Local Filmmaker, Kerra Penn, along with producing partner, Pat Ulie, wishes to create a 60 minute documentary film that shows the positive influence that matching five underprivileged youths with five successful (older) mentors can have. What is unique about this film is that each youth will discover at their initial introduction to their mentors that their partners in the HUG Project share a common background. Each mentor will have come from similar circumstances as their protégé whether it was a broken home, poverty or other challenges in their young lives. The mentors will share how they overcame these challenges and succeeded in careers and became what the youth hope to become someday. The process and reaction to these initial meetings will be guided and documented by the filmmakers.

The filmmaker’s ultimate vision is that the film – which will match 5 mentors with 5 youths – will be the launch pad for the HUG Project to be continued with a partnering youth advocacy program as an ongoing and continuing project. Project lead and producer Kerra Penn believes that the film could have a powerful effect on Pittsburgh residents of multi-generations and backgrounds to learn that, although the challenges of today and the past may have come in different forms, that overcoming these challenges must come from within and there is no better way to learn this than to learn this lesson from someone who has already succeeded in doing so. The mentors will help the youths by sharing their hard-earned wisdom and the mentors will be helped by the youths as they share their knowledge of modern technology and teach them how to use the internet and social media to overcome the “technical isolation” that many (who were not “born with a computer in their hands”) experience in today’s high-tech world.

Learn more about The HUG Project – Helping Us Grow at