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Homeless Youth of ChicagoThe documentary Homestretch documents the lives of three homeless young people Roque, Kasey and Anthony. They strive to finish high school and make a better life for themselves. Each goes through the turbulence of their emotional growth as their lives continually shift. The documentary shows the battle that homeless youth face and how their district can offer to help and make available necessary resources like short-term housing and education programs for students who had to leave school because of their living situations.
Roque Roque a sophomore student life was changed when forced to separate from his family due to immigration complications, Roque’s dad had problem with immigration and had to leave. His mom remarried and took his sister with her and did not offer him a place to stay.
He was left to fend for himself. With an unstable living situation he bounced around for several years. Mrs. Rivera, Roques teachers offers him a place to stay. Along with being homeless Roque is an unidentified student and does not have identification.KaseyKasey’s account depicts the family rejection and subsequent homelessness that many lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth experiences. Kasey’s mom did not agree with her lifestyle and sent her to live with her grandma when eventually she outs her out. Kasey spent over a year bouncing from family members, friends and sleeping on the streets. She ended up dropping out of high school in her senior year. She was without a home before getting into The Teen Living Program, TLP at Belfort house.
TLP helped Kasey re-enroll in high school and later graduates. After missing her curfew multiple times, TLP kicked her out. Anthony Anthony, a TLP resident joined to help mold his life back together and change for the better for his son. He did not grow with a mom and dad, at seven and a half he was adopted by his sister father where he endures physical and verbal abuse from him. Being placed in several foster homes and enduring some sexual abuse. Anthony has been homeless since he was fourteen. He has a son named Simeon who was placed in the foster care system. Anthony who has fought homelessness worked extremely hard to change his life for success.Adverse ExperiencesEveryone encounters battles throughout childhood as they learn to steer the world that is around them. But, for those who grew up with adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), these great encounters can build a constant negative change that can lead to adult physical and mental health problems.Each teenager experienced an adverse childhood experience, Roque experience parental separation or divorce, emotional neglect from parents and being homeless. Kasey lives through emotional neglect, witnessing violence outside the home friend’s death and being homeless. Kasey found herself depressed and hair began to fall out. Anthony did not have parents and then placed in several foster homes where he encountered sexual abuse. When he was adopted he endured physical and verbal abuse and later became homeless. They all experienced some form of ACE.Social SupportsThe social support needed for teens that are homeless, housing, emergency shelter beds for homeless young people, mental health counseling and education. In the documentary, they had two places that provided support The Night Ministry which later opened up The Crib. The Teen Living Programs Belfort house which develops community, hope, and the possibility for youth who are homeless by concentrating on their essential needs and helping them attain independence and stable housing. For Roque, he had Mrs. Rivera she was his support. She help him get his identification as well as apply and get accepted into school.Mental Health ConcernsHomeless children and teens have high rates of emotional and behavioral problems, often from having witnessed abuse. Homelessness, in turn, intensifies poor mental health as we saw in Kasey situation. The stress of being subjected to homelessness may worsen previous mental illness and encourage anxiety, fear, depression, sleeplessness and substance use. Kasey expresses she has anxiety and has emotional stability. Individuals experiencing homelessness with mental illnesses are similar to those without mental illnesses: physical safety, education, transportation, affordable housing, and affordable medical/dental treatment. When providing attention to those experiencing homelessness, it is critical in creating a non-threatening and supportive atmosphere, address basic needs (e.g., food and shelter), and provide accessible care. (2018)Social Justice and Advocacy IssuesThe need to advocate to make sure homeless children have access to school, and that people should not unlawfully be punished because they merely have nowhere to live except for public places. Social justice issues, the lack of means and systemic barriers homeless youth face as they try to train themselves and break down cycles of poverty. Each teen story urges the need for more affordable housing options, and better opportunities to gain access to post-secondary education or career planning programs for homeless youth. Their lives are as valuable as anyone else’s, yet due to conditions, they are given little-to-zero support over the outcome. ConclusionThe documentary aimed at displaying the hardships and struggles that ends with a positive tone. It concentrates on the teens who offered support and experience success. Also, the caregivers who are making a sincere effort to deal with the problem. The schools and individuals in those schools were making a fantastic attempt to handle the problem, at least with those teens who identified as in need. You often wonder how many others in related circumstances remain unknown or lost entirely to the schools. This was a powerful documentary and I gained some understanding as to what I could be facing at my school.
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