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Transcripts of Selected Group Discussions on CYC-Net

Since it's founding in 1997, the CYC-Net discussion group has been asked thousands of questions. These questions often generate many replies from people in all spheres of the Child and Youth Care profession and contain personal experiences, viewpoints, as well as recommended resources.

Below are some of the threads of discussions on varying Child and Youth Care related topics.

Questions and Responses have been reproduced verbatim.

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Movies about youth issues

Hi there,

Back in April this group was discussing movies about youth ...

When I was in the Child and Youth Care Program, one of my assignments was to watch the movie "Once Were Warriors" and complete the assigned tasks. This is an older movie made in New Zealand. I had a very hard time finding this movie, but it is an excellent movie. It is not based on just a youth, it's based on a family.


Amanda Popoff

A few years ago just about every group home in our agency had a DVD copy of White Oleander. While I wouldn't recommend it for younger children, it definitely shows a picture of youth in care. Other Good ones in my opinion: Millions (grief and loss issues, moral questions), Crash (for older youth), The Freedom Writers. The Whale Rider. Antwone Fisher.

I think that any movie with a GOOD story can be used in the same manner, One can even pull life lessons out of Comedies (Malibu' Most Wanted – satirizing racial stereotypes), and sometimes horror and Sci-fi (Signs – dealing with grief). But too often my clients are drawn to endless watching of Austin Powers movies.

A film buff Youth Worker
Kent Harmacy

Here is a running list that I keep... if it is of any help.

Listings of films for group care staff who don’t want to think about ratings and content.
Local Hero
Field of Dreams
The Straight Story
The Iron Giant
The Secret Of Roan Inish
How to Make An American Quilt
The Princess Bride
Billy Eliot
Cast Away
Finding Forrester
Bend It Like Beckham
Secondhand Lions
The Dish
You Can Count on Me
Rabbit Proof Fence
Standing in the Shadows of Motown
The Fast Runner
Concert for George
Westside Story
Whale Rider
It’s A Wonderful Life
The Incredibles
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
Touching the Void
Off The Map (teens)
March of the Penguins
To Kill a Mockingbird (teens)
Last Holiday
Akeelah and the Bee
In the Shadow of the Moon
The Great Debaters (teens and with natural discussion time) Wall E My Sisters Keeper (teens and with natural discussion time)

CYCW Educational Films
Tumbleweeds (Mom and daughter)
Life as a House (Parents and Son)
Dogtown and Z-Boys
Pieces of April (Sibling development)
Bend it Like Beckham
Whale Rider
Raising Victor Vargas
Better Luck Tomorrow
The Lost Boys of Sudan (Resiliency)
Brother to Brother (Intergenerational)
The Return (Dad’s and sons)
Bus 174
Elephant (or Zero Day)
Mean Girls (as long as relational aggression has been talked about)
Into the Realms of the Unreal (the impact of being in care?)
Imaginary Heroes (siblings, family dysfunctions))
Off the Map (depression)
Palindromes (grad students working on gender or girls issues)
Grizzly Man (mental health issues)
Edukators (for Radical Youth Work)
March of the Penguins (attachment Theory)
Troop 1500: Girl Scoots Behind Bars (attachment)
A Year w/o Love (HIV)
The Squid and the Whale (depression and SED onset)
Crash (racism)
Summercamp (normalcy and resilience)
The Great Debaters (scene where professor brings student back into the debate class… great golden nugget)
Boy A (re-integration)
The Oscar Nominated Shorts: Live Action 2/21/09
New Boy (Ireland) (resiliency in context and social development)
Up (imaginary dad issues)
My Sister’s Keeper (family ethics, child development)

Peter Rosenblatt

Of interest:

Dear Kent,

Thank you for your movie catalogue which I found myself agreeing with, and enthusing about, in its entirety. You included Bill Forsyth's Local Hero and I thought his 1981 film Gregory's Girl might fit the bill also. One outstanding film I recently watched on dvd was Laurent Cantet's 2009 film Entre Les Murs which was entitled 'The Class' when it was distributed in the UK. This film really touches the spot of the subtleties of the power used by seemingly reasonable liberal adults whose nominal function is to help and to educate youngsters – in this case a class of immigrant 14-year-olds at a school in Paris. I think youngsters and workers should watch this together.

Best wishes,
Charles Sharpe

Without a doubt, my all time favorite is "SMOKE SIGNALS" adapted from Sherman Alexie stories. The poem at the end is magical.

For one about grief and loss and abuse, I would recommend "The Champ" with Ricky Schroeder and Jon Voight.

Alfonso Ramirez, Jr.

Interesting. Good points, but we don't often get many European movies here in Canada evenBritish ones .... unless there's a big name star in it that is. Some just end up in "Art House"theatres that few people go to. There are some "sleeper" hits though (e.g. Bend it Like Beckham) And to get them on video one has to really search out specially video stores. Fortunately there's one not far from me that has a whole wall of Brit films and TV shows on video on Region 1 format too. Funny you mentionedLocal Hero ... I caughtit on TV a couple of months ago.

Oh no!! Not The Champ. I still have memories of seeing when I was a kid..Bawled my eyes out. I wouldn't subject anyone to that tear jerker :). However,have heard that the film Ricky Schroederdirected called Black Cloud is quite good.

Kent Harmacy

While working withyoung peopleof all ages I found watching "Happy Feet" quite entertaining but yet educational – it address issues of relationships as well as co operation etc. One thing we as caregivers did was to ask the group what lessons they had learned while watching the movie. It helped them as well as us to look for life lessons in all we do!

Ruth. M. Bantham

Hi there,

I don't know if the group still discussing movies (about youth issues)is still on-going, but I have been watching some recently that work towards different things that youth deal with that I think can be important.I did also want to add that I think thatmovies/music/etc can be one of the best ways to get kids involved and to talk.

A movie we watched recently at my Practicum (in a Calgary Board of Education Assessment Program), is "Odd Girl out". This dealt with bullying,specifically with teenage girls, butcanalso be directed towards boys. It was surprising to see how many youth had experienced both sides of bullying. All of them stated that at one point they had experienced some level of bullying, and how at other times they experienced different levels of being bullied. The discussion that we had around this topic after the movie, was quite solid with what the kids had to say. It was an experience for me to discover my feelings towards bullying as well, as I was bullied in school. I found it interesting to hear the different experiences of bullying with youth today.

Another movie we have watched recently, again in my practicum, was "Lord of the Flies". I understand that for a lot of people (in Canada at least), it was mandatory to read the book or watch the movie in school, but I never read the book or saw the movie. It is a movie in which youth are essentially stuck on an island. The movie goes through the struggles with leadership (or lack thereof), and how without working together as a team, things can really quickly go bad. We talked about how this works in society. We need leadership that is there to make the decisions about what is happening in our countries (whether we like the leadership or not), we need leadership and help along the way as a young person in school, at work, etc. Teamwork and leadership are vital and key for anything that is important in our society today.

Lastly (although I could continue), is a movie called "Pay it Forward". This is a movie about a young boy who makes the effort to create a better world by "paying it forward". We watched this movie with some of the youth and it was powerful in the sense that the youth were surprised to see how a single kind act can help someone in need (even if it is not forwarded). I personally think that this movie is a movie that can help youth think a bit more about their actions towards friends, families and even strangers, and realize that an act of kindness can stretch farther than ever imagined.


Alicia Mcleod

The discussion about movies has been interesting. Alicia Mcleod offers some interesting suggestions.

We tend to talk a lot about children's behavior.Beliefs and values and feelings and emotions have more to do with behavior than the consequences that adults arrange.They motivate behavior and determine which consequences affect behavior -- real life consequences rather than rewards (bribes) and punishments.Carefully selected movies are an excellent way to teach children about feelings and emotions and to help them develop values.

I wonder if there is a resource list of movies with a brief description of what they can help to teach that would help practitioners to plan.

John Stein
New Orleans

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