A couple of years ago, I met a producer. I had told him all about shelters and how many homeless women, children, teens, veterans and families there are in America. I also discussed my non-profit Break The Cycle, our website RBRW.org and the web shows and socially conscious entertainment, and to my surprise he was really interested.
"I feel ashamed, Jacquelyn," he confessed, "You do so much to make a difference!" I then introduced him to my mentor Sandra Ramos at her shelter Strengthen Our Sisters. He was beside himself, overwhelmed by how many children there were at the shelter. Being a father of two children, the idea of homeless children deeply troubles him. From that moment on, it has been our collective mission to make a difference and bring along as many people in the entertainment industry as possible.
He introduced me to Ray Rosario who was at the time volunteering as a stage manager for the dance group KR3T's which serves underprivileged kids in NYC. Ray recounted his work with the play and the construction of a village he is having built in Africa. I instantly admired his energy and genuine efforts to make a difference in this world. I informed Ray about The NIMBY Project and my dedication to makeover shelters. The number of homeless children he saw at the shelter shocked Ray. I asked him if he would paint murals for the shelters while helping the children learn to paint. He was thrilled! We have been trying to do this ever since.
He later contacted the actor Luis Guzman, and we finally met him at Cha Cha's restaurant, one of our committee members. I showed Luis my first film Not In My Back Yard, of which a 100 percent of the profits go to saving battered women and children shelters across America. "Jacquelyn, this documentary is riveting. I've never seen anything like it!" said Luis, deeply moved by the film. So a group of us, including Eddie Garcia and Luis' son Cemi, headed to the shelters.
Everyone was impressed and deeply moved by the number of people these homeless shelters help and heal. These shelters understand the dynamics of abuse, violence, homelessness, and poverty. In order to heal and break the cycle, you need programs and a dedicated staff. The staff is extremely caring and invested in their communities to help and mobilize those in need. This is essential to making a difference. Today, many shelters around the country have had major cutbacks, reducing the dedicated staff, numerous community programs, and the needed social services that serve the communities of OUR OWN BACKYARDS.
But Luis Guzman had a idea: "What if I go homeless?"
I loved it. So did Ray. But I didn't want people to recognize Luis because he would get special treatment. We wanted to show how real homeless people lived and survived. So I created the concept of the show and that is how The NIMBY Experience was born. I wanted to show how celebrities are treated and how the homeless are treated. There is such a difference sadly. The team absolutely loved the idea. The sat with me for weeks going over the concept and how we would shoot it. Then an amazing thing happened! Ray and his sister Evelyn put their heart and soul into the project and financed the film and shooting of The NIMBY Experience. I couldn't believe the opportunity had finally come. All you need is for one person to believe in you to make others see.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT.
"And thank YOU for your time, dedication, and continued support! Most of all, thank you for getting to know each one of us and our project a little better. You are now a part of the movement. Celebrate change; we are the experience! The opportunity has finally come for all of us to make a difference in our own communities."