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#JorgeBaldor and Fannie C. Harris Youth Center/ Docu-Series with #TheBleakEmpire

Between studying for comp exams and research, writing, and publishing, sometimes I get to step out and do something totally different. Part of my spiritual journey this past year has been the acknowledgement that there are so many issues involving children that need attention. Who better to help than those who write for children? At least that’s my thought process.

The interior of the Fannie C. Harris Youth Center. This is part of the educational center. Students are given a place to safely study and access the internet for class work to be successful in their education.

I got involved with a wonderful Indie film crew at the beginning of 2020 [#The Bleak Empire] and we all have set out to do what we love and that is make film. I wanted to highlight an upcoming project that we are working on this month and hope to make into a docu-series about the homeless student problems in larger cities. Our docu-series will focus on the groups and centers aimed at protecting and nurturing these students, while helping them focus on their education.

A library for all.

The filming starts November 21st and will feature Jorge Baldor and the Fannie C. Harris Youth Center, Promise House, and After8toEducate.

Billy Lane one of the directors for After8toEducate Program.

The number seems staggering. 3500 plus students who are homeless in the Dallas/Fort Worth area alone. Dallas, one of the 5th largest cities in the nation, hosts a collaborative effort from many sources to provide solutions to those who seem forgotten. Promise House, After8toeducate, team up with Jorge Baldor who has championed the cause with an affirmative action. Renovating a reclaimed school on E. Grand Street by the Fair Grounds, the group has put into place a necessary nurturing environment for homeless students.

The staggering figures of 3500 plus young individuals is put into context when adding up the numbers. Dallas, is one of 5 large urban environments. If all five urban areas experienced the same numbers, these five areas house close to 20,000 homeless students. The Fannie C. Youth Center is a unique model with a drop-in center that can take up to 35 students at a time.  While seemingly a small amount of the 100 unaccompanied minors without a residence at any given time, it provides a foundation for other communities to glean an example from. Unaccompanied or unsheltered usually means out in the streets. How do you sleep? Where do you bath? Who is there to protect you from the elements of those who solicit young ones and entice them into a life of unhappiness in drugs, prostitution, and crime? How do they cope emotionally knowing they are forgotten in some instances?

An interior shot of the second floor that houses the sleeping areas.

The Fannie C. Youth Center is a starting point in this docu-series concerning a growing problem in our nation. An old elementary school that has been renovated, it is a starting point for the partnership. The docu-series will examine many aspects of this situation with the youth of our country and try to focus on collective impacts, but also scrutinize the downside of those who cannot be found in enough time for people like Promise House or After8toeducation to address a dilemma of continuing education and social programs geared towards redirecting abuse and neglect. The journey of this series will perhaps make those who watch say, “I never knew that, I never knew that,” and step forward to offer their own time and solutions.

The living quarters of the young men’s area.

In working to create a viable solution, Jorge Baldor, a graduate from Southern Methodist University and founder of the After8toEducate program, conceived this collaborative effort with local philanthropists to plan and convert an old elementary school building into a 24/7 drop-in center for homeless students. His work in the Dallas community has allowed him many awards. In 2016, he was named an Outstanding Latino Advocate by D CEO Magazine and in 2018 nominated by Dallas Morning News as Texan of the Year.

Vandalism on the first floor. Windows were broken.

Hopefully this project will bloom. Right now they are striving to fix a vandalism problem with the cafeteria and solidify their security systems. Help is needed. Please connect with fch@after8toeducate.com or Tyrone Coleman at W.tyronecoleman@promisehouse.org if you would like to donate funds to these groups for immediate solutions to repairs and continued building needs.

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