Travis County Juvenile Justice Center (TCJJC) and CreativeWorks Partner with MFS.

We finished 2009 with a luminous 4-day PSA workshop with 14 adjudicated youth at the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center.  There were lots of firsts for everyone, starting with the TCJJC who took a chance on us with their first intensive film making workshop for youth.  And it was our first CreativeWorks project with the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice (Youth4Change) from the UT School of Social Work.


As predicted, it went brilliantly.  The time commitment for youth participation was significant,  involving 8 hours each day for 4 days.   The TCJJC staff was pleased that we were able to effectively engage the youth for the duration of the entire workshop, including nearly 64 hours of instruction.  This successful engagement is a testament to the effectiveness of our unique method.  Our approach is to combine hands on engagement with a style of teaching that is to ask and draw from our students, rather than telling them what to do.  These youth who participated in our workshop experience gained some real tools in the form of critical thinking, storytelling and learning the art of respectful collaboration.  Additionally, there are a few students for whom we will work hard to find appropriate industry mentors in both film and gaming with hope of incubating their current interest and future opportunities in this area of work.  I hope that we have given all the students a new perspective that may change the way they look at themselves and their relationship to the outside world.

We very much look forward to building on this relationship with the county and modeling it to work with other facilities across the state and the nation.  It is an honor to be able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach to those who strive to improve the lives and future of these youth.  

Our special thanks to:

  • Our friends Forrest Novy and David Springer at the Inter-American Institute for Youth Justice (Youth4Justice) from the UT School of Social Work, for honoringus by letting us be the first program in their CreativeWorks initiative.   
  • The leadership of Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt, Judge Jeanne Meurer and Chief Juvenile Probation Officer Estela P. Medina for their innovative approach and devotion to the youth of Travis County.
  • Grrl Action for the awesome modeling of their mentorship program.
  • Picture Box Studios and 2Dine4 for being poised to donate their professional spaces, providing real-world experiences and opportunities for the youth on probation that we hope to work with later in the New Year.
  • Kevin Triplet at Mopac Media always ready to help.
  • Texas Film Commission and the City of Austin for their support.