From homelessness to hope


“I wanted the video to tell an impactful story, so I went in well-prepared. I asked Ana Ramos, who directs Fostering Panther Pride [FIU’s program in support of formerly foster and homeless youth] to tell me about Vanessa, a young woman who was found living in her car while a student at FIU.

When you’re asking a person about a very difficult topic, you try to be as empathetic as possible. So I set up the camera, and I tried leave the hardest questions at the end, so that it would be easier for Vanessa to talk as we got started.

Vanessa told her story with such emotion. At some point she just started sobbing, and the four or five of us in the room got sucked in. She just really opened up her heart and didn’t spare any details.

It’s a very sad story with a happy ending. Vanessa graduated, got a job as a teacher and is now a new mom. She encapsulates everything you want in someone who is down on her luck and uses every opportunity to work toward success.

I came out of the shoot really excited because I knew it would make people think and really open up their wallets in support of this program. I know people who have seen the video multiple times and still cry.”


Christopher Necuze ’11

Senior Multimedia Producer

Editor’s note: This video by Christopher Necuze won a Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.


Watch the other videos in the FIU Magazine summer online issue
A video about making videos    Capturing cancer research on campus     The essence of Pantherness
South Beach soirée   A novelist shares his secrets    A spotlight on the deserving   A riff on “Friends”   Most viewed: An April Fools’ joke