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Sanctuary – A Socially Conscious Reality Show

December 13, 2010

Poverty has been bugging me (not only my own brush with it, but the pervasive state of the lower class).  You’ve seen in my post below that I categorize it as institutionalized hopelessness and despair.  Further, that survival trumps morality and coping mechanisms don’t translate to “movin’ on up” skills.  As such, programs that don’t address the heart of the poverty-stricken, such as throwing money at them, may alleviate today’s worry, but does nothing to propel the poor out of poverty.  So I have a solution to both issues.  Sanctuary.

Sanctuary would be a reality show, much like that “Greentown USA” in which a tornado-stricken town is rebuilt to be green-reliant, only taking on the heart and soul of poverty.

Find a beaten-down town, ghost town, devastated and/or abandoned town, or fresh new plot of ground.  Then advertise the intention of creating the town of Sanctuary, where a variety of skills will be learned and executed, beginning with (re)building the town in several phases.  Each phase will be completed by those poverty-stricken individuals who truly want to move up.

To facilitate that and select candidates, a seminar is held with potentials, in which the heart-change of poverty is discussed, examined, etc.   This is followed by individual interviews in which no past issues disqualify (other than violence), but solely the desires for the future and the heart of the candidate.

First phase would be finding hundreds of construction workers, led by mentors, who take every position from foreman to finishing work.  People are trained, counselled, and shaped to be fully-functioning workers.  Once the town is built, these workers either go on to the next town and start building, or “graduate” to real jobs.

Next phase is infrastructure.  Finding and electing leaders, getting businesses up and running, again, all with candidates aided by mentors, until the town of Sanctuary is up and running well.

Eventually, the candidates are “graduated” into middle-class America through job placement and help in securing an apartment.

Consider it a grand experiment.  Episodes that follow the discussion groups in the initial seminar would be enlightening to middle-class America; hearing the real and bogus frustrations; discovering what they really struggle with from keeping food on the table, to addictions, to all kinds of excuses, real or imagined.  Will there be heart change?  Episodes surrounding the interviews, same thing.

Phase one episodes would chronicle the mentoring, those responsive and unresponsive, the standouts and failures.  Will they come together or won’t they?  The progress of the construction and the coping mechanisms of the candidates.

Phase two, business and office workers as they progress.

Follow on episodes of graduates and how they fair in real life.

High drama because it’s real; benefit because it addresses the real problem.

If it works, replicate across America.

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