Youth had an opportunity to participate in a paid film-making internship with Outside the Frame (OTF) which partnered with HomePlate Youth Services to provide a week-long training. We’re grateful to the Walters Family Foundation and Hitachi High Technologies, Inc. for their generous grant support which made this opportunity possible.
Joey Whiting, who is on our Outreach Team, is an OTF alum and benefited from this program years ago when they were experiencing homelessness. Joey found the program gave them a voice and hope. At HomePlate they were able to help facilitate the OTF workshop which brought the experience full circle.
Joey’s Inspiring Experience with Outside the Frame
“There are rare moments in life when things come our way precisely when we need them. For me, this was Outside the Frame. Before finding this program just shy of my twenty-first birthday, I was homeless, directionless, depressed, and running low on hope. When it comes to youth homelessness, there are common topics of concern: Food, shelter, hygiene needs, clothing, among many other things. The thing that often falls by the wayside, but is—to my mind—equally important, is an outlet. Without something positive to channel the impacts of trauma into, it becomes all the more difficult to get your life in order.
When I found Outside the Frame, I finally felt like I had something creative to put my energy into. Not only that, but it gave me a chance to be listened to. They put a camera in my hands, and taught me how to use it. We created a series of short films, which later screened at Portland’s Armory Theater. We sold out the venue that night. Hundreds of people wrapped around the block just to hear my story, and stories like mine. This was a life-changing experience.
Thanks to this program, I gained marketable skills; I went on to intern at Open Signal Community Media, and later to peer mentor for Outside the Frame as an instructor. Two years later, they helped me get my job here at HomePlate.
This is what I want for the youth of Washington County. I want to teach them how to tell their stories, in a way that is palatable for the average person, who may not have had much interest in the stories of homeless young people. Here in Washington County, there are very few creative outlets for young people in crisis. I would like to create that. This program is about more than making movies, it is about breaking silence. It is about giving a voice to young people who are consistently told that they don’t have one, or that theirs doesn’t matter. That is something that no amount of money can buy.” –Joey Whiting, HomePlate Outreach Worker