On Saturday we premiered eight short films of young people from our Urban Oasis Film Academy. The room was packed and the youth did a fantastic job of creating expressive evocative short pieces. They received a standing ovation from all in attendance.
Their works were largely autobiographical and unfinished, leaving the viewer with a bittersweet sense of unease and hope at the same time. It was as if they were saying:
“I am a work in progress. The script of my life is being written every day. The conditions within which I find myself need not define me, but I’m still struggling to determine which way to turn.”
When we recognize them and validate their creative expression we are giving them a message that if they turn toward light there will be support. At YMC we also recognize that when they fall into the darkness of their wounds, we must be there as well. That’s how you help youth.
By “seeing” their gifts and caring for their wounds. In the movies when they want to depict a battle-hardened warrior they give him a visible wound as testament that something has been endured and overcome and this person will never be the same again. On Saturday our young people displayed gifts by giving us a brief peak (sometimes just a hint) of their wounds. I see those films as the scars that give testimony to their present and future greatness.
Founder/CEO, Youth Mentoring Connection/Urban Oasis
PS Thanks to HBO, the California Consumer Protection Foundation and our program partner Street Poets for helping to make this all possible!