by Tom Martin — By almost unanimous agreement, the challenges currently facing the U.S. are enormous, and will require the creativity, intelligence and leadership skills of every individual, yet this nation’s educational system seems painfully inadequate when it comes to cultivating a new and diverse generation of wise young leaders.

Rising to the occasion earlier this year, filmmakers Joseph and Barbara Lane, the co-owners of JTFM Productions, have embarked on the production of a documentary designed to bring attention to a unique and remarkably successful non-profit educational program that has provided much needed support and encouragement to underprivileged students for more than 50 years – an organization called A Better Chance, which offers these young people exactly that.  The working title of this documentary is “ROI,” and it is slated for release to film festivals and theatrical release in 2017.

Established in the early 1960s in an effort to support 55 African-American students in the pursuit of an excellent education, over the years, this remarkable organization has provided support for several generations of promising young men and women.  Famous graduates of the ABC program include Grammy-winning musician and human rights activist Tracy Chapman and Massachusetts governor and civil rights attorney Deval Patrick. The organization currently has offices in approximately two dozen locations and partnerships with 300 schools, and Joseph and Barbara Lane believe that when audiences throughout the U.S. have an opportunity to see firsthand the work and success record of this remarkable organization, they will see the wisdom of establishing an ABC center in their own community.

When asked why they feel such passion for this project, the filmmakers quote British cryptographer Alan Turing: “Sometimes it is the people no one can imagine anything of who do the things no one can imagine.” They believe that taking the time and making the effort to recognize the great potential within each individual, especially young children living in poverty, is essential if we are create a brighter future for everyone.

Joseph and Barbara Lane believe that the individuals working tirelessly as part of this remarkable organization are living that philosophy, and as America’s demographics continue to change, it is more important than ever to provide every child, regardless of family income and ethnic heritage, with a full range of educational opportunities.

To date, Joseph and Barbara Lane have interviewed educators who work with the ABC program, including officials at the organization’s center in Radnor, Pa., and also with numerous families whose lives have been changed forever thanks to the support of this remarkable organization.  As they continue their work on the production, they are propelled by a sense of excitement, as they anticipate sharing the finished film with audiences in 2017.

In an effort to support the costs of the production, at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 28, the filmmakers will host a special preview of the film-in-progress to a gathering of friends and supporters at The Ridgefield Playhouse, 80 East Ridge.

For more information, visit the filmmakers’ website: