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HFI Awarded Grant From St. Joseph Medical Center To Help Stop The Spread Of Youth Violence In Reading

HFI Awarded Grant From St. Joseph Medical Center To Help Stop The Spread Of Youth Violence In Reading


Reading, PA. May 18, 2012—The non-profit Haydenfilms Institute (HFI), with offices at TEK Park, Breinigsville, Pa., has been awarded up to $35,000 by St. Joseph Medical Center through its parent company, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), to empower youth by using film and video to help reduce youth violence in the City of Reading.

The grant falls under the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Program (RYVP) "Blueprint for Action" (part of CHI's ambitious "United Against Violence" effort) to provide schools, churches, neighborhoods, police and community organizations with more tools to overcome violence and other social challenges.

Hayden Craddolph, HFI Executive Director, said, "This is a very significant honor for us because it fits with our mission to give the power of film to student and independent filmmakers globally so that they can help solve major social concerns like youth violence, which has a significant impact on Reading and other communities, especially in our schools."

Known as the HFI Youth Media Initiative Project, Craddolph said the independent Haydenfilms is finalizing the details of its RYVP collaboration that will support participating at-risk students between the ages of 14 and 18 in taking a stand against negative influences. The program will teach them critical information and skills while providing a unique opportunity to experience the power of film and social media to help end gun violence, substance abuse, domestic violence and child abuse, etc. Youth will then create their own public service announcement (PSA) commercials that can air locally and throughout the United States.

"As a filmmaker and someone who has worked with student and independent filmmakers from around the world, I have seen the positive impact that film has on social issues. It is critical that we give this knowledge to young people. We are very grateful to CHI, St. Joseph's and the RYVP team for giving us this chance to give back," said Craddolph.

HFI is developing an eight-week curriculum for its RYVP program expected to accommodate at least 50 Greater Reading teens. Complete details of the program will be announced in coming weeks. A key consultant is Los Angeles actor and Temple University Graduate, Johnny Ray Gill, who appears on NBC's "Harry's Law" and was the $10,000 grand prize winner of the global Haydenfilms 4.0 Online Film Festival. HFI Youth Media Project participants will have an opportunity to showcase their PSA commercials in a special online festival competition.

In addition to Gill, other project partners for the HFI Youth Media Initiative include Kutztown and Lehigh universities, the City of Reading, the Council on Chemical Abuse (COCA), Berks Gas Truth, and Shirk Communications.

Haydenfilms is not only looking for at-risk teens for the program, but also seeks in-kind and financial support from other high school and college students, non-profits, school districts, mentors and businesses. Visit the website, email or call 323-418-2816.

Laura M. Welliver, St. Joseph Medical Center RYVP coordinator and grants and special projects officer, said RYVP works collaboratively to prevent and reduce youth violence in the City of Reading through its Blueprint for Action currently being implemented through three sector subcommittees. RYVP's three-year goal is to reduce incidents of youth-on-youth violence in the City of Reading by five percent by 2014. This will be measured by incidents of violence in the Reading School District; youth-on-youth homicides; and youth arrests for aggravated and non-aggravated assaults in the community.

"We are excited to add Haydenfilms to our team because the opportunity to work with film and video are inaccessible to a lot of students and we all know how powerful these creative mediums can be," she said.

Welliver said the RYVP vision statement is, "Reading youth thrive when the whole community is engaged, and young people are supported by empowered families, safe and positive schools, and healthy neighborhoods."

For more information on RYVP, please contact Welliver at 610-378-2474 or