In the spring of 2016, we were approached by The Fort Wayne Rescue Mission to develop a made-for-TV biographical series of short films called, “Real Change”. The series theme was to tell life stories of men and women who had experienced profound life change through their time at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission / Charis House. Each of the episodes are aired on the local ABC/NBC affiliate as part of a show called InSight.
The first of these was on a young woman named Samantha Nicholas. Samantha’s story is heartbreaking, but also inspirational. Samantha dealt with physical, mental and sexual abuse as a child and teen, was homeless for a time, and nearly ended her life one day when a friend called her and eventually led her to getting help at the Charis House.
Telling Samantha’s story was one of the most challenging productions I’ve done in some time. It’s one thing to tell fictional stories. It is another thing altogether to tell someone’s real-life story. Carelessness in any aspect of Samantha’s story could have had serious repercussions for years to come, so it was paramount that we tread carefully on some deeply-rooted and tragic story elements.
I was grateful to find a young Samantha in our oldest daughter, Elizabeth. I was also blessed to find a teenage Samantha in a young but very talented actress named Janae Jeran. This first installment was so well-recieved that it went on to win an Award of Excellence in the video category at the 2017 Association of Gospel Rescue Missions annual convention.