Friday, October 9, 2009

INVISIBLE: THE DIARIES OF NEW YORK’S HOMELESS YOUTH airs on Saturday, October 10th at 10:30pm exclusively on CW/PIX.


From homeless youths to PIX producers… they spent years living on the streets, now seven of New York City’s formerly homeless teens are trading their troubled pasts for public service with INVISIBLE: THE DIARIES OF NEW YORK’S HOMELESS YOUTH a 30-minute documentary to air on Saturday, October 10th at 10:30pm.

This TV special is the result of a partnership between CW/PIX and the Reciprocity Foundation. The Reciprocity Foundation, a not-for-profit organization known for innovative approaches in assisting homeless youth, helps students to turn their passions and talents into careers, which in turn enables them to break the cycle of poverty. At the Reciprocity Foundation, youth create films, music videos, fashion designs and other creative assignments with industry leaders who coach, train and mentor. Executive Director Taz Tagore said, “The CW/PIX partnership is the perfect example of how New York City leaders can help homeless youth to achieve their career goals and have a positive impact on the world.”

This special project included student collaboration with industry leader Chris Glorioso, an Emmy award winning PIX News Reporter. Reciprocity Foundation students undertook this project in order to highlight an often-ignored and somewhat taboo issue; the film documents personal experiences of youth homelessness as only formerly homeless teens could tell it. The show was co-written, co-produced, and partially shot by 7 of Reciprocity's formerly homeless teens themselves (Lysette Horne, Selassie Samuel, Eleet Lucheonnie, Aaron McBride, Dorian Paat, Bobby Beavers and Jennifer Carter).

Told mostly from a first person perspective, the program explores and demystifies some causes of youth homelessness: being orphaned, fleeing chronic physical and sexual abuse, or simply trying to escape overwhelming economic dilemmas. Each year, up to 2.8 million youth experience homelessness. INVISIBLE: THE DIARIES OF NEW YORK’S HOMELESS YOUTH examines the issues that perpetuate youth homelessness and details the Reciprocity Foundation’s unique formula for lifting kids out of crisis and into successful careers.

Reciprocity Foundation’s Managing Director Adam Bucko said, “Homeless youth can break the cycle of poverty, but only if you enable them to have a career goal that excites them and leverages their talents. In a very real way, working on this documentary has done just that for our students. They were homeless just months ago, but now they can honestly say they’ve produced a television show in the nation’s top media market.”

According to Lyssette Horne, one of the film’s co-producers who previously spent 2 years homeless, "When I teamed up with Chris, PIX and the Reciprocity Foundation, I started to realize my dream career was in media activism through documentary making. After helping write and produce “Invisible,” I know that I can make a difference with the stories and experiences I portray.”

INVISIBLE: THE DIARIES OF NEW YORK’S HOMELESS YOUTH airs on Saturday, October 10th at 10:30pm exclusively on CW/PIX.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

News From The Reciprocity Foundation!

Although it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us, we’ve been extremely active in helping homeless and at-risk youth transform their lives and fulfill their hopes, dreams, and aspirations! Their example conveys a powerful message to others in a similar situation: “If we can achieve, so can you!” We’ve also been placing greater emphasis on our students’ inner transformations, providing coaching from renowned corporate leaders along with transformative counseling sessions. In addition, the timeless wisdom and practicality of yoga and meditation, as tools to deal with life’s complexity, has become a more integral part of our program. As a result, we’re seeing more and more of our students develop a natural inner drive to become agents of positive change themselves!

Over the last few months, Reciprocity Foundation has been featured in KFC’s “Hometown Heroes” campaign featured on BET, which reached millions with our message: it is possible for homeless and at-risk youths to be transformed into creative leaders. We’ve also made the cover of Gay City News, and received the “2009 Award for Excellence in Educational Enhancement” from The New York Life Foundation. We had the honor of being selected, among the hundreds of organizations, to represent the Borough of Manhattan as an example of transformation in the lives of young people, preparing them for the workplace, success in higher education, and responsible citizenship.

We’ve always believed that success is not just about the individual; instead, it needs to be extended to the community. Our students are truly embracing this vision. Our former student, Isis King, an America’s Next Top Model contestant, recently appeared on Larry King Live and the Tyra Banks Show, to educate America about gender justice and re-define cultural concepts of beauty.

Dorian Jay Paat traveled to Africa as an HIV activist. Having lost his mother to AIDS, Dorian used his personal experience to reach out to others. While in Namibia, he appeared on two national TV programs, youth radio programs, and spoke at the U.N.

Additionally, Dorian met with local HIV+ youths, inspiring them to use their struggles to promote positive change.

Lyssette Horne recently had a successful photo exhibit at the trendy
Jiva Muktea Vegan Cafe. She photographed homeless youths of NYC, re-imagining them as Indian deities. This powerful exhibit, “Light in All of Us”, shared the vision that we all have unique and precious gifts that can inspire and transform.

The potential for our students to share their visions of hope is clearly starting to catch fire and the future possibilities are very exciting! Stay tuned!

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