In 2001 we set out to interview kids over a 5000 day period (roughly K-12) on film to record what it’s like to grow up in America today. Over the past 14 years, hundreds of kids from around the world have been added to the project, revealing some of the challenges that kids face in their young teen years no matter where they live. 

The first few years of the project highlighted a startling revelation: almost every child, regardless of education, privilege, or background, feels completely alone, like he or she is the only one experiencing these feelings. Children tend to feel too old to talk to their parents and too young to talk to each other. This normally results in years of adolescent turmoil where confidence and self-image plummet and desperate decisions are made.

Some of the stories we've captured over the years are made into films to let children know in the most convincing way possible that they are not alone. It is vital that participants maintain 100% ownership of their footage so when a film is made, it is the kids (and parents) who decide that they want to help others by sharing their stories.

"Prottush" over the years- one of the original 5000 Days kids. 

"Prottush" over the years- one of the original 5000 Days kids. 

As the Project has evolved beyond the documentary series, we've explored new ways to help more youth capture and effectively process their own stories. We've developed guided video journals designed to open intellectual and emotional doors, build self-awareness and self-confidence. Instead of becoming victims of forces that rule them, whether they be familiar patterns or emotional mysteries made all the more confusing by hormones, children can start to understand those forces with the hope of becoming masters of them. Adults do this—so why not kids? By age 13, kids are starting to make key life-altering decisions and they’re largely making them in the dark.

Socrates said, "know thyself." By asking challenging questions of themselves on a regular basis—especially at the least self-aware period of their lives—children can gain self knowledge and perspective.

Inspired by what we do? Take action! Meet some of the other kids we're following and consider being a sponsor to bring more real-life stories to light.

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Would you or your family like to be involved with the project? Explore how you can start capturing your own story, and may be able to audition for a future film.

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"Having our daughter’s life chronicled for the 5000 Days series was a dream come true. It is amazing to see how our sweet little girl grew up right before our eyes, and time truly flies when you are living it. No one could really tell you and have you understand how the time flies, so being able to look back on her life is a real gift for us, not to mention a gift for her. I think it really helped her stay focused and mature to some degree knowing that she’d have these periodic check-ins. We are forever grateful for the experience." -A. W.