Currently in educational distribution
Invisible Young is an inspiring, award-winning documentary film that tells the life stories of four young adults, all of whom lived on the streets as teenagers. It takes a revealing look at their families, their day to-day lives, their possible fates, and follows them as they strive for a hopeful, prosperous future.
Invisible Young is not only about homelessness, it's about perseverance and the resilience of the human spirit.
Seattle Washington is a wealthy city. Home to successful companies such as Microsoft and Boeing, Seattle has enjoyed relative prosperity over the last several decades, more than most US cities. Yet sadly, each night approximately 1000 teenage children and young adults sleep on the streets of Seattle, with no place to call home.
Who are these kids? Drug addicts? Hooligans? Delinquents? Dropouts? Prostitutes? These are the words that come to mind for most when the phrase "homeless teenager" is mentioned. The implication, and gross misconception, is that either these children are on the streets by choice, or that they somehow deserve this fate. Alone and on their own, some as young as twelve, the reality is that many, if not most, of these kids have been abandoned by their parents, tossed out like and old mattress.
Many of these kids come from a home where they suffered repeated abuse. Often, the parents of these children have severe problems with drugs and/or alcohol. Many of the kids come from broken families. Chronic unemployment is common in these households (naturally the harsh realities of the great recession are only exacerbating this problem). Whatever their particular personal and family pathology, they end up on the streets because living at home becomes intolerable. And once they are on the streets their prospects for a prosperous, productive future diminish rapidly. Once homelessness sets in, their future is cast in stone... almost.
The Foster Care system works for a few, but the reality is that in most cases it just delays the onset of homelessness. Many children make it through the system unadopted, and once the kids turn 18 the Foster system drops them like lead.
Fortunately, there are organizations in many urban centers that offer help and services to homeless youth. While most of these organizations have been stretched thin by the effects of the recession and rapidly shrinking state and local budgets, they still offer the best chance for redemption. These programs can offer a range of services including meals, housing, education, counseling, life-skills and job training. But shrinking budgets have meant cutbacks in services, at a time when the number of kids needing help is growing.
Despite the rise of the indie filmmaker, and the abundance of social commentary films made in the last few decades, a few films have been made tackling this subject (one such film can be seen on Youtube). It is a subject that is inherently difficult to tackle on film. And there are no easy answers. The roots of the problem lie in much larger issues around dysfunction in the family unit. But there is some hope for kids that end up on the streets (in the form of non-profit organizations that offer help). This new, important film - which will raise awareness to this issue and dispel misconceptions (and thereby encourage compassion) - is a must see!
For more about this new documentary production, please visit the film’s website
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