Archives: Seasons 1-5
Segment | Economy

Is Anybody Listening?

It was a class project born out of a discussion of the American Dream—an eight-minute video titled "Is Anybody Listening?" in which students at Village Academy High School in Pomona gave their own accounts of struggling with foreclosure, hunger and the looming threat of homelessness. Five months later, that video received a very public mention by President Barack Obama. Correspondent John Larson brings us the story.

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thats my sister yvonne!

then you must be very proud of what she's made and how far she got.

I have been working with this group of extraordinary students since January. To see their dream of getting their message to the President reach it's fullest potential it one thing. To be a part of getting them in front of the President for a face-to-face has been a dream come true for everyone involved. Thanks to Karen Foshay and KCET for showing this journey in such a heartfelt, poignant, segment was incredible. Thanks to Karen and the team for this amazing piece!


Great story on the Village Academy kids!
Very well done and very professional. It's good to see an in depth report on teenagers who are doing positive things.

Those are my people, my former classmates, my friends, and our leaders of tommorrow...Great Job

There are likely tens of thousands of students facing hardships
like those in these troubling stories. All these young people deserve better. So what organizations are giving help to families like this? Other than cash contributions what can a citizen who is not in CA do for these young people in Pomona or elsewhere? Perhaps a how you can help section would be an idea.

Good reporting! The Pomona students have exemplary values.

I was very moved by this story. It's a wonderful example of public education and public television at their best.

This breaks my heart. In the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth, to see stories like this is a shame.

Where are our priorities?

This is where the bonus money the AIG execs. are getting should go.

You guys are an inspiration to us all! Hang in there, things will get better! I see amazing potential in your compassion, focus and ability to be heard.

Is there a fund(having honest accountability and oversight) set up to help these kids at Pamona Academy High or can one directly contribute to to their student/student share program?

This is the best human interest story I've seen about our economic situation anywhere, and it was devilishly hard to find it on your web site. The point is not that Obama visited these kids but what they and their teacher did to attract his, and our, attention. Should be mandatory viewing in every board room and congressional committee dealing with this crisis.

The story as shown on the newshour was an eye opener. Thank you to all of the amazing students who made it happen.

It is amazing just how many of you lemings believe the liar and self indulger Obama

Good Luck!

How odd (and sad) for Harvey to use this particular forum and topic to share his personal frustrations and negativity. My appreciation to KCET for bringing us this story and to the students for their courage to share, conviction to make it happen and social conscience to make things better for others.

I viewed the segment on the News Hour last evening wherein students from the high achool academy related their hardships resulting from the economic turndown. I don't if it's permitted but I'd like to have the address of Chris Schultz and his family do that I can send them a $1,000. check. If that is not possible, perhaps you would notify him to contact me by emal at "".


Paul Porter

Remarkable story. At the risk of starting yet another worthy charitable fund, how can people help this group of amazing kids and the teacher that encouraged them to make this video?

I was so impressed with the video, "Is Anybody Listening" that it brought tears to my eyes. I want to help fulfil their dream of helping to fill their refrigerators with food. I hope the Obama Administration will come through with their grants to students for college tuition.

I need an address of the school, Village high school, to send a donation. I wish this had been available on the screen so other people could also donate to these kids and their families. Congrats to the teacher and students for making this informative video for the world to see their needs.

To make matters even worse for these struggling students, a 1/3rd of the Pomona school district is due to be laid off. For some of them, their teachers have been the one stabilizing element in their lives. Arnold should be ashamed of himself.

I was deeply touched by your story.

No child in America should worry about such things!

How can I help?

Yves Gerem
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dallas, Texas

I was as deeply touched by this story as others who have commented. As I watched this expose, I wondered how in the world can we expect these kids to concentrate on school work when their whole world is falling apart and when they have so many more serious concerns? I would like to help. Can you tell me how I might do that?

I can think of no more moving and powerful message to send to California officials and to members of the U.S. House and Senate than to forward the Village Academy video to these decision makers. I plan to send it to my Senators and Representatives. The dull statistics which our lawmakers read have been given life through the personal reflections of these Village Academy students. Thank you and your teacher for your inspiring actions and your courage.

Note: For people who want to make monetary contributions can you post information to provide some comfort level that the donations will indeed reach projects initiated by these students. To echo a previous writer, donors would like accountability and transparency.

This story had me in tears. Aside from being sad for the students who made the video, I was also deeply proud that I have the good fortune to live in a country with such thoughtful and innovative kids, who took the initiative and found a way to be heard. I would like to help and would welcome some clear direction where I and others who feel the same can make contributions for those whose stories we viewed. Also, is there anyway I could obtain a copy of their video to show to others? Keeping teachers like the ones these children are blessed to have should be a priority.

What a tremendous story...I was truly touched. As a high school teacher for 45 years, I think I understand some of their feelings, their thoughts. NO YOUNG PERSON SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH SUCH TRAMA...but, alas this is the real world for some teenagers. They are paying the price because, in part, bad decisions (or at least inaction) by tge adult world. A question...what can I do to help? Secondly, how can I get a copy of this program (maybe even in VCR) to present to my school? Thanks- in advance- for your response!

"Yours in the Spirit of Quan Yin," Mike Berry /

This is such a moving video with a powerful message. I commend these intellectual students for their courage, compassion and insight. I pray that they will have the opportunity to fulfill their hopes and dreams. We could all learn from this group of students. I will send this to everyone I know in hopes that we can help these young people and their families. KEEP THE FAITH!!!!!! Thanks to KCET for helping send the message!

For all of you interested in helping these kids, please contact Kim Washburn at VMA Communications:

KCET New Media

I have watched the video several times and it makes me cry each time. We have been focusing on the Adults and the financial crisis in America, but not considered the impact this has had on our children. I am so very proud of the students that came forth and told their stories. I am grateful for teachers who move students to speak out. I am especially proud of Maritza Barba for her courage. I have confindence in our President to help us through this economic crisis. Meanwhile, hang in there all who struggle with finances and thank you to the students of Pomona Academy for opening our eyes to your pain and suffering. May God Bless you and God Bless America.

Financial Fallout & New Beginnings!

President Obama is having to go on TV and nationwide US channels to defend himself. Is the ‘honeymoon period’ over? There is a much widely used phrase ‘be careful what you wish for. It might come true.’ It could be said that it has come TRUE for this US President. Can any one man wave some magic wand and make the financial US mess disappear?

Whilst the question was rhetorical the answer is surely not!

Sometimes a person stepping outside the box, can see and maybe understand more. As a person from the UK and from the outside looking in things do not look good! It could be argued that it is and will be considerably worse here within the UK, for we are more exposed, we have a Prime Minister and Chancellor who lacks the ability, fails to listen, maybe has the unenviable ability to understand and has been described in many quarters as a ‘ditherer.’

So what are the options? The most important thing when there is a leak, is, damage limitation, to plug it, repair the hole, where the leak is! The problem is that, there has been a failure for many to understand exactly where the leak is, how or where it all began. Many have blamed it on the uncontrolled mortgage lending but these could have been plugged, managed, to lessen the impact, the damage, that was inflicted, not just in the US but around the world. It seems to myself and many others that the US stock market was the instrument by which, this was allowed to escalate. I was one of many who watched as a trader on a US business channel came on our screens and stated re the collapse of Lehman Brothers that this is the tip of the iceberg, there will be so many differing aspects of collapse of the financial markets such as credit defaults swaps, derivatives… To be perfectly honest with you I didn’t then understand what they were but more importantly many others so called financial experts, people who had been in the stock market industry did not understand what this one lowly trader was warning us all about and the catastrophic implications.

It was the great broadcaster the late Mr. Alistair Cooke who many decades earlier had described and likened Wall Street as a great big casino where bets were being placed and huge amounts of money was being made and lost and made reference to the Depression. It was a lesson which many of us failed to learn and understand and rules and constraints were relaxed. ‘Free markets’ were the buzzwords, seen as the panaceas to thriving markets, ever increasing profit without the understanding that one person’s profit is many other persons debt. Billion dollar take-overs and buy-outs were seen as being better for all the countries around the world. Things were global! What is true is that those who have had the money and wealth and were involved in the Stock Market, have adopted an aspect of protectionism. It has been stated that many of them are sitting on a beach enjoying their millions and waiting to ride out the financial storm, the ‘credit crunch’ to come back with more money and clout. How much of this is true, only time will tell.

There is no denying that Mr Timothy Geithner is a very intelligent man and many of his decisions make sense but can one man understand it all, the mess we are all in! Many of Mr. Geithner’s actions make logical sense and are true solutions and he should be commended and not condemned.

So what are the options, the solutions: -
1 – A fool would throw money at it, into a burning fire and what as is the result, burnt ashes;
2 – many have argued for to allow the banks to go under but would we all be in a bigger mess? Probably;
3 – It has been argued that Protectionism is not the answer but have not banks in the US and UK both adopted an aspect of Protectionism re their respective survival and restructuring and either held onto the money governments have given away to them or used it to buy other banks and found themselves with more handouts and bailouts? Is there a need for respective countries to adopt an aspect of short-term Protectionism, to get their countries into some kind of order and stability? Probably;
4 – there needs to be a BANK of USA created. A bank where individuals and struggling companies can go to for financial, assessment and assistance! Companies which can show 3-5 years of profit or potential profit should be financially helped, with guidance and tight controls. The financial persons who lost their jobs should be retrained to assist in this process;
5 - A bank where a family’s house mortgage can be extended by many more years and/or where the respective offspring’s can take-on the future debt of their parents, to keep a roof over a family’s head, so they do not become homeless and a burden to the state. A human long-term approach!
6 – such a bank needs to be created, setup in the UK, a BANK of UK;
7 – the US, UK and other countries need to invest in it’s infrastructure. That means invest and build more railway tracks and provide more trains. To ‘future-proof’ the US, investments and grants made re renewable energy and industries. Climate change should be the catalyst and driving force, to clean-up industries, to stop waste, to create and develop a healthier industry, society and community;

These are the first steps… like a new baby learning for the first time to stand up and walk…


I Believe…

Sorry in my haste yesterday, I temporarily forgot the following lyrics from my past…
It conveys everything re these and most other children and how and why WE ADULTS should INVEST & DEVOTE are time, energy and efforts!

George Benson
The Greatest Love of all

I believe that children are our are future…
Teach them well… and let them lead the way…
Show them all the beauty they possess inside…
Give them a sense of pride…. to make it easier…
Let the children's laughter… remind us how we used to be…..

Words by Linda Creed, Music by Michael Masser
Copyright © 1977 Gold Horizon Music Corp. & Golden Torch Music Corp.


This story had me in tears, As i sat and watched this story with my eldest son. who said "LET'S SEE IF WE CAN HELP", As he saw the sadness and tears running down my face. I was excited to hear what these children had to say. yet, it really saddens me to know that so many other young children, just like them will never be heard or helped. This is reality. and it sucks! I would also like to help, with food and clothing. and encouraging words if at all possible.

John Larson is going to win an EMMY for 'Is Anybody Listening.' This is a remarkable wake up America
piece of Film Making.
KUDOS John Larson, ya make me proud to be an American!

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