TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

A new report says climate change will cost American lives and do grave damage to our economy much sooner than you think. We have the details on the findings. As the situation on our Southern border remains tense, we look at some of the nearly 1.2 million undocumented New Yorkers seeking asylum in the Empire State. There’s an innovative way to keep seniors connected to each other and the outside world, and it’s at their fingertips. Three teens aspire to become the first in their family to go to college. We have their “Personal Statement.”

Aired November 26, 2018.

TRANSCRIPT

> TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS,' A DIRE WARNING FROM 13 FEDERAL AGENCIES HAS THE WHITE HOUSE ON THE DEFENSE.

A BRAND NEW REPORT CLAIMS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE WILL COST AMERICAN LIVES AND DO GRAVE DAMAGE TO OUR ECONOMY BY THE END OF THE CENTURY.

> AS THE SITUATION ON OUR SOUTHERN BORDER BECOMES INCREASINGLY VOLATILE, HALF A MILLION NEW YORKERS LIVE HERE UNDOCUMENTED.

WE'LL LOOK AT THEIR LIVES AS THEY SEEK ASYLUM IN THE CITY.

> HOME BOUND SENIORS CAN FACE A LONELY AND MADDENING EXISTENCE.

NOW A WAY TO KEEP THEM CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER AND TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD IS AT THEIR FINGERTIPS.

AND THREE TEAMS ASPIRE TO BE THE FIRST IN THEIR FAMILIES TO ATTEND COLLEGE, BUT THEY HAD TO OVERCOME MANY OBSTACLES BEFORE THEY COULD GET THERE.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL P. ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO FUNDED BY THE JPB FOUNDATION AND THE FORD FOUNDATION.

> WE HAVE ENDED THE WAR ON AMERICAN ENERGY, AND WE HAVE ENDED THE WAR ON BEAUTIFUL, CLEAN COAL.

[ APPLAUSE ]

GOOD EVENING.

AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

OVER THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND, WHILE WE ALL PAID ATTENTION TO TURKEY, OUR FAMILY, FOOTBALL, AND BLACK FRIDAY SALES, AN OMINOUS AND DIRE GOVERNMENT REPORT ISSUED BY THE U.S. GLOBAL CHANGE RESEARCH GROUP CAME WITH A BLAZING HEADLINES THAT ALMOST GOT LOST IN OUR HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES, AND IT'S ONE WE CAN'T AFFORD TO IGNORE.

ISSUED BY A GROUP OF SCIENTISTS WHO REPRESENT 13 FEDERAL AGENCIES, THEY HAVE ALL COME TO THE SAME CONCLUSION -- CLIMATE CHANGE WILL SHRINK THE U.S.

ECONOMY BY AT LEAST 10%, AND WILL KILL THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS IN ABOUT 80 YEARS.

THAT MAY NOT BE IN OUR LIFETIME, BUT IF YOU HAVE CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN, THIS WILL BE THEIR REALITY.

THE FINDINGS DELIVERED ON A TYPICALLY SLOW POST THANKSGIVING NEWS DAY FLY CONTRARY TO PRESIDENT TRUMP SAYING CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HOAX.

BUT JUST 24 HOURS BEFORE THE REPORT WAS RELEASED BY HIS OWN ADMINISTRATION, THE PRESIDENT, REACTING TO COLD TEMPERATURES THAT HIT THE NORTHEAST TWEETED, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO GLOBAL WARMING?

THIS BREAKING NEWS IS PART OF OUR PERIL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE HERE ON PBS ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS DEVASTATING EFFECTS.

FOR MORE INSIGHT INTO THE GOVERNMENT'S REPORT AND WHAT THIS MEANS FOR ALL OF US IN THE TRISTATE AREA IS A FREQUENT GUEST HERE ON 'METROFOCUS.'

AND THE NEW YORK EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATURE CONSERVANCY.

BILL, WELCOME BACK.

THANKS, JENNA.

IT'S A REALLY IMPORTANT TOPIC, SO GLAD TO BE HERE.

A VERY UNFORTUNATE TOPIC, BUT THIS TEAMS LIKE IT COULD BE NEWS BUT IT'S NOT.

WE'RE ALREADY FEELING THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

ABSOLUTELY.

WHILE THE REPORT IS FOCUSED ON THESE LONG-TERM IMPACTS, AND REALLY WHAT THEY DID WAS, THE LAST REPORT, VOLUME ONE, TALKED ABOUT THE HARD SCIENCE.

THIS IS ABOUT THE ECONOMIC HARDSHIPS TO THE UNITED STATES.

IN 80 YEARS, IT WILL BE CATASTROPHIC.

BUT WE'RE SEEING SO MANY OF THIS ALREADY WITH A DEGREE OF WARMING IN THE PAST CENTURY.

SO WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO NOW AND CAN WE FORESTALL SOME OF THESE BIG, BIG ECONOMIC EFFECTS?

THE REPORT IS A LOT TO ABSORB FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON, EVEN FOR MYSELF.

WITH CHANGES TO THINGS LIKE CROPS AND FLOODING, ET CETERA, WHAT ARE WE LOOKING FOR, LOOKING AT FOR NEW YORK?

WELL, EXACTLY.

THIS IS NATIONAL IN SCOPE.

NEW YORK, THE BIGGEST EFFECTS WE'RE GOING TO SEE HERE ARE SEA LEVEL RISE, WHICH NOT NECESSARILY STORMS, JUST FULL MOON, HIGH TIDES, AND THE IMPACTS THEY'LL HAVE.

STORM SURGES, LIKE WHAT WE SAW WITH HURRICANE SANDY.

THIRD WILL BE HEAT WAVES.

A LOT MORE OF THEM, A LOT WORSE.

AND THEN FOURTH IS JUST BIG RAINFALL EVENTS, LIKE WHAT WE EXPERIENCED UPSTATE WITH HURRICANE IRENE, JUST BEFORE SANDY.

THESE ARE ALL GOING TO PUT MASSIVE STRESSES ON OUR INFRASTRUCTURE, OUR ECONOMY, AND OUR PEOPLE.

NOW, THIS REPORT CAME OUT AFTER THANKSGIVING, SO PEOPLE DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE TO DIGEST IT OR ARGUE IT AT THE TABLE, BUT FOR PEOPLE LIKE THE PRESIDENT WHO SAY WELL, IT WAS COLD, WE HAD A FREEZING COLD THANKSGIVING, SO WHAT ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?

HELP ME UNDERSTAND HOW THAT FITS INTO THE CLIMATE CHANGE PICTURE.

THE TRENDS AND MODELS ARE ALL CLEAR.

AND THINGS ARE HEATING UP AND BEING AFFECTED BY THE DRYING OF WESTERN FORESTS FASTER THAN SOME OF THE MODELS PREDICTED.

OF COURSE, THERE'S GOING TO BE VARIABILITY.

SO WE HAD THE INCREDIBLE COLD PERIOD.

THEN JUST A FEW DAYS LATER IT FELT LIKE SPRING HERE IN NEW YORK CITY.

SO YOU GET THESE OSCILLATIONS, THESE UP AND DOWNS.

THAT'S ALL NORMAL.

BUT THE TREND IS VERY CLEAR.

WE'VE SEEN A DEGREE CELSIUS OR ALMOST TWO DEGREES FAHRENHEIT WARMING IN THE LAST CENTURY.

THE CONCERN IS WE'LL GO TO TWO MORE DEGREES FAHRENHEIT OR EVEN BEYOND IN THIS CENTURY.

THAT'S WHERE YOU GET THESE IMPACTS OF $150 BILLION IN, YOU KNOW, INFRASTRUCTURE IMPACTS AND CROP LOSSES EACH -- I MEAN, EVERY ONE OF THESE CATEGORIES THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT NORTH OF $100 BILLION A YEAR.

IT COULD GET -- THEY TALK ABOUT 10% OF THE U.S. GDP.

THE U.S. GDP IS $20 TRILLION.

WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $2 TRILLION IN EFFECTS JUST IN THEITE AS A RESULT -- JUST IN THE UNITED STATES AS A RESULT OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

HERE IN NEW YORK CITY, WE SAW HOW LONG IT TOOK FOR SOME TUNNELS TO COME BACK AFTER HURRICANE SANDY.

NOW THAT PEOPLE HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO READ IT AND DIE SXWRES T -- DIGEST THIS REPORT, WHAT CAN THE AVERAGE PERSON DO?

THREE IMPORTANT THINGS.

ONE IS RECOGNIZE THAT THE OUTCOMES HERE ARE NOT INEVITABLE.

SO THERE IS NO CLIFF WE'RE DRIVING OFF AS A SOCIETY, AS A COUNTRY, AS A WORLD.

EVERY CHOICE WE MAKE HAS THE ABILITY TO DAMPEN THE AMOUNT OF CARBON POLLUTION GOING INTO THE ATMOSPHERE AND REDUCE THE EFFECT.

ONE IS VOTE FOR ELECTED OFFICIALS WHO UNDERSTAND CLIMATE CHANGE AND ARE GOING TO TAKE STEPS TO ADDRESS IT.

TWO IS WE NEED TO GET A PRICE ON CARBON, REDUCE THE DEMAND FOR CARBON EMITTING POLLUTANTS LIKE FOSSIL FUELS AND PUSH THINGS LIKE RENEWABLES AND THE ROLE OF NATURE IN SEQUESTERING CARBON.

THREE IS, EVERY DECISION WE MAKE, HOW WE GO TO WORK, WHETHER WE RECYCLE OR COMPOST, ALL OF THOSE THINGS, THOSE LITTLE MICROSIGNALS WE SEND IN THE SYSTEM MATTER.

LASTLY, OFFSET YOUR CARBON FOOT PRINT.

AT THE END OF EVERY YEAR, I DO A CALCULATION OF HOW MUCH CARBON POLLUTION AND MY FAMILY AND I EMITTED, AND WE INVEST IN TREE PLANTING AS A WAY TO OFFSET THAT.

SO IT'S AN EASY WAY TO DO IT.

IT FEELS GOOD AND HELPS ADDRESS THIS BIG CHALLENGE.

PERHAPS A NEW BLACK FRIDAY TRADITION INSTEAD OF JUST SHOPPING.

BILL, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US, AND GIVING US SOME DEFINITELY NEEDED UNDERSTANDING ON A VERY DEVASTATING REPORT.

THANKS, JENNA.

THANK YOU.

> NEW YORK CITY IS HOME TO 3.1 MILLION IMMIGRANTS, THE LARGEST NUMBER IN THE CITY'S HISTORY.

ABOUT HALF A MILLION OF THOSE IMMIGRANTS ARE UNDOCUMENTED, AND WHILE SOME ARE RECENT ARRIVALS M HAVE BEEN LIVING AND WORKING HERE FOR DECADES.

STILL, FOR ALL THE UNDOCUMENTED, THE LAST FEW YEARS HAVE BEEN MARKED BY BEING DETAINED OR DEPORTED.

SINCE PRESIDENT TRUMP CAME TO OFFICE, 20,000 UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS LIVING IN NEW YORK CITY HAVE HAD DEPORTATION PROCEEDINGS FILED AGAINST THEM.

ENTERING THE FIRST EIGHT MONTHS OF TRUMP'S PRESIDENCY, I.C.E.

ARRESTS JUMPED BY 67%, AND ARRESTS WITH NO CRIMINAL CONVICTION INCREASED BY 225%. 'CITY OF FEAR' SEEKS TO SHOW HOW TRUMP'S IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN HAS PROFOUNDLY AFFECTED THE LIVES OF NEW YORK'S UNDOCUMENTED POPULATION.

THE ARTICLE TELLS THE REAL LIFE STORIES OF PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES HAVE BEEN UP-ENDED BY DETENTION AND DEPORTATION AND DESCRIBES THE FEAR THAT MANY IMDPRAMTD MI LIVE WITH DAILY.

AND IT DOCUMENTS THE STEPS IMMIGRANTS ARE TAKING TO PROTECT THEMSELVES.

JOINING ME NOW IS THE FEATURE'S EDITOR OF THE MARSHALL PROJECT, GERALDINE SEALEY, WHO EDITED THE PIECE.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

SO GERALDINE, FIRST OF ALL, I WONDER IF YOU COULD QUICKLY TELL US WHAT THE MARSHALL PROJECT IS, AND HOW IMMIGRATION FITS INTO ITS MISSION.

CERTAINLY.

THE MARSHALL PROJECT IS A NONPROFIT NEWS AGENCY THAT COVERS CRIMINAL JUSTICE.

WE COLLABORATE WITH MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY, MORE THAN A HUNDRED SO FAR, INCLUDING THAT PACKAGE WITH 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE.

IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO, WE EXPANDED OUR COVERAGE TO INCLUDE IMMIGRATION.

IT'S NOT ONLY KIND OF A PARALLEL JUSTICE SYSTEM, BUT IT HAS ALL KINDS OF INTERSECTIONS WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

WHAT DID YOU HOPE TO DOCUMENT IN THIS PROJECT AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

WHEN WE STARTED THINKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT IN JANUARY, VERY PROMINENT ACTIVISTS, IMMIGRATION ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN DETAINED, INCLUDING JOHN MONTROVILLE, WHO WAS EVENTUALLY DEPORTED.

THEY ALSO CONDUCTED RAIDS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING MORE THAN A DOZEN IN NEW YORK CITY.

WE STARTED ASKING OURSELVES WHAT LIFE WAS LIKE FOR PEOPLE IN NEW YORK, AND IT'S A SO-CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES, ONE OF THE CITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY THAT, TO SOME DEGREE, DOES NOT COOPERATE WITH FEDERAL IMMIGRATION AUTHORITIES TO ENFORCE IMMIGRATION LAWS.

DOES IT FEEL SAFE TO PEOPLE?

I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS OFTEN MISSING IN IMMIGRATION COVERAGE CAN BE THE VOICES OF PEOPLE WHO ARE MOST AFFECTED.

SO WE SENT BETWEEN THE MARSHALL PROJECT AND 'NEW YORK' MAGAZINE, OUR PARTNERS ON THIS, WE SENT OUT MORE THAN A DOZEN REPORTERS OVER THE COURSE OF WEEKS AND EVENTUALLY MONTHS TO INTERVIEW MORE THAN A HUNDRED PEOPLE.

IMMIGRANTS OF VARYING STATUSES IN NEW YORK CITY, ALONG WITH LAWYERS AND ADVOCATES WORKING ON IMMIGRATION TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON.

WHAT WE DID FIND WAS THIS NEW LEVEL OF FEAR UNDER THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION.

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT, UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA, WHO AT ONE POINT EARNED HIMSELF THE NICKNAME DEPORTER IN CHIEF, THERE WAS ALSO A LEVEL OF FEAR THAT WAS JUSTIFIED.

WHAT'S DIFFERENT NOW, AS YOU MENTIONED, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS DONE, AND THAT HE DID EARLY ON IN HIS ADMINISTRATION WAS TO SAY EVERYONE IS A TARGET OF I.C.E.

NOW.

IT'S NOT JUST PEOPLE WHO HAVE CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS, WHICH DURING THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION WAS MORE OF A PRIORITY.

ALL RIGHT.

ONE OF THE MOST CAPTIVATING THINGS ABOUT THE ARTICLE IS THAT YOU SPEAK TO INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE SUFFERING THIS EXPERIENCE, AND IT'S HEARTBREAKING, HARROWING.

LET ME JUST GIVE ONE EXAMPLE, IS A WOMAN WHO WAS TAKEN BY BORDER AGENTS OFF THE BUS IN NIAGARA FALL, AS SHE WAS COMING BACK FROM HER HONEYMOON AND IS NOW AWAITING DEPORTATION.

SO THE QUESTION IS, ARE THESE REPRESENTATIVE OF WHAT IS REALLY HAPPENING IN THE CITY AND AROUND THE COUNTRY?

COULD THE ARGUMENT BE MADE THAT THE FEARS OF DEPORTATION ARE GREATER THAN THE REALITY?

WHAT WE FOUND WHEN WE TALKED TO PEOPLE THAT, YES, THOSE FEARS ARE REAL, AND COMMUNITIES ACROSS NEW YORK CITY, ACROSS THE FIVE BURROUGHS, A PASTOR AND UNDOCUMENTED SOUTH KOREAN, PASTOR IN QUEENS, WHO WE TALKED TO IN OUR STORY, HE TALKS ABOUT HOW EVEN PEOPLE WHO ARE LEGAL -- THE PEOPLE WHO ARE GREEN CARDS ARE WORRIED, BECAUSE BEING OUT OF STATUS AT ALL, HAVING ANY LEGAL SLIP-UP, A DUI OR SOMETHING, AND PEOPLE ARE AFRAID THAT COULD GET THEM IN TROUBLE.

HOW DOES IT MEAN, HOW DOES IT AFFECT ALL OF US IN NEW YORK CITY WHEN SUCH A LARGE POPULATION OF THE CITY IS LIVING IN FEAR?

WELL, THIS IS A CITY OF IMMIGRANTS.

IT'S BUILT ON IMMIGRANTS.

AND I THINK THAT IT'S IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT SO MANY PEOPLE LIVING IN FEAR AND SO MANY PEOPLE HAVING TO EVENTUALLY LET'S SAY WITH TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS, TENS OF THOUSANDS OF NEW YORKERS WHO MAY BE LEAVING, WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THE FUTURE OF OUR CITY AND THE MAKEUP OF OUR CITY.

I THINK THAT'S STILL SOMETHING TO BE DETERMINED.

ALL RIGHT.

GERALDINE, IT'S A VERY IMPORTANT AND VERY STRIKING PIECE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR DOING IT.

AND THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE WITH US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

'METROFOCUS.'

FEELING LONEY IS MORE THAN A MATTER OF HAPPINESS.

ACCORDING TO A 2012 STUDY, LONEYNESS IN SENIORS EFFECTS THEIR HEALTH AND LONGEVITY IN LIFE.

SO WHEN MICROSOFT AND NEW YORK'S DEPARTMENT OF AGING TEAMED UP WITH SELF HELP IN NEW YORK, THERE WAS A NEED TO FILL.

THAT'S HOW THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER WAS BORN.

HERE'S THE STORY.

♪ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SELF-HELP INNOVATIONS NOTICED A CONCERNING PATTERN AMONG HIS CLIENTS.

SO WHEN SELF-HELP PARTNERED WITH MICROSOFT AND THE DEPARTMENT OF AGING, HE KNEW WHERE TO DIRECT THEIR EFFORTS.

WE RECOGNIZED THAT A NUMBER OF THE PEOPLE THAT WOULD GO TO OUR SENIOR CENTERS WOULD FULLY STOP GOING, AND FOR ANY NUMBER OF REASONS, NO LONGER BE ABLE TO ACCESS THE SOCIALIZATION, THE EDUCATION, AND THE ENRICHMENT THAT WOULD HAPPEN FOR THEM AT THE SENIOR CENTER.

SO WE SAID, WHAT IF WE WERE TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO ESSENTIALLY BRING THE SENIOR CENTER SERVICES TO PEOPLE IN THEIR HOME.

GOOD TO SEE YOU.

THE FOCUS OF HIS CAREER HAS BEEN UTILIZING TECHNOLOGICAL INNOVATIONS TO HELP OLDER ADULTS LIVE SAFELY, INDEPENDENTLY, AND WITH DIGNITY.

WHAT WOULD BECOME THE SENIOR CENTER, BROUGHT WITH IT SOME UNIQUE CHALLENGES.

MOST NOTABLY, CREATING AN INTERFACE WITH A GENERATION THAT DIDN'T GROW UP WITH COMPUTERS AND SERVING SOME USERS WHO WERE UNFAMILIAR WITH HOW TO USE ONE.

VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTERS USE A CUSTOM MADE INTERFACE THAT BRINGS CUSTOMERS TO THE HOME SCREEN.

FIVE YEARS AFTER LAUNCHING, HE STILL LOOKS FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE THE SYSTEM.

WE WOULD DO A LOT OF IN-HOME SORT OF TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CALLS FOR PEOPLE, WITH THE PURPOSE OF WATCHING THEM USE THE DEVICE TO SEE WHAT WAS THE ACTUAL PROBLEM THAT THEY WERE EXPERIENCING.

AND THEN FIGURING OUT HOW WE COULD USE THE TECHNOLOGY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM INSTEAD OF TRAINING THEM ON HOW TO USE IT DIFFERENTLY.

THAT MENTALITY HAS CUT TRAINING TIME FOR SENIOR USERS TO JUST AN HOUR AND A HALF.

COMPUTERS ARE SOMETIMES FREE OR PROVIDED ON A SLIDING PRICE SCALE.

AND SET UP IN TRAINING ARE INCLUDED.

WHAT STARTED AS A PILOT PROGRAM OF ABOUT SIX USERS, LAST EXPLODED INTO A FULLY ACTIVE TRUE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER, WITH OVER 400 MEMBERS AND ABOUT 40 CLASSES A WEEK.

USERS ARE EQUIPPED WITH A BUILT-IN CAMERA AND MICROPHONE TO JOIN IN ON LECTURES, DISCUSSIONS, CONCERTS, AND EVEN FITNESS LESSONS.

WHERE AM I IN THIS THING HERE?

BOTTOM RIGHT?

I DON'T KNOW.

I'M PETER MARSHAL, THAT'S ALL I KNOW.

IT'S BEEN A GAME CHANGER FOR SENIOR JOHN GATIS.

HE'S BEEN VISITING THE SENIOR CENTER FOR COMPUTER CLASSES UNTIL HIS WIFE PASSED AWAY AND HE SUFFERED TWO STROKES, PAGING LEAVING THE HOUSE A REAL CHALLENGE.

BEING ABLE TO USE THIS COMPUTER AND HAVING COMPUTER CLASSES HERE AND NOT HAVING TO GO TO THE CENTER, IT'S OPENED UP A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF REALITY FOR ME.

SUBSEQUENTLY THROUGH PHYSICAL THERAPY, I WAS ABLE TO GET BACK TO WALKING.

NOW I DON'T WANT TO GIVE THIS UP ANYMORE.

HE HAS HIS FRIENDS AND HOBBIES.

BUT HE SAYS THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER PROVIDES SOMETHING NEW IN HIS LIFE.

AND THAT'S EXCITING.

SO IT'S LIKE HAVING SOMEBODY IN THE HOUSE WITH ME.

IT IS ACTUALLY GREAT FOR THAT.

THE SOCIALIZATION OF THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER AND THE BENEFITS FROM THE CLASSES IT PROVIDES CAN BE EXTRAORDINARY.

JANICE BAKER MOFFITT HAS MS.

SHE USED TO WALK TO THE GYM EVERY DAY, BUT SHE'S BECOME MORE HOME BOUND.

TODAY SHE JOINS DOZENS FROM HER HOME IN CHICAGO TO PARTICIPATE IN A MUSIC PERFORMANCE AND DISCUSSION.

IT'S AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN DO, NOT ONLY DANCING IN A CHAIR, BUT EXERCISING IN A CHAIR, AND LIFTING NOT ONLY MY LEGS BUT MY SPIRITS.

ALSO JOINING TODAY'S CLASS, DORIS COX.

SHE SAYS THE VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER CAME AT THE RIGHT TIME FOR HER.

I WAS PHYSICALLY JUST ABOUT BURNED OUT, BUT WITH THIS MENTAL STIMULATION FROM THIS PROGRAM, WHERE WE HAVE A LOT OF DIFFERENT CLASSES AND WE PARTICIPATE IN DISCUSSIONS AND WE LISTEN TO MUSIC, AND WE TAKE EXERCISES, NOW MANY DOCTOR IS SAYING ALL MY TESTS ARE COMING BECOME WITHIN THE NORMAL RANGE.

BEYOND THE BENEFITS OF MENTAL AND PHYSICAL STIMULATION, IT WILL ALLOW FOR BETTER OVERALL CARE MOVING FORWARD.

HE FOUND IN TESTING WITH SELF-HELP'S CASE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM THAT CONNECTING WITH PATIENTS FACE-TO-FACE VIRTUALLY LED TO MORE PRODUCTIVE CHECK-INS THAN THOSE DONE OVER THE PHONE.

WE HAD ONE PERSON THAT WAS PART OF OUR PROGRAM THAT WERE DOING THEIR MONTHLY PHONE CALL CHECK-IN AND EVERYTHING SOUNDED FINE.

THEN THEY PUT THE PERSON ON A VIRTUAL SENIOR CENTER, AND THE GUY WAS SWEATY WHEN THEY DID A CALL.

THEY SAID WHY ARE YOU SWEATY?

MY AIR CONDITIONER BROKE.

WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL US?

WE HAVE ACCESS TO RESOURCES TO PIE YOU A NEW AIR CONDITIONER.

SO THE THINGS THAT HAPPEN PHYSICALLY, THE BODY LANGUAGE IS SO IMPORTANT IN UNDERSTANDING WHAT A PERSON'S ACTUAL SITUATION IS.

BUT FOR REGULARS, NOTHING BEATS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE NEW FRIENDS AND LEARN NEW THINGS EVERY SINGLE DAY.

WITH THE COMPUTER, I'M TAKING DOG TRAINING LESSONS.

AND WE'RE GOING TO LEARN, RESPECT WE?

I'M GOING TO LEARN YOU.

> ONE OF THE MAIN BARRIERS KEEPING LOW INCOME STUDENTS OUT OF COLLEGE IS THE LACK OF SCHOOL COUNSELORS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, LEAVING MANY OF THE KIDS ON THEIR OWN TO NEGOTIATE APPLICATIONS, FINANCIAL FORMS, AND THE PERSONAL STATEMENTS.

THOSE ESSAYS MOST NEED TO SUBMIT AS PART OF THEIR APPLICATIONS.

TO COMBAT THE GUIDANCE GAP, MANY SCHOOLS TURNED TO PEER COLLEGE COUNSELORS.

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO ARE APPLYING TO COLLEGE THEMSELVES.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY, PERSONAL STATEMENT, FOLLOWING THROUGH BROOKLYN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS WHO ASSUMED THAT RESPONSIBILITY, EVEN AS THEY NAVIGATE THEIR OWN SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES.

HERE'S A LOOK.

WE STARTED TO LOOK AT SOME OF THE DATA IN SOME SCHOOLS, 700 STUDENTS HAD ONE GUIDANCE COUNSELOR.

THREE HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS REALIZED THAT GETTING INTO COLLEGE IS GOING TO BE TOUGH.

SHE'S LIKE, YOU MIGHT NOT GET ACCEPTED ANYWHERE.

THEIR SCHOOLS HAVE FEW RESOURCES.

THEIR FAMILIES OFTEN CANNOT HELP.

BUT THEY'RE DETERMINED.

[ SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE ]

AS PART OF OUR INITIATIVE, CHASING THE DREAM, POVERTY AND OPPORTUNITY IN AMERICA, WE'RE NOW JOINED BY JULIAN DRESNER.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

FIRST OF ALL, HOW DID THIS DOCUMENTARY COME ABOUT?

WHAT DID YOU DECIDE TO ATTACK THIS PARTICULAR SUBJECT?

AS YOU KNOW, COLLEGE ACCESS AND EDUCATIONAL INEQUITY ARE SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUES OF OUR TIMES.

I WAS INTERESTED IN MAKING A FILM THAT ADDRESSED THOSE ISSUES.

AND WHEN I LEARNED THAT THERE WERE YOUNG PEOPLE IN NEW YORK CITY WHO WERE STEPPING UP TO FILL THE COLLEGE GUIDANCE GAP IN THEIR SCHOOLS BY WORKING AS PEER COLLEGE COUNSELORS, I THOUGHT WHAT BETTER WAY TO UNDERSTAND THE BARRIERS THAT THEY FACE BY FOLLOWING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO HAD TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO BECOME THE VERY RESOURCE THAT THEY DIDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO, COLLEGE COUNSELING, AND TO FOLLOW THEM AS THEY TRIED TO SURMOUNT THOSE BARRIERS, NOT ONLY FOR THEMSELVES, BUT FOR EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEIR CLASSMATES, AS WELL.

THE KIDS ARE AWESOME, AND WE'LL SPEAK ABOUT THEM IN A SECOND.

BUT PLEASE EXPLAIN WHY PAYING FOR SCHOOL COUNSELORS SEEMS TO BE SUCH A LOW PRIORITY IN A PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM.

IT DOESN'T SEEM TO MAKE SENSE.

FIRST OF ALL, I JUST WANT TO POINT OUT THAT THIS IS A NATIONAL ISSUE, IT'S NOT JUST A NEW YORK CITY PROBLEM.

THAT WAS GOING TO BE A QUESTION.

MOST PUBLIC SCHOOLS IN OUR COUNTRY DON'T HAVE ANY COLLEGE COUNSELORS.

THEY OFTEN HAVE SCHOOL COUNSELORS, BUT THOSE SCHOOL COUNSELORS DO A LOT OF -- TAKE ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT IMPORTANT ROLES.

IN ADDITION TO COLLEGE COUNSELING.

THE AVERAGE SCHOOL COUNSELOR HAS ABOUT 22% OF THEIR TIME TO FOCUS ON COLLEGE COUNSELING.

BUT THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS THING IS THE RATIO OF STCHOOL COUNSELORS TO STUDENTS IS 1 TO 490.

THAT IS SOMETHING THAT EVEN THOUGH THERE IS A NATIONAL DIALOGUE ABOUT THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP, ABOUT COLLEGE ACCESS IN GENERAL, FOLKS ARE NOT REALLY FOCUSING ON THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT PROVIDING COLLEGE COUNSELING IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS WHERE IT'S ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS THAT ARE EDUCATING YOUNG PEOPLE WHO WOULD BE THE FIRST GENERATION TO GO TO COLLEGE IF THEY WERE TO GET THERE.

LOW INCOME STUDENTS.

95% OF ALL HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS HAVE COLLEGE ASPIRATIONS.

BUT ONLY ABOUT 16% OF LOW INCOME STUDENTS ARE GETTING A COLLEGE DEGREE, EVEN THOUGH 95% SAY THEY WANT TO GO TO COLLEGE, IT'S ONLY 16%. AND ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS THAT WE'RE OFTEN NOT FOCUSING ON, BUT WE HOPE THE FILM WILL SHED LIGHT ON, WE ARE NOT PROVIDING THE COLLEGE COUNSELING THAT STUDENTS NEED WHILE IN HIGH SCHOOL, BECAUSE THE COLLEGE PROCESS, ESPECIALLY THE FINANCIAL AID PROCESS, IS MORE COMPLICATED NOW THAN EVER.

WE SEE THAT IN YOUR FILM, BUT WHEN YOU SAY FOLKS AREN'T FOCUSED ON THIS, WHAT FOLKS ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, THAT SOMEBODY LIKE ME IS NOT FOCUSED ON IT, BUT THAT TEACHERS AREN'T FOCUSED ON IT?

THAT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS AREN'T FOCUSED ON IT?

IT MAKES NO SENSE, AND AFTER -- BUT PEOPLE SEE OUR FILM, AND THEY HEAR THESE STATISTICS, AND THAT THE AVERAGE RATIO IS ONE COUNSELOR TO 490 FOLKS, THEIR JAWS DROP.

BUT THEY HAVE NOT HEARD THE STATISTIC BEFORE.

PEOPLE ARE GENERALLY NOT AWARE OF IT.

SO THE FOLKS WHO ARE MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT WHERE WE PUT OUR RESOURCES FOR EDUCATION, WHAT IS FUNDED, WHAT ISN'T FUNDED IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THOSE ARE THE FOLKS WHO WE HOPE WILL SEE THE FILM AND WILL RETHINK THIS.

ONE ANALOGY THAT I USE IS THAT, YOU KNOW, IMAGINE IF -- THIS IS NOT HARD TO IMAGINE, YOU NEED TO KNOW MATH TO GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL.

BUT IMAGINE IF WE SAID YOU NEED TO KNOW MATH, BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO FUND MATH TEACHERS.

MAYBE SOMEBODY AT HOME CAN TEACH YOU MATH.

FIGURE IT OUT, YOU NEED IT TO GRADUATE, BUT IT'S ESSENTIALLY THE SITUATION WE HAVE WITH COLLEGE COUNSELING.

IT'S AN IMPORTANT FILM.

THANK YOU FOR MAKING IT AND JOINING US TO TALK ABOUT IT.

THANK YOU.

PERSONAL STATEMENT WILL AIR ON WNET 13.

PLEASE CHECK YOUR LOCAL LISTINGS FOR AIR TIMES.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM, III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- --Captions by VITAC-- www.vitac.com

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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