What Homeless Teens Taught Me About Life

Giving a voice to the voiceless is something I've been passionate about since I made my first documentary my senior year of high school. It followed several homeless teenagers in Pasadena, CA. They let me follow them around all day, starting with shooting up heroin first thing in the morning behind a dumpster. Then they showed me the parks they hung out in, the abandoned YMCA building where they slept at night (including the indoor swimming pool they used as a toilet), and the drop-in shelter they showered in.

Being exposed to illegal activity felt dark and scary to me as an 18 year old. However, when I sat down to interview these teens, I learned more about why they were on the streets: they came from broken homes, they never felt seen or had their basic needs met. I saw tears in their eyes as they shared their deepest fears, hopes and dreams.