LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- An estimated 200 teenagers living in Lewiston are homeless. It was a number that surprised members of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council. Even more surprising was realizing some of them were peers, classmates, and friends.
When LYAC President Kon Maiwan found out his friend Kendra overcame homelessness, he knew he had to do something.
"Before graduation, I wanted to make a difference," said Kon, a student at Lewiston High School.
He pitched an idea to the other LYAC members: make a documentary about homeless teens in Lewiston. They interviewed two homeless teens and created "Kat & Kendra."
The 30 minute documentary debuts Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Lewiston City Hall.
The screening was originally scheduled for L/A Arts Downstage, but has been moved to a larger venue to accomodate increased RSVP's.
The student filmmakers said they hope it will shed light on the prevelance of homeless youth.
According to the National Coalition for the Homless, one out of every three homeless persons are under the age of 18, and between 1.6 and 1.7 million people under the age of 18 will experience homelessness each year.
"It's kids who are living in other friends' houses -- they're not living on the streets," said Megan Pare, Lewiston High School student. "They're living in cars, so you don't see it."
After interviewing two of the estimated 200 homeless teens in Lewiston, members of the youth council want to see a change.
"I want to see understanding from people," said Matt Chasse, a student at Saint Dominic Academy.
"I want to see understanding that these people go through hard times in their lives, and that they need to be noticed," said Chasse.
The film also highlights resources available in Lewiston to help teens facing homelessness, such as the New Beginnings Shelter and the Lewiston High School STEP Program.
The youth council will be collecting donations for the New Beginnings Shelter and the STEP Program at the film screening, and is looking for:
- Scholarship donations
- Pillows, blankets, sheet sets
- Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, tissues
- Grocery gift cards
- Paper towels, toilet paper
- Granola bars, juices, bottled water
- Pens, pencils, markers, binders, notecards, poster boards, notebooks
- Computer USB thumb drives
- Other related supplies