Duval County Public School Is Showing a JD Vance Documentary

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Middlelayers, Inc., will be showing its documentary on JD Vance at a Duval County Public School. While Vance’s story is an anomaly, the film poses an important question: how can we replicate J.D.’s social support system to help millions of other children realize their rights and have access to the American Dream?

We are teaching our students to advocate for their own rights and the rights of children, like JD Vance, who cannot advocate for themselves. Dr. Hall, Principal, Baldwin High School

In support of Jacksonville’s Child-Friendly Cities initiative, Middlelayers will be hosting a viewing of their documentary film, Replicating a J.D. Vance Anomaly, at Baldwin High School on February 28, 2018 at 10:30 am. The objective of the film is to inspire hope and action among Jacksonville youth and provide them with a map to upward mobility.

Baldwin High School is distinguished for its bold leadership in becoming one of the country’s first Child Friendly Schools. Baldwin High School joins an international group of schools as it works to ensure that students are protected, respected, and, most importantly, empowered. According to Principal Dr. Denis Hall, “we are teaching our students to advocate for their own rights and the rights of children, like JD Vance, who cannot advocate for themselves.” While the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child constitutes that all children have the right to survival, development and protection, many low-income children won’t experience these fundamental rights. Replicating a J.D. Vance Anomaly recounts J.D. Vance’s life story to examine the causes and consequences of unrealized rights on health, educational achievement, and emotional wellbeing, and the long-term implications for upward mobility. Baldwin students will be introduced to concepts such as social capital, social support, and social networks, and will learn the value of these assets in promoting the rights and equality of opportunity for marginalized youth. Furthermore, it explores the role of communities in ensuring the widespread respect of child rights. “Our students want to be advocates for other children,” adds Dr. Hall, “and Replicating a J.D. Vance Anomaly provides students with strategies to fulfill this responsibility.”

Born into poverty in Middletown, Ohio, Vance lacked a stable home environment, information on how to increase social relationships, and guidance on how to overcome a difficult situation. He was on course to follow the same trajectory as other children with unrealized potential, barriers to opportunity, and cyclic poverty. Yet, Vance’s family, school, community, and wider social support system intervened, allowing him to transcend poverty and become the best-selling author of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. While Vance’s story is an anomaly, the film poses an important question: how can we replicate J.D.’s social support system to help millions of other children realize their rights and have access to the American Dream? According to Middletown High School (OH) Principal Carmela Cotter, “J.D. Vance uses his personal story to challenge people to recognize the need for opportunity in low-income neighborhoods. His message in this film resonates on a personal level with educators, business people, and city leaders and makes conscious the need for social, emotional, and economic support for all people.”

Following the film, students will compete in an essay and social media contest. The winners will receive a generous stipend and may be featured in future documentaries.

About Middlelayers

Inspired by the story of J.D. Vance, Middlelayers is a start-up dedicated to promoting upward mobility by improving social integration and increasing social capital among marginalized populations through the advent of new technology. The mission of Middlelayers is to make community services more accessible to those who need them and to offer tools for providers to more efficiently deliver those services.

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Tess Goldhagen
@middlelayers
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