Molly Quinn and I visited Covenant House of California’s Drop-In Center to do the first private screening of FINDING HOPE. She and I were a little uncertain about what to expect.
Would the kids at Covenant House relate to this story? They’ve lived through some pretty hard times. Would the experiences of a teen girl, who runs away from a remote polygamist community and ends up on the streets of NYC, speak to this audience?
Our answer came in the first two minutes of the screening. Kids, who never sit still for any reason, were immediately drawn into the story. They sat there for the entire length of the film without moving, eyes riveted to the screen.
Once the film was over, the kids had three immediate reactions: They clapped enthusiastically; They thanked me for telling a story that seemed so true, and asked if that had been my own experience; and they hugged Molly in sympathy — the power of her performance was such, that they believed, for that moment, that she’d actually lived that life and felt that pain — and to see her strength and spirit gave them hope.
Watching the universal language of film unite a disparate group by illustrating a shared experience is always an amazing thing to see.
After the screening, Molly and I were interviewed by ABC’s On the Red Carpet, which will air Sunday, May 15th at 6:30pm. Molly was asked why she was drawn to the project. Her answer was to look around at the group of kids, all of whom were in various stages of transitioning from throwaway kid to functioning adult, and reply that she was involved because of them — so that they knew they weren’t forgotten.
What are my own reasons for creating FINDING HOPE?
To depict the road a teen runaway travels when she’s between a rock and a hard place. Not safe at home, with nowhere to be, and her only survival option is to keep on moving.
To explore the adult worlds a teen runaway disappears into when our eyes are closed.
To create a television series that I’d want to watch – one with compelling characters, and dramatic events – while telling a story that matters.
I spent several years as a writing mentor at at-risk facilities: juvenile detention homes; group homes; rehab centers; and I heard stories that still keep me up nights – of life on the streets; homes that were never safe; kids who had no one to trust, nowhere to go, and no one to protect them. I promised them I would tell the world what their lives were like. Because, at the end of the day, they’re all our children – and if telling their stories makes people sit up, take notice and do something to help – then I’ve served my purpose.
So watch the interviews from the Finding Hope-Covenant Fundraiser, watch the clips that will air on ABC next Sunday, May 15th; and stay tuned for our upcoming CNN interview, which we’re recording on May 11th, and let us know that you believe in FINDING HOPE TV, too!