Griffin Kinard, age 21, has been a poet and writer for the past five years.
Born in Brooklyn, Griffin spent his childhood and teenage years in a series of state institutions - larger residence programs for at-risk youths such as Children's Village in Dobbs Ferry, NY, and Green Chimneys in Brewster, NY.
During the last four years before aging out of the system he found himself back in NYC, finishing high school while living in a Salvation Army group home for boys, The East Village Residency. A 7-months stint in jail was followed by his 21st birthday, and a new commitment to writing. He is a senior writer at Represent Magazine, a bi-monthly publication for and by youth in foster care by the non-profit www.youthcomm.org. Griffin stays at his older sister's home in Harlem most nights, with occasional stints in drop-in shelters when the siblings argue.
For the past 5 months, Melissa Castillo, age 20, and Griffin have been a couple. Herself recovering from a history of institutionalization in group homes and psychiatric programs, Melissa for the first time in her life feels like she can love and trust somebody, and she also appreciates the help and guidance Griffin's sister Salina can provide for her. The young couple fantasizes about getting married and getting a place of their own, providing a home for themselves, Salina and her boyfriend Anthony, if they can scrunch together enough money between the four of them.
New York, NY, February 14, 2009.
Produced for the Do1Thing project: do1thing.org.