Poverty has a dangerous impact on children's health and development. Chronic exposure to hazardous substances from poor housing (lead, asbestos), homelessness, food insecurity, obesity, asthma, physical and sexual abuse, unsafe neighborhoods, and little to no access to health care have myriad impacts on physical health and drastically reduce children's life chances. Children living in poverty are also more likely to feel like a failure and often develop a sense of hopelessness about their future. The most striking effect is poverty-induced stress. When a child experiences stress day in and day out and fails to calm down, the life-saving "fight-or-flight" response turns into a life-threatening one, with the released adrenaline and cortisol turning against the body. Toxic stress disrupts a child's brain development, immune system, cardiovascular system and metabolism and increases the risk of chronic disease and cognitive impairment well into adulthood.
On June 21, 2023, the first edition of 10CHILDREN premiered in Cleveland, Ohio.
We are partnering with The MetroHealth System, and their Institute for H.O.P.E.™, Center for Arts in Health and School Health Program. The theatrical performance is produced by the Cleveland Play House. Well-known playwright Eric Schmiedl is penning the script, and Liesbeth Coltof is directing. The director of Cleveland State University’s (CSU) School of Film & Media Arts, Cigdem Slankard, is making the documentary with CSU students. LAND studio and MetroHealth are working with visual artist Amber Ford to create photography exhibitions with the children. For the education package, we are working with the MetroHealth and Cleveland Play House. The entire project is funded locally through grants, philanthropic donations and the Netherlands-America Foundation.