I think the biggest thing that I got out of it initially was—well in any youth caregiver experience you do feel that you’re isolated and that you’re the only person doing this—but it was very fascinating to me to know that there were several other youth. They were younger than me at that time but they were still doing it, and to realize that there were other people in your own community that are doing caregiving experiences so much like yours was fascinating to me. You just don’t assume that this could happen in your own community.
So about March of 2010, I was approached by [coordinator youth caregivers group] who was heading up a pilot project to raise awareness around youth caregiving in our community of [city in BC]. Initially we got together with 15-16 youth and young adults, former, current, or supporters of youth caregivers, and we wanted to create a way, an effective way, to raise awareness. And the traditional way would be to create a pamphlet, but then I’ve seen so many pamphlets either thrown on the floor or in the garbage, and that would just be a big waste of money.
So, the documentary was the way to go. And what made this documentary so unique was how it really was youth driven. We know what it’s like to be in school and to watch these documentaries, and they’re so overpowered by professionals, and it gets really boring. So we wanted to make it just so youth would be able to find something that speaks to them. And then we were lucky enough to have Dr. Grant Charles come, who has been doing research for the past 5 years about youth caregivers in British Columbia and also in the UK. And he had an abundance of information that pertained to what we were talking about. So, we were very grateful to have him there for that.
But the script, the way we wanted things filmed, everything was done by the youth, and even down to the most minute detail. I think it gave them a sense of confidence and a brush up on their self-esteem just to have this experience, and to have their mark made on something. And so, we had the launch and then we created our support group about a month after that.