express themselves. Inocente will assist Dream Yard in teaching these workshops. Youth need to RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to attend.
Locations and dates:
Tuesday, July 31
Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
2nd Ave & E 47th St New York, NY 10017
Friday, August 3
5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Tuesday, August 7
Bronx Terminal Market
610 Exterior Street, Bronx, NY 10451
Thank you to all of our Shine Global supporters for sharing the Kickstarter campaign with friends and family and for making a pledge to support our latest film INOCENTE. We’re so touched that in the end 294 people stepped up to help, many of them new to Shine Global, and donate a total of $52,527 over the course of 30 days – helping us to surpass our goal of $50,000! This experience has been both exciting and humbling and we’re so grateful to you all.
This funding will cover the costs of deferred payments, final deliverables and the outreach campaign to help spread the word about the film and the issues of homelessness, immigration reform, and arts education represented by Inocente.
The video from filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine describing the project and why they wanted to make the film will remain up on our Kickstarter project site and can be viewed at any time.
INOCENTE will be airing on MTV August 17th at 10pm ET/PT – we hope you tune it to watch!
6 years ago on her way home from her cafe job in Clarkston, Georgia, Jordanian born Luma Mufleh took a wrong turn that would change the course of her life. She stumbled upon a group of children. Barefooted, they were kicking around a deflated soccer ball between rock-marked goal posts. Who were these children? “They didn’t look American, it’s a scene that I would see over and over again in Jordan and other parts in the world…but never in the United States” said Mufleh in a recent interview with CBS. Her initial curiosity at this unique scene caused her to return the next day. She gifted the kids with a new soccer ball and in return asked to play. What Mufleh came to realize as she continued to play with these kids, was that her new teammates were actually refugees.
In fact, Clarkston is just 1 of 350 U.S cities in which families, who have escaped war or persecution in their home countries, are resettled. Uprooted without choice, countless families and orphaned children flee to the U.S. in order to seek asylum from their war torn countries. Disconnected from all things familiar – their communities, cultures and even their own families – refugee children face a serious struggle to find a sense of belonging in their new homes.
Mufleh has certainly found a solution for this struggle. Coach Mufleh began the Fugees soccer team in 2004 in order to provide refugee boys with free access to this organized sport. As the team evolved she began to realize that the needs of these kids extended far beyond the soccer field. In hopes of addressing needs such as appropriate education and refugee specific support, Mufleh founded the Fugees Family in 2004. This aptly named organization has used the game of soccer to motivate refugee youth, and provide them with the facilities and support necessary to realize their infinite potential. In order to serve the comprehensive needs of these children the recreational soccer team has now extended to “year-round soccer for 86 boys and girls aged 10-18, after-school tutoring and soccer for 50 elementary-aged students, a private academy serving 36 students, and an academic enrichment summer camp.”
What about the future? After buying 19 acres of land in Clarkston from generous donations, Mufleh has big dreams to build a permanent Fugees Academy which will have a wider reach to refugee children in need .“I see it becoming a national model that shows how to teach refugee kids successfully so it’s not just our kids that are affected by what we do, it grows to something so much bigger” Mufleh says ambitiously. She hopes to raise enough money – 5 million dollars to be exact- in order to bring her ideas from paper to practice. “It’s going to happen…we don’t have any other choice…and if you want something to happen, you can make it happen. That’s what we teach the kids.”
“Kids at my school don’t know that I’m homeless. If people would find out, they’d probably make fun of me…. I can’t tell my friends, it’s like keeping a secret.”
– 15-year-old Inocente
Homelessness today, a reality faced by over a million youth in America, is a critical problem often made invisible in our otherwise wealthy society. A child or teen left without a home can easily drop off the map without a helping hand nearby and while many look outside their borders to countries whose poverty crisis stands out at first glance, they can fail to recognize what tragedies are happening right in front of them.
Between 2007 and 2011, the rate of homelessness among children increased by a third, according to a report by National Center of Family Homelessness. Last month, the U.S. Department of Education released its report that the number of homeless students in the U.S. topped one million by the end of the 2010-2011 school year. And that is most likely an undercount. The U.S. has the largest number of homeless women and children of any industrialized nation, and nearly 40% of them are under 18. To the majority of people in the U.S living with basic amenities and shelter, those numbers are staggering. However to 13 individuals in particular, the facts surrounding youth homelessness in America were not only shocking but also, unacceptable.
These leading advocates in the struggle against homelessness stand out due to their efforts in sparking foundational changes in the American support system for homeless youth. Their personal initiatives and those of their associated organizations have been incredibly pivotal in the struggle to rehabilitate youth in disparate circumstances. Through support, advocacy and awareness programs, these leaders are collectively paving the way towards a solution for youth homelessness, an issue that is often unrecognized in our society.
In an amazing initiative to acknowledge the work accomplished by these 13 philanthropists, The White House Office of Public Engagement and the United States Council on Homelessness has recognized them as Champions of Change in the Fight Against Child and Youth Homelessness. They were honored at the White House last Thursday, July 12, for their remarkable efforts to serve children, youth and families in need.
A panel discussion with all the Champions moderated by Secretary Donovan and Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration on Children, Youth and Families not only exposed the issue of youth homelessness, but also elaborated solutions and opportunities for moving forward. Some emphasized the need for efforts to address not just youth homelessness, but youth and family homelessness, in order to stop the cycle of homelessness, others mentioned the importance of asking the young people they work with what they want – and being willing to listen. All shared their experiences and knowledge in order to enlighten others involved in the fight against homelessness.
Another issue addressed is who “qualifies” as homeless. While the Department of Education applies that label to any child without a permanent home, including those temporarily living in motels and on friends’ couches, other arms of the administration do not. A new bill in Congress would require the Department of Housing and Urban Development to expand its definition of homelessness to include those people. As it is currently, these children are deprived of some forms of aid.
Who are the “Champions”?
Providing everything from residential and housing programs, drop in centers, medical aid, emotional support, food stamps and education programs, the work that these organizations and their leaders have done and continue to do has created lasting change in the lives of the youth they serve. From across the country, they were nominated through a public nomination process by colleagues, friends, and community members:
Sherilyn Adams – Executive Director of Larkin Street Youth Services, San Francisco’s largest nonprofit which serves the needs of homeless and runaway youth.
Timothy Baack – Vice President of Milwaukee’s PathFinders, an organization that works to help youth take control of their lives and effectively contribute to their communities.
Steve Bewsey – Director of Housing and Homelessness Services for Youth at LifeWorks in Austin, Texas. He oversees a series of programs that cater to homeless youth such as outreach and emergency assistance.
Sol. A. Flores – Founding Executive Director of Chicago-based La Casa Norte, a community based organization that works to serve youth and families facing homelessness.
Paul W. Hamann – President and C.E.O of The Night Ministry, a nonprofit organization that aids members of the Chicago community who are confronting homelessness.
Sparky Harlan – CEO of The Bill Wilson Center, an organization that provides housing, education, counseling and education for youth at risk in Santa Clara, California.
Beth McCullough – Homeless Education Liason for Public Schools in Michigan. Beth has been acting on the belief that “education is the answer” in her fight to homeless children and teens for over a decade.
Tricia Raikes – Co-president of New York based Raikes Foundation, an organization which provides youth with the facilities necessary to develop into strong, independent and contributing adults.
Lisa Stambolis – Director of Pediatric and Adolescent Health at Health Care for the Homeless, Inc in Baltimore. Lisa has been active in her role working with youth to improve their physical and emotional well being.
Margaret Schuelke – Director of Project Community Connections, Inc. Margaret has made lasting changes through her work providing permanent housing and financial aid to the homeless in Atlanta, Georgia.
Deborah Shore – Founder and Executive Director of the Washington-based Sasha Bruce Youthwork (SBY), a multifaceted organization that extends services to runaway youth and families.
Carl Siciliano – Founder of The Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest housing program for homeless LGBT youth. Carl is a relentless advocate and provider for LGBT youth facing homelessness.
These leaders and their organizations are making a difference in the lives of over 1 million homeless children in the U.S. The cause is personalized in Shine Global’s documentary film Inocente, which tells the story of one girl who is struggling as a homeless and undocumented teen. Fighting to realize her voice as an artist in spite of her circumstances, Inocente exemplifies the very real issue of youth homeless in an inspirational story about the power of optimism and determination. To learn more about the film visit www.inocentedoc.com and support the project on Kickstarter.
Inocente Izucar, featured in Shine Global’s film INOCENTE, was interviewed last Friday on Current TV’s “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.” The former Governor of Michigan was inpired by how articulately Inocente speaks for the arts, about the difficulties of homelessness and how to keep a positive attitude, even in tough circumstances.
See a clip here:
The number of homeless students has skyrocketed to 1 million (most likely an underestimate). And during the 2010–11 school year, 44 states experienced an increase in homeless students.
The documentary directed by Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine tells the story of 15-year-old Inocente who has spent the last 9 years homeless and undocumented in San Diego. “I just woke up every day with a positive outlook. Because every day is a new day,” she says on how she survived. “You can’t change the past, so you can only change the future and just never giving up hope.”
We are currently raising funds on Kickstarter to finish the film and outreach. Please support this story and pledge now!