Joe's Place: Where Are They Now?
It was a decade ago when filmmaker Matt Seilback, an MRH district parent and enthusiastic booster, set out to shoot a documentary about Joe's Place, the innovative Maplewood home which offers homeless teenage boys a caring environment that supports them for high school graduation, self-sufficiency, and positive transitions into their adult lives. Wednesday, the original residents -- Fred Taylor, Jeff Ensor, and Steven Parks -- reunited with current JP resident Josh Helle to update their life's endeavors before an audience in the high school theatre. The presentation was part of a newly-released short film, "Joe's Place: Where Are They Now?", featuring fresh interviews and footage.
Each young man expressed gratitude to their JP house parents for treating them with respect and patience, something sorely lacking in their own homes. They credited Joe's Place for giving them the resources they needed to level the playing field as they inched toward graduation and college.
They also acknowledged that life outside of MRH has been a tough go, perhaps tougher even than what they endured as homeless teens struggling with broken families. But today, they feel better equipped to confront the major challenges of work and parenthood.
Also on hand for the screening was MRH Director of Student Services Vince Estrada, who pointed out that in the ten years since the original Joe's Place film was introduced, the number of homeless teenagers in the St. Louis region has increased from about 1,500 to 2,500.
The discussion was moderated by MRH Superintendent of Schools Karen Hall and emceed by JP board president Heath Moylan.
For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.