A Note from the Director

 Proud big sister Louise holds new­-born Roland Henry McCarter

Proud big sister Louise holds new­-born Roland Henry McCarter

Dear Friends,

The winter of 2006 has been a special time for both FSM and me personally. On February 20, my wife delivered a baby boy – Roland Henry McCarter. The Free Spirit Media family is growing as well.

New trainees from Chicago’s South Side worked with HoopsHIGH this winter in preparation for the upcoming opening of Gary Comer’s Youth Center in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood; FSM is expanding to run live ­event and video production programs there. Our Advanced Crew was wonderful with the new kids, helping instill our culture of professionalism, teamwork, and creativity.

Our HoopsHIGH Advanced Crew also has connected with FSM’s participants at North Lawndale College Prep High School at showcases and several exciting NLCP basketball games covered by HoopsHIGH. Our participants, current and former, have come to appreciate FSM and HoopsHIGH as an extended family. They are friends; they challenge and support each other; and they learn from each other’s experiences.

The students are motivated by the fact that their work matters. Through our HoopsHIGH show on CAN TV, FSM’s PSAs, documentaries, and dramas are finding a diverse and appreciative audience. An estimated 50,000 Chicago cable viewers watch HoopsHIGH every week, and many more see the videos at showcases and festivals. With the generous encouragement of supporters, our participants’ work is making a difference in the public sphere.

Even more profoundly, the experience of producing the work is affecting the participants. They are aware, inspired, and committed to exploring their potential. More of our seniors than ever are preparing to study communications in college. I am proud to count such thoughtful and ambitious young people among our FSM family. I am deeply grateful to everyone who is making this ongoing fulfillment of our mission possible.

Jeff McCarter,

Founder and Executive Director