Locals Launch Project to Inform the Community of Foster Care
Tamar Sasson CEO/Producer of “Love is never wasted” film, Nathaniel Matanick Director of Love is never wasted” film, and Creator/Publisher of “Listen”, Christina Matanick Co-creator of Love is never wasted” film, and Creator/Publisher “Listen” (Photo: Josh Newton)
By Kara Pearson
Last week, on Thursday, May 24, Santa Barbara locals Nathanael and Christina Matanick celebrated the launch of their latest book Listen: Stories We Carry With Us From House to House at Ace Rivington, a local clothing store inside the La Arcada Plaza. They partnered with the store's owner, Beau Lawrence, who donated 15% of the day's online Ace Rivington profits for Angels Foster Care of Santa Barbara.
The Matanick's dedicated the night to educating the community about foster care by introducing Listen with a book signing and followed it up with a screening of their latest film: “Love is Never Wasted,” which tells the story of a young boy who was placed in the foster care system.
The book is a compilation of true short stories, poems, artwork, and vignettes that highlight the resiliency of youth who've experienced foster care. With the publishing of this anthology, they hope to bring change to the lives of the children who are currently in the foster care system.
“The impact we hope to bring is really embodied in the title: that people would listen,” said Christina Matanick, “That kids would feel heard. That change would come for them. That caring adults in their lives would choose to get involved. That kids would realize there is hope, they can have a different future. That their past does not define them. Because a huge hurdle is just the human connection: for people to empathize, to care, to understand. That element of humanity, of caring and empathizing, makes a tremendous difference for kids impacted by foster care.”
They started their journey in publishing this book by connecting with different networks to invite foster care youth and alumni to submit bodies of work to add to the book. They then set out to begin a crowd-funding campaign to cover the costs of creation for Listen. Now that they have reached a distribution phase, their number one goal for distribution is to get this book into the hands of every teenager in foster care.
“The kids who have already received it just love it and feel so empowered by it. Hearing others' stories that are like their own is empowering and encouraging, because it helps them feel a sense of community and hope that they too can overcome their pasts,” said Christina.
After attending an adoption conference at Santa Barbara Community Church, the Matanick’s started a short-film series called "ReMoved" that has been produced into three films. This year they premiered the latest film: “Love is Never Wasted” at the 2019 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. They worked with film-producer Tamar Sasson of Awakened Muse to produce this film locally in the Santa Barbara area.
“The ReMoved series have had a profound impact on the child welfare system throughout the United States. Countless agencies and government organizations use them to train foster parents, social workers, judges, attorneys, educators, and medical providers,” said Christina.
The film has since taken flight internationally and was awarded “Best Foreign Film” at the Toronto International Film Festival and also recently received its second award, “Best Narrative Film” from the Child Welfare Film Festival in New York City.
"Listen: Stories We Carry With Us From House to House" was funded through Kickstarter with the help of those in the foster care community. The book is available for purchase here and locally at Ace Rivington here.