‘It Really Haunts Me Every Day’

Coming Soon to PBS: Victor Rios is haunted each day when leaving the young people he helps mentor in their difficult circumstances while he returns to his safe neighborhood. This struggle pushes him to reflect on memories of his own mentors, who were often in his life only briefly before moving on, and finds solace in the lasting impact all mentors have on young people even after they are gone.

AIRED: December 20, 2019 | 0:01:14

-What's up gentlemen?

-How are you? -Good how are you guys doing?

This project, sort of thinking about what I could really contribute.

I mean, I show up and I create this little façade for the kids.

"Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself. Believe in yourself."

And then what? Vamos muchachos!

They're facing punitive social control.

They're facing mass incarceration.

They're facing the school- to-prison pipeline.

For me to show up and say,

"You can do it, you can do it, you can do it,"

but I'm going back to my nice little neighborhood in Santa Barbara

really, you know, haunts me every day.

And the only way that I can

sort of be at peace with myself

is to say, "Wait a minute."

The people that walked in and out of my life

who told me I could do it,

who told me they believed in me

and that I could believe in myself.

They were only there for phases.

Six months. A year.

And they would leave too.

But they continued to live inside of me.