From Sailing to Filming


by Denny Kinderman and Nigel Lee


Remember Nigel Lee? In an article “Setting Sail for Change” we had written how we were thrilled with the opportunity for him to train with other young men for an ocean voyage of self-discovery, teamwork and transformation from their criminal pasts. In Sail Future, he was to sail the ocean blue – but it all fell through. That article ended saying we will never give up on Nigel then 16.

Now at age 19 he’s involved in another opportunity. A few weeks ago a large filming crew arrived at PBMR. Pasdal Rudnicke Casting and the production company chose our location for their work creating TV commercials for the “AT&T Believe” Program. While a number of our youth were involved, it was Nigel that caught their attention.

The following week they flew him to Atlanta for a couple days of filming. He quickly went from intern to three positions. He is a production assistant, a member of the cast, and has a third role as influencer – keeping everyone on their toes and enjoying their work.

He is moving away from street life but not forgetting. We at PBMR have circles and workshops focusing on healing and the trauma violence causes. Nigel tells us how it is known in the streets among the youth.

While filming in Atlanta he got into a deep conversation with Jena, one of the producers. After their conversation he recorded a selfie. You can hear and see it on our website; but a transcript is presented here as it was taped adlib. While he is speaking to what the “AT&T Believe” Program needs to know, it is good for all of us.

“Hello, It’s Nigel Lee and I’m on set. So me and Jena we just had a talk and she was saying what she did with her work; and we went into deep conversation, you know. And I had let her know something that I don’t think a lot of people know that I think a lot of people should know.

“And it’s not just in Chicago. It’s not just in Atlanta. It’s not just in Dallas; it’s everywhere. You know wherever there is violence, I know in my neighborhood for a fact, kids suffer from PTSD. And it don’t get dealt with correctly because a lot of people don’t know that kids suffering from PTSD have PTSD because they stay to their self or whatever or whatnot. And even if people do know some kids got PTSD it don’t get handled correctly – you know what I’m saying.

“Like, people get shot a lot as you know in Chicago. People get shot in front of people, down the street, relatives, close friends – it’s anybody, everybody, anywhere, everywhere, you know. And just imagine not only the person that get shot, of course it’s a tragedy, but imagine the person that was right there, you know what I’m saying, even the person that was shooting, imagine them.

“You know what I’m saying; like for real. PTSD is very alive in our neighborhood, and I really don’t know what to do about it myself, you know, but I know it’s people out there that can help. I’ll be glad to help; I’ll be more than grateful to help. I just want to tell you guys I think it is something that should be addressed. Post-traumatic stress, actually it’s not post-traumatic stress it’s present traumatic stress because these kids are going through this stuff as we talk right now.

“I remember a time when one of my friend’s daddy died in front of me and him; we was both right there. And you know what I’m saying I still remember that picture vividly to this day. You know what I’m saying, after that, after he got shot and killed, the area that he got shot in, I didn’t go to that place for Lord knows how long, because I was scared. I, I got over it. But there’s kids that won’t even go back; that’s what I’m trying to say. There’s kids that their mind really gets messed up due to that type of stuff.

“And I don’t want to keep talking and running my mouth, but, yea, something should be done about it. And I hoping you guys will do something about it because I know all you guys got a good heart. You got me out here, got me doing something positive, something good. Let’s help out. Let’s fight this present post-traumatic stress disorder – for real.”

Thank you, Nigel. This year we have titled our fund raising gala “Disrupting Violence.” Funds raised at the event May 1st and on line will help us “fight this present post-traumatic stress disorder – for real” as Nigel encourages. He is an influencer for all of us; and we’ll never give up.