Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Documentary "Rebounding From Loss" to air Saturday on WBAL; Baltimore basketball team's commitment to each other and reducing violence is an inspiring tale

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a private screening of a new documentary that will air on WBAL TV (Channel 11) this Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. It was a privilege because I got to experience the film with the young men who were at the center of the documentary.

“Rebounding from Loss - A Season with a 6th Man” chronicles the basketball season of a team from Benjamin Franklin at Masonville Cove, a new high school in Curtis Bay. The players dedicated their season to a team member who died from an accidental shooting. WBAL's Deborah Weiner followed the team, chronicling their story.

If this was a movie review, the headline would read “You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry - You’ll Leave Uplifted”. These are young men who are instantly likable and through the course of the documentary one gets to see them as the youngsters they are - playful and smart, yet very much aware that one wrong move could cost them their lives.

According to 2011 Neighborhood Health Profile data the Health Department released in December, the Curtis Bay/Brooklyn/Hawkins Point area is a part of Baltimore where the rates of poverty and single parent households are slightly above the citywide average and the rates of homicide and non-fatal shootings are 24% and 12% higher, respectively. What’s so uplifting about this documentary is that these kids and their community are not letting themselves be defined by the statistics.  

We often focus on risk factors for youth violence to the exclusion of protective factors. This documentary paints a vivid picture of the aspects of real life that keep kids and their communities safe. Some of the most important protective factors include:
  • Good adult role models – their coach, their principal and their fallen teammate’s mom are top among them.
  • Strong peer networks – it’s clear that these young men have goals and dreams (all the graduating seniors are going to college) and they are supporting each other as brothers would.
  • Strong connection to their school.
  • Involved in team sports – I can’t say enough about the discipline, focus and mutual accountability one learns from playing a team sport.
I highly recommend seeing this documentary with your friends, your kids and their friends and anyone else that can influence a youth’s life. It’s a perfect example of how we all play a role in reducing violence.

It's fortunate the release coincides with National Youth Violence Prevention Week. There are more than 70 events around Baltimore this week. Check out our Youth Violence Prevention Week webpage for a full listing of events and more information.

Take care B’More.