For several years now, RCTV has been fortunate to participate in the Summer of Opportunity. This program is sponsored by the City of Rochester with support from RochesterWorks and pairs young people from age 14 to 20 with businesses that would like to work with interns, giving them paid, hands-on experience and on-the-job training. Each student who applies is given job readiness training to enhance his or her communication, interpersonal, and interviewing skills. They then interview with prospective employers for positions that are of interest.
RCTV’s Summer of Opportunity program is being overseen by RCTV Director/Producer Rajesh Barnabas and by Indiadora Nicholson who participated in RCTV’s after-school youth program for several years and who is now attending Manhattanville College. The thirteen youths that began at RCTV three weeks ago jumped right in after learning to use the television studio, field cameras and editing equipment to create a multi-episode talk show ranging from a conversation with a young entrepreneur to one with a sports pro.
This week, the group is in the throes of shooting a short film about LGBT homelessness, written by fellow intern Phelan C. He was inspired to write the film following research he did on the topic of LGBT discrimination in which he discovered that a high proportion of LGBT youths are homeless.
In fact, youth homelessness is a significant problem affecting more that 1.6 million young people between the ages of 12 and 17. In a study conducted between October 2011 and March 2012 by the Williams Institute, as many as 40 percent of these homeless youths identified as LGBT. Equally disturbing news in the study was “how evident family rejection contributed to this disproportionate number of homeless LGBT youth.”
The film is being shot at locations throughout Rochester and will incorporate the use of green screen and animation for an experimental approach on presenting the topic.
When asked about his goal for the film, Phelan responded that he hopes the film will raise awareness of homophobia and that prejudicial practices run the gamut from discriminatory language to family rejection and eviction.