Wednesday, July 22, 2009

HEAR US E-News July 2009

To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping. --Chinese Proverb

As HEAR US begins our 5th year, we anticipate even greater challenges. But our tasks are nothing compared to those trying to cope in these tumultuous times, or those of you trying to help families and teens survive and thrive.

HEAR US is more committed than ever to give voice and visibility to homeless kids to help them and you. And with unprecedented growth of homelessness nationwide, every effort is needed to inspire a compassion epidemic in schools, communities and legislative chambers.

Thanks to our volunteer web guru Dan Riefstahl of Pixel Point Creative, we have a new newsletter design. His help is indicative of assistance HEAR US has received from several generous and talented people over the past 4 years. Thanks, Dan, and thanks to all of you!


Can You Use Some Good News? With times as tough as they are, good news is rare. This newsletter will share some positive happenings and maybe brighten your day. Please pass it on to your colleagues and friends who may need a ray of hope. (We don't share our list, nor do we bug you.)

Making the Big Time! Those familiar with the HEAR US documentary series (all on one DVD) My Own Four Walls know it’s a powerful tool to strengthen audiences’ compassion for homeless children and youth. MOFW's potential audience will soon greatly expand. HEAR US received the invitation to screen MOFW at the Paso Robles Film Festival in November! Clint Eastwood was there last year!

Not just another film festival, this one will include documentaries on the state and fate” of children and youth in this country. HEAR US is honored to be invited and looks forward to expanding MOFW's reach.

Diane will head to Paso Robles, CA after presenting at the NAEHCY Conference in Denver. (If you have never been to a NAEHCY conference, go! You’ll recharge your batteries, get a lot of good ideas, and learn ways you can do your job even better.)

HEAR USLearning Curve Express’ to Visit Communities Soon! In what promises to be the most ambitious (and grueling) trip for Diane, the HEAR US Learning Curve Express (Diane & Tillie) will head out this fall to non-urban locations across the country with 2 purposes:

  • recruit and film articulate spokespersons who know homelessness from experience—particularly those in motels and/or doubled-up with others, to give them the opportunity to...
  • inform (in person and/or via YouTube) Members of Congress and community members unfamiliar with realities facing homeless families and youth, especially those couch surfing, in motels, etc. about perils of life outside homeless shelters.

The latest disappointing vote on the definition of homeless illustrated the steep learning curve facing some legislators, bureaucrats and even advocacy groups. Homelessness comes in many forms. Community responses vary. Some have a decent safety net for some homeless families/teens, but most don’t. Invisible homeless students don’t get into school or get shifted around needlessly. And too many legislators and Americans blithely believe the latest HUD report that barely mentions the existence and plight of invisible homeless families.

Diane will map out a cross-country route, her 5th and most determined journey, relying on local community activists to connect—in person or virtually—the experts and the lawmakers. HEAR US will use YouTube and media to get word out. But she needs your help!

Do you have families staying in motels, rotating couch-to-couch, house to house? Do you have Members of Congress who need, um, remedial lessons on what homeless kids go through? If you’re interested in hosting a Learning Curve Express visit, contact Diane.

National Hunger & Homelessness Week Time to get ready! It's the week of Nov. 21st. HEAR US has excellent tools to focus on the often-ignored children and teens as well as adults:

REVIEWS WANTED! Are you among the growing number of people who have seen My Own Four Walls? Would you be interested in submitting a short (2-3 sentences max) review? We'd love to hear from you!

JULY SALE DAYS ENDING SOON! HEAR US newsletter subscribers and their friends are invited to save on orders placed in July. But July is fast coming to an end! Check our last newsletter to see how you can save.

Diane's schedule Soon Diane will be hitting the road. Check her travel schedule and explore possibilities of having the Learning Curve Express visit your community.

Inspired to give to a good cause? HEAR US needs and greatly appreciates support of all amounts. If you can donate a little or a lot, we'd be honored and we'll use it wisely! And your orders also support our work. All proceeds benefit HEAR US.

HOMELESSNESS in the NEWS HEAR US tracks and posts stories. Check it out! YIKES!

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HEAR US Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations tax-deductible as law allows.
1163 E Ogden Ave., #705-329, Naperville IL 60563 630-225-5012

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

California Dreaming for Homeless Kids

[Naperville, IL, July 24, 2009] Scattered across America in backwater towns, nondescript cities and dusty rural communities are 75 young people who have had an astounding impact on millions of people nationwide. "My Own Four Walls," the acclaimed documentary chronicling these courageous homeless children and youth filmed and produced by HEAR US Inc., will be screened this fall at the prestigious Paso Robles Digital Film Festival

"This festival provides a tremendous opportunity to let faces of children and youth without homes be seen and their voices heard," exclaims Diane Nilan, whose unconventional approach to making this documentary began with selling her home and possessions in 2005. Nilan's Naperville-based nonprofit organization, HEAR US Inc., is devoted to giving voice and visibility to homeless children and youth. She's made 4 solo cross-country trips in her road-weary RV to find, film and empower invisible homeless families and teens.

As many families prepare to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, participants of the Paso Robles festival will join with organizers who created an event that is
in Paso Robles, CA.
"...deeply dedicated to shedding light in the darkness of the millions of homeless, runaway and missing children and youth in these

United States of America..."
Festival producer Benford Standley contacted Nilan, HEAR US president, with the invitation for My Own Four Walls, a 20-minute glimpse of the plight and promise of children and teens who, along with more than 1.5 million other young people in America, experienced homelessness.

Nilan ponders the November event and offers her thoughts, "My dream would be to bring the stars of this show to this festival, to honor the young people who resolutely stood up to share their poignant stories with the rest of the nation and world, and let them serve as the powerful reminder that our nation's commitment to children, the hope of our future, needs rekindling."

This intrepid RVer is making preparations for her most ambitious cross-country journey ever, an endeavor called, appropriately enough, Learning Curve Express, to inform and inspire lawmakers and the general public about invisible homelessness.


Contact Diane Nilan, 630-267-5424