The SQ Foundation and Derek O’Neill were active in supporting “We Gotta Get Out Of Here”, a documentary being made about the Foster Care system in Los Angeles. “We Gotta Get Out of Here” was showcased at LA ART-HOUSE FILM FESTIVAL and was the winner of the documentary category. Here are a few viewer testimonials…
This film touched on a topic that I was unaware of and shed light on a dark space in America’s communities that are less fortunate and a systemic problem that affects our youth the most. It was touching, endearing and heart breaking to see our mundane daily activities such as where to sleep or what to eat as huge struggles in their world. This film forces you to open your eyes and take a deeper look behind the curtain of America’s foster care system.
Isa Rahman- Actor/Model
• WE GOTTA GET OUT OF HERE is a poignant, eye-opening film that highlights the triumphs and failures of five young adults who have ‘aged out’ of LA county’s foster care system.
It’s easy to look at war-torn foreign countries and quickly pinpoint their need for aid and attention. But it’s heart-breaking to realize that there are young people here- in America, in our very own backyard- who desperately need help, too. The fact that 1/3 of LA teenagers who age out of foster care end up homeless is a staggering and sobering statistic. The resources may be out there, but they are not reaching those who need it most.
The film does not offer any easy “one size fits all” solutions, because no such magic solution exists. The film does, however, highlight the fact that strong support from the community is a defining factor in whether these young people will ‘make it’.
For example, when 21-year-old Ty is cheated out of his housing deposit, he is able to ask volunteers from his church for a place to stay (free of charge) for several months until he can find a more permanent housing solution. Tiffany and Teejay, a young couple with no such community, are relegated to a life of uncertainty, bouncing between motels and the streets.
As someone who works with foster youth, I found WE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE to be a startlingly accurate portrayal of the challenges foster teens face, both practical (finding housing, dealing with unique medical needs, etc) and mental (when they’ve been shown and told their whole lives that they aren’t worth anything, is it any wonder these youth have a hard time accepting help or making healthy decisions?)
Ultimately, though, WGTGOOH provides hope, both to the viewer and the foster youth whose journeys it chronicles. Tiffany goes to college. Benton pursues his pro boxing dreams. Mike joins the Navy. Not every story has a happy ending, but we are left with the feeling that this is but one chapter in lives of these young adults.
As a viewer, I was inspired to help the foster teens I volunteer with on an even deeper level. For many of these youth, they simply need someone they can trust. Whether that’s a shoulder to cry on or a couch to sleep on, this documentary has re-energized me and solidified my desire to help these teens with whatever they need.
This documentary has the potential to be a very powerful tool to inspire others to do the same.
Thank you, Jen Araki and the team behind this production, for making such a powerful piece of film. Feel free to use any of my above quotes to help promote the film.
Kristen Brancaccio – Writer, Actress, Filmmaker
• For some of our kids, just surviving requires heroism. Every moment, every day. We Gotta Get Out of Here doesn’t just show the struggle. It shows how even the smallest, most simple acts of love can change a life.
We Gotta Get Out of Here looks where the news cameras don’t. It shows just how little time and love it takes to change a life for the better.
Benson, Tiffany, Robert, TeeJay, Ty – the kids in this film – are OUR children. We Gotta Get Outta Here shows how we are stacking the deck against them – and then punishing them if they can’t play by the rules. We need to change the game for them.
Danielle Killian, MPP