Teen advocates for ending child homelessness emerge through film festival

Amy Malick
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Woman at a podium holding a document that says "America's Youngest Outcasts"Teens in the Albuquerque area are working to end child homelessness by giving the issue a familiar face.

Cuidando los Niños named four students as winners in the recent Youth Creating Change Film Festival.

The film festival was an action idea that came out of the Strong Starts for Children project, a community-based dialogue to change effort that engaged people in talk and action to better the lives of young children in the greater Albuquerque area.

“The Youth Creating Change Film Festival was an important part of our broader strategy to raise public awareness and motivate people to act to end child and family homelessness in Albuquerque,” said Chris Ortiz y Pino, festival coordinator and member of Cuidando’s Advocacy Program staff. “We plan to play, post and otherwise distribute their films to help bring a face to this largely invisible population.”

The festival engaged young people in advocating for child homelessness, as well as provided young people interested in media arts an outlet for their work to be seen. Middle-school and high-school youth produced Public Service Announcements and short films to educate and motivate the community to act on child homelessness.

“It was important for us to engage and encourage our young people to become educated advocates for child homelessness,” Ortiz y Pino said. “These films are being used by a Home for Every Child advocacy program to educate and motivate communities to end child homelessness throughout New Mexico.”

Cuidando teamed with local teachers and the film industry to provide youth team members with educational field trips to Central New Mexico Community College's film program, meet with the local 480 film union, and a local television set to see first-hand the many opportunities available in the film-making profession.

The film festival took place June 25 at the South Broadway Cultural Center. A panel of judges awarded prizes based on factual content, creativity, production value, and an effective call to action. A total of 47 students produced 27 films.


Gabriel Otero,  Best of Show, 9th Grade, Public Academy for Performing Arts


Antonio Vigil, High School First Place, 9th Grade, Public Academy for Performing Arts


Daniel Romero, Anthony Luna, Karen Flores, High School Runner Up, Atrisco Heritage Academy


Devonte Montoya, Middle School First Place, 8th Grade, Mi Voz Afterschool Program (YDI)

July 21, 2011

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