News / Arts & Entertainment

Organization Helps Troubled Teens Heal Through Filmmaking

Helping Troubled Teens Heal Through Filmmakingi
X
August 15, 2014 9:47 AM
Writing a song, painting a picture, or acting on stage is not only fun but can also be therapeutic for a person who is coping with a painful past. Producer Deyane Moses is in southern Los Angeles where a non-profit organization is helping troubled teens heal through filmmaking.
Deyane Moses

Writing a song, painting a picture or acting on stage is not only fun but can also be therapeutic for a person who is coping with a painful past. In southern Los Angeles, a nonprofit organization is helping troubled teens heal through filmmaking.

Teenagers running down the street and then violently attacking a person - this is a scene from student filmmaker Fernando Lopez’s first movie, and it's something he has seen before.

“Filmmaking is the perfect outlet for me to release all my emotions, whether it’s in writing, acting or directing," Lopez said. "And I get to share a little bit of myself."

The 17-year-old starred in and directed a film called "Our First Movie." It is a tale of two aspiring filmmakers who clash over turf and stolen camera equipment.

“By the end of the day, we end up seeing how we’re not so different after all. We both have a story to tell,” Lopez said.

Lopez’s story is partly inspired by his mother’s time in jail, which left him withdrawn and defensive, like his co-star in the movie.

But two years ago, he joined Southern California Crossroads, a nonprofit organization that helps youth in violent communities gain skills and find career paths. Filmmaking is one of its many programs.

Telling stories, gaining strength

The students use their personal stories to create fictional movies addressing real-life scenarios and helping them cope with the past. Their films are shown at public schools throughout south Los Angeles to bring healing to the larger community.

“It’s an eye-opening experience because we get to see a side of each other that we never really have," Lopez said. "Because the topics we deal with are very personal. You see how that, like, plays into our own lives and how we relate to it."

Drama therapist Mimi Savage said the arts are therapeutic, though revisiting past emotions can be dangerous without professional guidance.

“For instance, when working with youth or working with people with mental illness," Savage said therapists must consider "where they are, where they are developmentally, for instance, so that we don’t re-traumatize them or so what they want to express doesn’t put them back into that place of pain or trauma."

Student films have tackled bullying, gangs, domestic violence, suicide, homelessness and friendship.

Southern California Crossroads' executive director, Paul Carrillo, said teens from his old neighborhood need the program.  

“I can name a few dozen individuals who I grew up with and if there was a program like this, they probably wouldn’t be dead or in jail right now,” he said.  

 

You May Like

Key Al-Shabab Commander Captured

Zakariye Ismail Hersi was captured in a raid Saturday morning in the town of El Wak near the border with Kenya More

Relations Between Pakistan, Afghanistan Key to Fighting Taliban

A Pakistani official tells VOA that anti-terrorism campaign has resulted in improved counter-terrorism cooperation with Afghanistan More

160,000 Displaced by Flooding in Malaysia

Prime Minister Najib Razak visits hard-hit Kelantan state, announces nearly $145M in additional relief for victims More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syriai
X
Jeff Seldin
December 24, 2014 11:38 PM
Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Estimates Rising of Foreign Fighters in Iraq, Syria

Foreign fighters are making more of a mark on the battles raging across Syria and Iraq than initially thought. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more.
Video

Video Russians Head Into Holiday Facing Economic Malaise

Russian preparations for the New Year holiday are clouded by economic recession and a tumbling currency, the ruble. Nonetheless, people in the Russian capital appear to be in a festive mood. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Mombasa in Holiday Tourism Slump Due to Security Fears

Kenya's usually popular beachside tourist destination of Mombasa is seeing a much slower holiday season this year due to fears of insecurity as the country has suffered from a string of terror attacks linked to Somali militants. Mohammed Yusuf reports for VOA on how businessmen and tourists feel about the situation.
Video

Video For Somalis, 2014 Marked by Political Instability Within Government

While Somalia has long been torn apart by warfare and violence, this year one of the country's biggest challenges has come from within the government, as political infighting curtails the country's progress, threatens security gains and disappoints the international community. VOA's Gabe Joselow report.
Video

Video US Political Shift Could Affect Iran Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to resolve Iran’s nuclear crisis are continuing into 2015 after Iran and six world powers failed to agree by a November deadline. U.S. domestic politics, however, could complicate efforts to reach a deal in the new year. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video NYSE: The Icon of Capitalism

From its humble beginnings in 1792 to its status as an economic bellweather for the world, the New York Stock Exchange is an integral part of the story of America. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from Wall Street.
Video

Video Islamic State Emergence Transforms Syria and Iraq in 2014

The emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as a potent force in early 2014 changed the dynamics of the region. Their brutal methods - including executions and forced slavery - horrified the international community, drawing Western forces into the conflict. It also splintered the war in Syria, where more than 200,000 Syrians have died in the conflict. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell looks back at a deadly year in the region -- and what 2015 may hold.
Video

Video Massive Study Provides Best Look at Greenland Ice Loss Yet

The Greenland ice sheet is melting faster than predicted, according to a new study released in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Sciences that combines NASA satellite data and aerial missions. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the finding means coastal communities worldwide could be at greater risk, sooner, from the impact of rising seas.
Video

Video US Marines, Toys for Tots Bring Christmas Joy

Christmas is a time for giving in the United States, especially to young children who look forward to getting presents. But some families don't have money to buy gifts. For nearly 70 years, a U.S. Marines-sponsored program has donated toys and distributed them to underprivileged children during the holiday season. VOA's Deborah Block tells us about the annual Toys for Tots program.
Video

Video France Rocked by Attacks as Fear of ISIS-Inspired Terror Grows

Eleven people were injured, two seriously, when a man drove his car into crowds of pedestrians Sunday night in the French city of Dijon, shouting ‘God is Great’ in Arabic. It’s the latest in a series of apparent ‘lone-wolf’ terror attacks in the West. Henry Ridgwell looks at the growing threat of attacks, which security experts say are likely inspired by the so-called "Islamic State" terror group.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."