05 Dec
  • By Alex Thompson
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Poor Kids USA Update – How are they now? December 2017

Jezza Neumann BAFTA award winning director was recently in the US filming an update for PBS on the families who featured in the film “Frontline Poor Kids”, four years later – here is their news;

Tyler & Kaylie

Kaylie, Tyler & Barbara: Kaylie, now 16 has just started high school and thoroughly enjoys Tae Kwon Do. Unfortunately both her grandma and mother continue to struggle with health issues. Kaylie’s dream is to go to medical school, to be a Pediatric Cardiologist.

After a brief period having dropped out of high school, Tyler 18, is now back in school and living with his mother and sister in their small house in Davenport IA.

Sadly, Barbara was recently given a mild ovarian cancer diagnosis. She had to resign from her factory job because the doctor said she couldn’t lift heavy things. She is starting to undergo treatment and is planning on enrolling in phlebotomist classes, hoping she can move into a less physically demanding and more rewarding line of work.


Johnny & Family

Johnny: now 19 has graduated high school and is currently living with his and working in Chicago to save money for college. His dream continues to be to play football at college level and get a job related to football – ideally playing in the NFL, his plan B is to be a coach or trainer.

Although the family living situation for the rest of the family is still unstable Jaylan, 17, Jasmine 15, and Joshua 13 have all managed to get good grades. The family relocated outside of Atlanta, Georgia in September. Jasmine and Jaylan are taking Reserve Officers Training Courses (OTC) at their new high school. Jaylan is planning on joining the military when he graduates.

Their parents Tom and Classie have just started a window cleaning business, securing accounts at local businesses in their new area. Their goal is to purchase a mobile home.

Roger, Brittany & Family

Roger 19, graduated from high school early. He is still living at home and is working alongside his dad Josh as an installation contractor for Lowe’s. Roger is saving money to get a driving license, which would open up better work opportunities for him.


After a difficult period at middle school, Brittany 15, is getting on well in high school and has fallen in love with the arts, drawing and photography. Her dream is to study fine arts in college.

No longer a baby, Zakk, now 5 will start kindergarten next year. Their mother Christy has started basic school work with Zakk at home, so he will have a good start at school.

While there were many periods of financial unsteadiness over the past few years, Josh’s recent job as a Lowe’s contracted installer means he is able to cope much better in making ends meet for the family.

Sera and Denise

Sera, now 16 still lives in San Francisco in the same apartment complex that they moved into in 2012. She attends an arts-themed high school and her favourite pastime is Anime. She loves to walk to Japan Town to peruse the newest Manga and she belongs to the Anime club at school.

Her mother Denise continues to struggle to find work in the Bay area, given her health issues, her lack of a college degree and her age. She is starting her own craft business, making vintage aprons for sale on Etsy. She is also a grandma now — her oldest daughter Beth has a baby girl, Harley, and they now live in Hanford, CA.

Alex Thompson

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