Carissa’s Story: From the Streets to the Studio

As many of you know, I’m an advocate for the homeless men and women in Atlanta. I spend many hours each week trying to do what I can to bring a bit of happiness to their lives. It is a topic that I’m insanely passionate about.

People tell me, “Homelessness is a problem of mental illness and drug use.” People often discourage me from helping and spending the time that I do. I do whatever I can to put those negative voices to rest as I continue my work.

Then, I learned about the powerful story of Carissa from Joy Donnell (@doitinpublic) and I’m motivated more than ever to continue.

“Carissa” is a film by David Sauvage. It is a true story of a 12 year old homeless girl forced into prostitution. She beat the odds and completely turned her life around. Now, many years later, she graduated from UCLA with a law degree and an MBA. She is a national spokesperson for youth homelessness and she started a non-profit foundation of her own.

This short film (22 minutes) is a documentary of her life and her journey. In addition to this film winning dozens of awards, Carissa has appeared on Good Morning America, the front page of the USA Today Life section, Huffington Post, and a handful of other news and radio stations. Carissa is now working on a memoir to be published by Viking press in 2010.

This documentary is currently running on Current TV. You may also view the entire film by viewing this site:

You can also visit Carissa’s website here –

I hope you are as inspired and motivated by her story as I am.

This is the trailer to the documentary –