DAY ONE follows a group of teens from war zones in the Middle East and Africa, as they are resettled in St. Louis, MO and enrolled at a unique public school for refugees-only. Traumatized upon their arrival -- having survived war and years in refugee camps -- the kids are guided through an incredible program of healing, PTSD intervention, education and adjustment by the school's passionate and talented educators, some of whom have chosen to live with their families in the inner-city in order to be closer to their students. Our featured teens come from Somalia, Afghanistan, the Congo, Iraq, and Syria. Some have lost one or both parents, have been unable to attend school for years on end, and have suffered war traumas. These students and their families are faced with economic, language, psychological and cultural challenges, sometimes dangerous living conditions, and the U.S.'s turbulent anti-immigrant political climate. Filmed over the course of a year, we watch the kids progress through their layers of grief and loss as they attend school, forge new friendships, and prepare to be mainstreamed into "regular" public high-school with the support and mentorship of their unbelievably compassionate teachers and advocates. Their triumphs and tribulations all unfold with St. Louis as the backdrop: a rust-belt city in decline in the heart of "red" America that has taken the bold step of welcoming immigrants as a solution for their growing socio-economic problems.
Written by Lori Miller