A Documentary About Youth With and Without Disabilities Learning and Working Together
Video is open captioned
Onscreen Text: World Interdependence Fund
Onscreen Text: In association with the California Department of Rehabilitation and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Onscreen Text: Presents Discover Interdependence.
Onscreen Text: Produced by William Bronston, M.D.
Unnamed Teen: Sometimes I'm the last to know how I'm feeling. Everybody else around me has already figured it out it looks like...
Unnamed Teen: Yeah that what it is.
Edward Olmos: We are nearing the end of a century that has encompassed developments that boggle the mind. We live in a time that truly overwhelms most of us. A time when change and chaos, suffering and uncertainty seem to dominate the world scene. A time when the decision to build world harmony and community could not be more urgent or reachable.
My name is Edward James Olmos and this is Bree Walker As friends, and as parents, we personally struggle with some very tough questions about our future.
Bree Walker: Given today's realities, what legacy will we leave to our children, and their children? What answers? What wisdom? What institutions will promote justice, dignity, mutual respect, economic security, peace, caring and nurturing of the human spirit?
Edward Olmos: And who will accept and carry on the efforts to bring these visions to life? How do we convince our children that life is worth living? That living with love and dedication to ideals matters to anyone? We want to show you a program that makes youth the ultimate voyagers, who carry forward our dreams and aspirations?
Bree Walker: The World Interdependence Fund has, for a decade, committed itself to building a new future by transforming young people, teaching them to care, to cooperate to lead!
Edward Olmos: The agenda that propels youth to fulfill their best destiny is interdependence. Embracing full inclusion of everyone. Including those with the most significant disabilities.
Bree Walker: What is truly different about the World Interdependence Fund's vision is its absolute conviction that every young person is unique, has power and a positive role to play in society. Beyond that, the World Interdependence Fund views "disability", with its harsh stigma, as a label that could apply to any and all of us in a thousand ways. Our very notion of "disability" flows from our unwillingness to truly value and accommodate the astonishing diversity of human being.
Edward Olmos: Discover Interdependence, is the first step in this transformation process. One hundred high school teenagers, their teachers and national mentors attend a week long adventure based training. Half of the kids have disabilities, some visible, some invisible, and the other half are quote "regular kids". Once involved as peers, the youth with disabilities contribute a strength and humanity that catapult everyone to a new level of awareness. Not charity. Not pity. But openness, resolve and strength.
Bree Walker: What you will see is real change in each person, a change so deep and important that it warrants closely watching this film. And thinking how this can be done in more places. This is the discovery of interdependence.
Unnamed Teen: If you wouldn't mind sharing, and this is up to you too, I'd like to know what, what the condition was with your hip? The physical situation.
Robert: Well I have Cerebral Palsy, and see when I was born a nerve severed in my neck.
Unnamed Teen: When I'm very nervous I start to stutter. And I know at times... Excuse me... it's very embarrassing, see, just like it is right now.
Unnamed Teen: I cannot click to get reading. I am catching up to it now but I couldn't take a regular high school.
Unnamed Teen: I'm okay in a lot of sports, but I'm not good enough to make the high school team. Or something like that. There's always just those guys who always specialize in sport, you know that's their sport man, and you just can't compete with them.
Unnamed Teen: I have Muscular Dystrophy, it's like... a... like, it's like it eats like my muscles like, it makes me weak.
Unnamed Teen: A lot of my emotions are like bottled up, because I don't really trust people to understand, so I just keep it to myself a lot.
Unnamed Teen: It's in the small groups that really kill me, you know 2 or 3 people. You know you're really trying to talk to them because then there's no place you can blend into if you really make a fool out of yourself you know.
Unnamed Teen: You're disabled... you're disabled... he's disabled, everybody is disabled. Just that some you can and some are not noticeable.
Bree Walker: What's wrong? Where does this come from? Why do these teenagers learn to live in isolation? Fear? Self doubt? Why do we teach them to see the imperfections in life? And in themselves? Instead of embracing the beauty and wonder in both? Pablo Cassals, the great musician said this:
Edward Olmos: Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe. A moment that never was before and will never be again. And what do we teach our children in school? We teach them that two and two make four. And that Paris is the Capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them. Do you know what you are? You are a Marvel. You are unique. In all the world there is no other child exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. And look at yourself, what a wonder you are. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.
Bree Walker: Why do we teach our children to see themselves as flawed, less than perfect? Their qualities and contributions, less that wanted, unappreciated. Discover Interdependence is a program where kids experience a new experience a new kind of teaching. A new kind of learning.
Mark: Hello. Hello. My name is Mark.
Bree Walker: It's an arrival at a place beyond the shortcomings and disabilities we've all learned. Past the low expectations. The fear and self doubt. The insecurities and stereotyping. For these kids, the first experience of real interdependence was at a camp in the mountains of California. But it can be anywhere. Any place where kids are encouraged to find the unique wonders in each of us. Where they can discover a new kind of self worth and empowerment.
Talking in background: Why am I here? Why am I doing this?
Ed Roberts: When we recognize that we're all different. And the difference is enriching, that our differences are attractive and what we learn from each other. and that difference itself is something that we can use to get to know each other. And to help us chart the future. And it's a future where, anyone that want to... and anyone that needs a little help, can live in the community. It's an integrated future. When we talk about integration, it's not just for people who are black or Asian, it's for all of us. It's for all of us to be a part of each other.
Edward Olmos: Ed Robert was the director of the State Department of Rehabilitation for eight years. Because of Polio as a teenager he uses a wheelchair and needs a respirator to breath. But nothing confines his of beauty spirit and commitment, a commitment to share his special insight and experiences. A commitment to help young people work past their remarkable disabilities. Their doubts, fears.
Ed Roberts: There are two things I want to let you know. One, that you can do it together. No question about it. The second thing is that you personally have to believe in yourself to make it happen. And that takes a lot whether you are disabled or not, to really love yourself and to really believe in yourself. And to believe that you can do something for yourself and for others. And at the end of this week you will, you'll will believe it.
Kat: Yeah. My name is Kat and I choose to do this event.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Jim: My name is Jim and I choose to do this event. Is everybody ready?
Unnamed Teen: Yeah.
Unnamed Teen: I guess we have to be louder, nobody's hearing us!
Unnamed Teen: Yeah.
Josie: My name is Josie and I choose to do this event.
Unnamed Teen: All right Josie.
Edward Olmos: The act of making choices gives each of these kids a new kind of power. A sense of what they can do, of what they can accomplish together. When they choose to climb a rope ladder, or help someone else cross a net. When they can make these choices. They begin to get a brief glimpse of what's possible for them through mutual support. They begin to see the breakthroughs that they can make about themselves. About each other, and about their futures.
Unnamed Teen: Bill you gonna do it? No.
Bill: If you drag me.
Unnamed Teen: You can do it on your own Will. We'll support you. We'll assist you in every way we can.
Unnamed Teen: We can roll you. It is very easy.
Unnamed Teen: See what we do is lift this up and gravity will pull you down.
Unnamed Teen: What we do is keep lifting and he will slowly roll. Would you like to go for it?
Unnamed Teen: You want start with your name and choice.
Bill: I Bill choose to do this.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah Bill.
Unnamed Teen: Way to go.
Bill: Spotters ready?
Unnamed Teen: Ready.
Unnamed Teen: Trust us!
Unnamed Teen: You gotta guide yourself OK.
Unnamed Teen: Pull it tight.
Unnamed Teen: Guide yourself now.
Unnamed Teen: Come on Bill.
Unnamed Teen: Put in any energy you can! It's going to take some effort.
Unnamed Teen: Go Bill.
Unnamed Teen: It's going to take effort on your part too.
Unnamed Teen: Come on man, anything you got give it to us!
Unnamed Teen: Pull it out.
Unnamed Teen: Alright Bill.
Unnamed Teen: Come on.
Edward Olmos: Kids that weren't sure of themselves, or others. They begin trusting. Helping. Guiding. Communicating by touch. A variety of experiences draws them out of themselves and connects them with one another. Slowly at first. The discovery and trust begins to take hold.
Unnamed Teen: The thing that I really liked about it was that you just had to completely trust the person you were being guided by. Because if you took one step the wrong way, you were over the cliff
Unnamed Teen: It's weird to be able to walk around blind-folded not knowing where you were going and then you look back and say, I went through that?
Unnamed Teen: Yeah that's what I'm saying
Unnamed Teen: You gradually have to build your trust up to that to stay with them and after that it was OK until Dorothy shoved me into the side of the cliff.
Dorothy: I did not. No it is because you started going hug me, hug me, hold me, hold me, don't let me go!
Unnamed Teen: Some people don't see disabled people as people. They think of them as something that just happened and they put them aside. What they're trying to do here is to make people realize that they are people too.
Bree Walker: We and they. Us and them. Simply words we all use. Unaware of how they stigmatize and dehumanize others. How unconsciously they cause us to look at someone as less than ourselves. Instead of bringing us closer to a relationship. These words divide and isolate us.
Unnamed Teen: I don't use a cane very much. if I'm around school or something I don't use a cane. I don't go around town or anything
Unnamed Teen: He walks through the halls faster than I do.
Unnamed Teen: Before Project Interdependence I Thought people that were so called normal were mean and rotten and didn't want to have anything to do with people in wheelchairs. Obviously it's not true.
Ed Roberts: The biggest thing that keeps people like myself and folks that are mixed in with you and yourself back are those old attitudes. That attitude that sees someone as less able because they've got a disability. It sets a person up to be seen as having no future. Being seen as a vegetable. Being seen as something less than human or whole. And that's the thing that you're here with us to do. Is to learn about handicapism, to learn about all the 'isms' and to understand that we're all people. And we're people first and we have the same needs and the same desires.
Unnamed Teen: We've only been together two days now
Unnamed Teen: I know.
Unnamed Teen: And we know each other. I mean... we are close
Unnamed Teen: Very close
Unnamed Teen: Ask them if they are ready first OK?
Unnamed Teen: Ready?
Unnamed Teen: Hey you guys...
Unnamed Teen: Ready!
Unnamed Teen: Alright, climb on. OK.
Unnamed Teen: Lets go.
Unnamed Teen: Good way to grab that bar.
Unnamed Teen: You can do it, all the way.
Unnamed Teen: One step at a time you can do it.
Unnamed Teen: People cheering
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Unnamed Teen: I can't even explain how close we got. Because it just seems as though everything made us that much closer and when I thought we were as close as we could get. We did one more thing and then we were that much closer.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Unnamed Teen: Alright Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Come on Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Come on a little bit more.
Unnamed Teen: Keep going.
Unnamed Teen: People cheering.
Unnamed Teen: Come on Betty honk that horn.
Unnamed Teen: OK that's your horn Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Honk the horn Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Honk the horn.
Unnamed Teen: Get it Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Do anything to it squeeze it.
Unnamed Teen: Grab the yellow.
Unnamed Teen: Both hands.
Unnamed Teen: Any way you can.
Unnamed Teen: Keep doing it.
Unnamed Teen: Take your time.
Unnamed Teen: Come on Betty one more step.
Unnamed Teen: Go Betty.
Unnamed Teen: Right there, right there
Unnamed Teen: Honk it.
Unnamed Teen: That's it keep that smile going.
Edward Olmos: Teenager stretching... Reaching... Pushing themselves... Challenging one another to climb just a little higher... Strain just a little longer. It's exhausting... Exhilarating... And for some a totally new experience.
Jeff: My name is Jeff and I choose to do this.
Unnamed Teen: Alright.
Jeff: Spotters ready?
Unnamed Teen: Ready.
Edward Olmos: But interdependence is more than just a shared adventure. It's a way of teaching these kids that if they can challenge their bodies and muscles. They can challenge their hearts and minds. They can take the same determination and begin to learn new skills. Planning, organizing, networking and resource development for civic and community action. To help one another change society for the better.
Unnamed Teen: Why doesn't everyone have just one big Olympics?
Unnamed Teen: That'd be a blast.
Bree Walker: It's about looking at a new future.
Unnamed Teen: You can do anything you want to if you have the ability and the interest. Because we have learned to engineer and change any job to modify it to your needs. So when you're considering a job, you think about your temperament. Do you like to tell other people what to do and effect change? Circle it. You figure if you're going to choose a career, you don't want to choose something you halfway like.
Unnamed Teen: You need to know something about business and money handling...
Bree Walker: It's about meaningful career choices.
Unnamed Teen: Then you want to promote justice and promote joy among people. You want to help people do something and make your living helping people.
Unnamed Teen: They don't have all these jobs like in sports, just athletes. They don't show us any other types of jobs. So I don't really know.
Unnamed Teen: None of us really know. It's hard to find... Like my sister's telling me so many different jobs in the psychology world, but I don't know of any.
Unnamed Teen: If you don't help each other, and sat that's not big enough for you, that's not important enough for you, that's not good enough for you, that doesn't make you whole, That job... and you will lock yourselves into jobs like locking yourselves into a little prison for the whole life. And you say well, this is my little prison and look out from the bars, and talk about cliques.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah but I like helping little kids and I think that child psychology would be good for me. That's what I think I want to be, a child psychologist. But I have to find more about it and just reading books at the library is not helping.
Unnamed Teen: It doesn't do it. You've got to find out about it from the people that are doing it.
Bree Walker: It's using new technology to unlock doors.
Unnamed Teen: You got portability and you got speed and you got a printed output. And what you lose is the sound of the voice. It's an interesting cross over of something that's a general use item that is very, very handy for someone with a disability, Communication problem. For turning a page or eating, the idea of being able to do it your self is worth the odd appearance. Rather than having someone feed you or having someone turn pages every time you want to turn a page. So both of these are designed so that someone can do it by themselves, which is very, very important. Independence of function is a critical need.
Unnamed Teen: Okay, how do I turn it?
Unnamed Teen: Oh I see,
Unnamed Teen: Sometimes you press forward and you turn sideways. All you are doing is straightening out the wheels.
Bree Walker: It's about building self confidence.
Unnamed Teen: Hiya Alright, that was great
Bree Walker: It's about advocating for one another.
Unnamed Teen: Hi everybody.
Unnamed Teen: We're from Gunderson High School and there's a certain party in our group. I think everybody knows him. He's Eric Roth. He has a little case called Tourette's syndrome and I think everyone knows what that means. That's him. We're not trying to single him out from anybody else He is just like any one of us. I don't think it's very fair if somebody says "Hey, shhh" or something like that. He can't help it. Everybody's got a little quirk, got to chew bubble gum. Got to go outside and yell. Got to go outside and hit something! You've got to take it out on something when you get nervous or get scared, and that's what he does. I hope everyone understands that when he blurts out a word or says something.
Bree Walker: It's about working together to solve tough problems.
Unnamed Teen: And in effect this decision would affect your survival. Hey that's what this week has been about. Doing ropes course and making it. You want to make your meeting and teams survive when you get back.
Unnamed Teen: This is the winter survival decision form. Rank the following items according to their importance to your survival starting with number one.
Unnamed Teen: When we crash we probably have to land. Have a conference like you guys said. Make a fire to keep warm, clothing and such.
Unnamed Teen: Some people can't carry their own weight. The people who might have been able to make it.
Unnamed Teen: They won't be able to make it because they're carrying other people. I understand your point now.
Bree Walker: It's about providing access for everyone, removing emotional and physical barriers.
Carlos Espinoza: Yesterday we did an access survey of a portion of the park. We went out together and walked around and looked for things that were accessible. And we looked for things that were not accessible. The problem was that there were steps or there wasn't a ramp here. It was the side slope. It's hard to get back up on a slope like this. So what we are doing is just taking the side slope out and when we get done, it will be, we'll level it out about the width of a wheelchair.
Bree Walker: It's about going back... Committed... Involved... Ready to share.
Teri: My Name is Teri, and I'm here to help explain about experience day that you can plan at your school once you return.
Unnamed Teen: First you have to get people signed up, and go around and get the names of people interested in, maybe spending a day in a wheelchair, or spending the day blind, or just different disabilities.
Unnamed Teen: You have to be ready, on the go. You have to be inspiring, because there is no way this can work if you don't have it in you. You cannot give it if you don't have it.
Bree Walker: It's about role models in every area, including the arts.
[People singing]: I'm only human. I'm only human. I make mistakes just like everybody else that have a sense of humor, a sense of humor. I look at the future. I laugh at myself. Human. I'm only human. Human. I'm only human. Human. I'm only human.
Unnamed Teen: Everyone in the group is hearing impaired to varying degrees. How do you hear the music?
Unnamed Teen: The speakers on the stage, the monitor's vibration, and a lot of practice and rehearsal every day.
[People clapping and cheering]
Edward Olmos: Interdependence, it's showing these teenagers that they can become leaders of the future. It's about giving them a sense of fulfillment. The knowledge that they can give something important to each other, and to all of us.
Unnamed Teen: You know the interesting thing to me is that is we're doing this together. I've experienced previous camps that were disabled oriented shall we say. And it's like you put the little handicapper on the horse. And then another person leads them around the circle. And then you take them off, and put 'em in a boat or take 'em to arts and crafts. Here it's a so called normal oriented environment and it's like, you do everything together as a group or not at all.
Edward Olmos: Interdependence is not about pony rides. It's about self worth! The contributions youth can make as individuals and the power they can create as a group. It's teenagers discovering that they can depend on one another. That together they can attain goals they never dreamed possible.
Unnamed Teen: I was kind of apprehensive and really didn't know what to expect.
Unnamed Teen: Trust us.
Unnamed Teen: I'm basically a quiet, shy person, and so like this camp I didn't know how I would fit in. But now since I'm here, I really feel like I'm a part of a whole thing. Because there is a lot of support going around here and I've never been in a situation like that. I really enjoy that.
Unnamed Teen: Aaaaaaauuuuuugggggghhhhh
Unnamed Teen: I learned a lot.
Unnamed Teen: You learned a lot about yourself?
Unnamed Teen: Yes, about myself and working with other people.
Unnamed Teen: Get up there Deena! Get your feet in there Deena! Put your feet on the ladder!
Deena: I'm so scared!
Unnamed Teen: It's OK to be scared, that's all right.
Unnamed Teen: I didn't think I could do it. It really was an experience learning how to trust others.
[People clapping and cheering.]
Unnamed Teen: It made me so I'm not so shy in front of people. Like, I used to be a guy where I used to stand in a corner somewhere and just watch everybody else, but now I'm sorta with everybody else. I'm not afraid to go up to a person and say "Hi how are you doing?" you know?
Unnamed Teen: We've all seen the physical disabilities of people, but we haven't seen the learning disabilities. A learning disability, I can't even speak, a learning disability is where you have trouble learning just like that. You reverse your numbers. There are some who have Dyslexia and all of the things. And we just want to let you guys know a lot of us have the learning disabilities where when you see somebody spell something wrong, or you criticize your friends for not being able to do such things. That we have a learning disability also and it's hard. But we're going to fight with it.
Unnamed Teen: Are you going to tell them, tell them...
Unnamed Teen: I'd never got up and told anybody that I had a learning disability. That was my biggest, deepest secret.
Unnamed Teen: Well, I used to think that before I came here, if you're out of a wheelchair, you're normal. But now I don't think that because, now I think everybody here that's in a wheelchair or not is normal. You Know.
Edward Olmos: Each night after the day's activities, these teens would get together. Spontaneously they'd come up to the mike. Sharing their realizations, their feelings, their accomplishments. And in each of these nights new breakthroughs in personal growth are made.
Bree Walker: Then one night, one soft spoken voice. Anita's voice brings out what each of these youngsters is felling, sharing and in reaching out, touches each person who was there.
Anita: I feel good tonight. I don't know why, but I do.
Anita: My name is Anita and I choose to do this!
Anita: Couple days ago, I was shy.
Unnamed Teen: That's it you got it.
Unnamed Teen: That's the way.
Unnamed Teen: That's the way, use your feet, use everything Anita. Way to go. Keep going Anita don't stop!
Anita: It really surprised me that a hundred people could work together and support one another, with no arguing, no fighting, no pushing, you know giving support. Being there when you need it. Learning to get along with each other. Not being afraid to support one another. You know it really surprised me.
Unnamed Teen: At first there were the usual kind of like, what is she talking about or whatever looks on their face. Like they didn't know what was happening. And then when she really started talking and getting into what she was saying. They started leaning forward, and then leaning forward more. And they were just going 'Oh wow that's exactly how I feel!' And it was so neat because they were all so, so ready to hear it and so happy to hear it. Hear someone vocalize what they felt.
Anita: It felt like we're close. I don't know what else to say. I really thank you all for accepting me, and letting me be a part of this.
[People cheering and clapping]
Edward Olmos: And now the group crosses a new threshold: Awareness of the power of one. One people. One humanity. A vision by which to shape their world.
Unnamed Teen: We climbed a mountain. It was just a hill, but everyone looked at it like a mountain. And Mary she's in it, and she's limited to a wheelchair. And everybody thought, gosh, we're really going to have to work together, if we're going to help Mary get up this hill. But Mary helped the team get up the hill. Up the mountain, instead of you know how we all helped her. So see we worked together instead of for. And that's one of the... That was so exciting. I mean once we got through that everyone says, gosh, I can't believe I got through it and really didn't think that you could get through it.
Unnamed Teen: It's the Interdependence.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah the Interdependence. A lot of people were saying 'I can't believe you made it through this, I didn't think you could.' And so people were just changing their ideas.
Unnamed Teen: Being here, I have found disabilities, that I... let's see that I didn't know that I had. But well now, I'm not, you know afraid to admit them either. And so it's like, you know the kid's alright!
Unnamed Teen: Are you OK down there?
Unnamed Teen: No I'm not, I'm great!
Unnamed Teen: You're not OK you're great.
Ed Roberts: As people change their own attitudes and as we move from a society that likes to put people down and see people as less because they're black, or Hispanic or because they're disabled or because they were born a woman. As we move through all of these issues, I hope you discover that we all begin the same way. Obviously, and the way we're treated, the way people around us treat us, the way they see us, is incredibly important to what happens to us.
Unnamed Teen: This is the best week I've ever had in my whole life man. I feel like I'm part of the group now instead of... I don't feel handicapped anymore around these people. I feel like one of them and not any different than anybody else
Unnamed Teen: I got here thinking why would anybody want to work with rehab? Why would you do something like that? But now I see. I see that these people give something that is very special in their lives to everyone. And something that we as lawyers, engineers, medical doctors, journalists, dentists, whatever you want to be in life. Look for the something that you can give to humanity, to the people around you, and just go for it. Thank you.
Unnamed Teen: I want to be a community service person, and I think this is good training for me. I love the way people around here have the most intimate conversations with each other without fear of intrusion by a stranger. We just met Sunday, and it's like we've known each other forever.
Unnamed Teen: I think I'm going to act differently in front of my family now that, cause I sing and I usually sing in my room. But now I sing in front of people now. And I'm probably going to be in the talent show.
Unnamed Teen: I can't believe I'm doing this
[People cheering and clapping.]
Unnamed Teen: Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away.
Edward Olmos: Interdependence is about inspiring kids to grow past the fear of failure, and beyond standing alone. It's about empowering them with a sense of self and community. Creating a new generation of leaders ready to commit themselves to make Interdependence a cultural reality.
Unnamed Teen: I wasn't diagnosed until I was about 15 or so.
Unnamed Teen: I know a lot of times we tend to ask a whole lot of questions about what you can't do. What can you do?
Unnamed Teen: Anything!
Unnamed Teen: I do love you all, and if I ever stop crying, which I don't feel embarrassed to do. When you go back to your schools, show what teenagers can do!
[People singing] It's the one who won't be taken, who cannot seem to give. And the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live.
Ed Roberts: If we can change some attitudes, and we have high expectations and we believe in all of us. We support each other, people are going to achieve things we never thought possible.
[People singing] You were always on my mind...
Bree Walker: And so it's almost over. A week that was physical. Emotional. Joyous and painful. Full of insight and learning. Filled with compassion and caring. Now on this last night, these teenagers come together. Sharing their common experiences. Holding onto one last precious moment.
Unnamed Teen: I got too close to everybody. At the camp, you worked so close to everybody that it's hard to say goodbye.
[People singing] When the night has been too lonely, and the road has been too long. And you think that love is only for the lucky and the strong. Just remember...
Unnamed Teen: I can't believe a week can be like this.
Unnamed Teen: I didn't even lose control when I left home.
[People singing] ... like a seed, with the sun's love in spring becomes the rose.
Anita: Now all I have to do is go back and take some action, you know, and that's hard! Because here we're a family out there we're not. We got to make it work!
Ed Roberts: If we can change some attitudes. If together we can reshape the people around us and how they feel about disability, that we'll make significant change
Unnamed Teen: I'm going to go back to school next year, and people are going to look at me strangely because I came here with all these strange people. And it's not that way at all we're all just the same. Just some of us do more things than others and I won't even care now if people do look at me strangely.
Unnamed Teen: People need to open up and be compassionate, loving and caring and not so hardnosed and ready to fight. We've learned a lot here and it will go on forever. Project Interdependence won't die. I'll make sure of that.
Bree Walker: That was the end of that magical adventure in the mountain, but only the beginning of what these kids shared. Strengthened by their Discovered Interdependence training they internalized the message, and took their new found confidence and skills home with them when the busses pulled away.
Edward Olmos: The training proved beyond doubt the importance of empowering these young people through a leadership program that taps into their innate enthusiasm for cooperative action on the most important kinds of problems. You saw their instinctive desire to love, trust and depend on each other in getting the job done. They will never be the same, nor will we. What they learned and felt makes each of them offer and demand more from relationships, their schools and their communities.
Bree Walker: Every kid feels in some way, less that whole and significantly disabled when facing a world that tells them in so many ways that it doesn't value them or their ideas and dreams. Whether a teen possesses a physical or mental disability, or is simply an object of society's indifference is beside the point. Interdependence stresses that all kids, whatever their race, sex backgrounds or conditions are not only worthy of full inclusion. They are invaluable!
Edward Olmos: With that said, this is still rough old world. Even with the most powerful inspiration and the most unshakable faith, young people dedicated to advancing social and economic justice. Searching for what careers their hearts call them towards. Needs tools that work and a support system that can effectively backstop their efforts. Full inclusion and integration is already public policy and the law! The World Interdependence Fund exists to provide those tools and to implement and sustain that larger vision.
Bree Walker: If we can't equip our children to build a better world than we have managed to do, we will have failed ourselves and squandered their hopes in one generation. You have seen what it takes and how young people respond to a truly respectful challenge.
Edward Olmos: Every young person deserves a chance to discover interdependence. America's youth won't wait!
Onscreen Text: A month later at Troy High School in Fullerton, California.
Unnamed Teen: We're going to come back after Thanksgiving and all of us are going to have one disability or another and we're going to learn about, study our disabilities. So when people ask us 'what's your disability? Why are you in the chair? What are you doing this for? You're not really paralyzed. We're going to tell them why we're doing this and giving them information on Interdependence. And we're going to 24 hours a day. It's not going to be just at school, but everywhere we go for all week.
Unnamed Teen: I'm sure we won't be able to do it the whole time. I'm sure we're going to get out. We are going to try our hardest. Because we are trying... we've got to prove this to the other kids who don't, you know, who don't realize what we realize!
Unnamed Teen: We got to prove that we can do it.
Unnamed Teen: Yeah we have to prove it.
Onscreen Text: The next month, Anthony at Troy High School in Fullerton, California.
Unnamed Teen: Is this for a government?
Unnamed Teen: Yeah 24 hours a day and it's so hard.
Unnamed Teen: It doesn't matter whether or not someone's in a wheelchair or whether they're just walking around on their feet. They're still the same person. We're not required to do this. We're doing it because we want to do it! It isn't a class. No it's hard Dave!
Onscreen Text: Three months later at the Doo-Dah Parade with 200,000 spectators in Pasadena, California.
Unnamed Teen: The Doo-Dah Parade, in the middle of the American dream. Yeah, beauty pageants. Uncle Sam. We could show people what we're dragging the labels we're stuck with. Kids in wheelchairs walking. We could all drag baggage and get the people to see what it's like.
Unnamed Teen: Come on do you want to drag a bag with us? I give you permission to come along.
Unnamed Teen: I think that if they really understood that we're normal people too. And you know everybody is a person. And that we all got hearts!
Onscreen Text: Meanwhile, at Cleveland and Miller High Schools, adjacent schools separated by segregation.
Unnamed Teen: For that street being there, it's only that much far away. But for that much far, it's like hundred miles. Instead of these two schools being on one campus. Because I found out that all the disabled schools in this valley are all on separate campuses. Everywhere else they're all on one campus. The kids from Cleveland, unless they take classes over here, but they're very hesitant to come over here because they see the kids that have very bad CP, they can't stay still type thing. And that type of thing. They see that and the kids that are Autistic and they see all that and they say, "I'm not going over there. The school's crazy!"
Unnamed Teen: They're afraid. But now I go over there more that I used to. I try to be friends with a couple of Cleveland kids. Some accept me, some don't. Something I got to live with. Not everyone can accept me. But if they would, it would be nice!
Onscreen Text: There are millions of high school youths in the United States. Each one has the potential to be a leader.
Onscreen Text: The magic of Interdependence was created by the love, power, and vision of the youth from the following California Communities: Compton, Pico Rivera, Santa Barbara, Chula Vista, Sacramento, Richmond, San Bernadino, Daly City, Simi Valley, Fullerton, Chico, Napa, Reseda, Cupertino, Norwalk/La Mirada, Modesto, Ukiah, San Jose and Whttier.