Freedom Writer to encourage Stanislaus County youths
by PI Staff
Aug 01, 2013 | 1252 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In an effort to inspire the youth of Stanislaus County, original freedom writer Manny Scott will share his story of resilience and the power of compassion on Wednesday, August 7 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Modesto High School auditorium at 18 H St. in Modesto.

The event, co-sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, Foster Youth Services, Modesto City Schools and California Mental Health Services Authority, is free to all public recipients and hopes to illustrate how children can successfully turn away from violence and gang related activity.

Scott will help kick off the school year by inspiring students to “turn the page” and equipping parents and educators to reach youth.

Many Americans, and school children in Patterson first became aware of Scott’s rise from a gang and drug-infested neighborhood in Long Beach through “Marcus” in the hit MTV movie, “Freedom Writers,” starring Hilary Swank.

Since the film’s release, Scott’s authentic and inspiring message of hope has galvanized almost one million educators, business leader, community volunteers and youth, according to a release by the Stanislaus County Office of Education.

Tarah High, a teacher at Patterson High School and former student, said the movie has continued to be used in classroom settings from a variety of teachers. This is due to the versatility of the film’s teachings and inspirational message intended for young adults struggling with their studies and surroundings.

Former PHS graduate Nick Kleckner declared he wasn’t surprised they were still showing the film in high school, despite its release in 2007.

“It seemed like a good motivator to finish the school year,” he said. “And it made me appreciate being able to do something outside of the box to make a big impact.”

PHS football junior varsity assistant coach and former graduate Eric Marroquin said the movie could also be taken out of the school’s context and placed into everyday situations as well.

“Even though people put on a face, behind that, there’s more to them. Sometimes, I like to do things like that with my players,” he said. “I saw it and liked what it was about.”

Despite the movie’s critical acclaim, Scott intended to push his experience further by becoming a motivational speaker for the youth.

“Life, at its best, is about helping others make the most of their lives,” Scott said. “My life was changed because others took the time to let me know they care, and I believe it is my duty to love and serve others in the same way, helping people turn the page in their lives from despair to hope and from mediocrity to excellence.”

“Each day is a page in our life’s story,” Scott said. “We hide those stories, maybe live in fear of others reading them. But seeing how much detail our stories share gives us license to close that chapter with control, not fear. Then, we start a new chapter—and that transforms, not just lives, but organizations, departments, classrooms, and schools.”

Tom Changnon, the Stanislaus County Superintendent of Schools, believes the goal of the event is to gain more understanding and how to reach and motivate the youth to succeed.

“For anyone who plays a role in reaching the youth in our communities, this event is an opportunity for revitalization and a chance to remember the zeal that first put you on a course to working with children,” he said.

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