(Chicago, Illinois--July 19, 2012) Thanks to significant support from AT&T and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens' Graduate to Go initiative, Dreaming Tree Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) are giving more than 200 youth a unique experience to create a feature film this summer that will benefit BGCA's youth education efforts.
The feature film called "The Stream" – a coming-of-age family comedy set in 1981 - began filming July 16th in Philadelphia, PA with some 200 teens from Boys & Girls Clubs across the country working on the film. Each crew of teens will be mentored on-set by film pros as they collectively create the film. Youth will work directly with celebrities (TBA) who will add their star power and show their belief in the cause by appearing in the film.
The film will premiere nationwide in winter 2013 with a significant portion of the producer's income benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs youth education efforts. Just by watching or renting the film, millions across America can support BGCA's efforts to curb America's dropout epidemic. This national crisis affects 7,000 American teenagers daily resulting in some 1,200,000 students each year that don't graduate with their class.
Beth Shiroishi, AT&T vice president of Sustainability and Philanthropy, said that AT&T is supporting the program as part of AT&T Aspire, a $350 million initiative to help more students graduate from high school prepared for college or careers. "We're looking to find new ways to engage students in their education and get them excited about learning as part of our AT&T Aspire initiative. The Fresh Films Feature provides students with the interactive, hands on experience they need to connect their learning to real world opportunities and possible future careers," she said.
The Taco Bell Foundation for Teens also joins the project as part of its Graduate to Go initiative, a national program to motivate teens to graduate high school and reach their full potential in life. Graduate to Go funds more than 350 real-world experiences annually that provide teens with college, career and leadership opportunities. "Making a movie is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these teens, and Graduate to Go is proud to be one of the forces behind this project," said Greg Creed, chief executive officer, Taco Bell Corp. and chairman, Taco Bell Foundation for Teens. "We're also excited about the film's potential to raise funds for dropout prevention programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and continue making an impact on teens' lives well beyond its release.
AT&T and Taco Bell Foundation for Teens' Graduate to Go Initiative, along with Century 21, Shure Incorporated, ComEd an Exelon corporation, and ITW, teamed up with the Dreaming Tree Foundation to create the film to support BGCA because they all share a commitment to youth. The film is part of Dreaming Tree's Fresh Films initiative that has been engaging teens behind the camera since 2004.
Frank Sanchez, vice president, sports, entertainment and alumni development for the BGCA added, "Summer break provides us with a very unique opportunity to engage youth in exciting learning opportunities outside the classroom which we believe will encourage their return to the classroom this September. It's important that learning doesn't stop when the school bell rings or school gets out for summer, because youth cannot afford to take a vacation from learning if they want to be successful."
In early 2013, "The Stream" will debut nationwide in theatres and on DVD. A large portion of the revenue generated from the film will support Boys & Girls Clubs of America's efforts to combat the high school dropout crisis that claims one million kids each year – 28.3% of all teens.
For more than 25 years, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have been committed to strengthening communities through advancing education. In 2008, we launched AT&T Aspire, specifically focused on confronting the high school dropout crisis to help ensure that students graduate prepared for the future challenges of continuing education and the workforce. An educated workforce for the future is not only critical to the success of our nation, but to the success of our company as well. We need these students to power the possibility economy of today — and more importantly — of tomorrow.
ABOUT TACO BELL FOUNDATION FOR TEENS
The Taco Bell Foundation, Inc., also known as the Taco Bell Foundation for Teens, a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation, is committed to addressing the growing number of high school dropouts in the U.S. Through its Graduate to Go initiative, the Foundation funds real-world experiences, such as job training and college preparation, proven to motivate teens to stay in school. Each year, Graduate to Go serves more than 100,000 teens through programs including its Graduate to Go Multi-Media Studios, Graduate to Go Business Camp, and the National Keystone leadership program. Since 1995, more than $30 million has been donated to support teen programs at Boys & Girls Clubs of America and other teen-serving organizations with the help of on-going customer, franchisee and employee donations. For more information about Graduate to Go, visit http://www.graduatetogo.com,
and find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GraduateToGo
ABOUT FRESH FILMS & DREAMING TREE FOUNDATION
Since 2004 Dreaming Tree Foundation's Fresh Films program has been giving thousands of youth from cities coast to coast the chance to put their creativity and their confidence to action by creating films and documentaries that premiere nationwide. More than just movie magic, the Fresh Films program is about inspiring youth to realize their potential and see that any dream is within their reach - all through the lens of film, technology and art. For more information visit: http://www.dreamingtreefoundation.org
ABOUT BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF AMERICA
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (GreatFutures.org) has enabled young people most in need to achieve great futures as productive, caring, responsible citizens. Today, nearly 4,000 Clubs serve 4.1 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native American lands throughout the country. Children and families of the U.S. Armed Services receive Club programs and support through BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers located on U.S. military installations worldwide. Clubs provide a safe place, caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Club programs promote academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. In a Harris Survey of alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta. Learn more at http://bgca.org/facebook