The largely invisible and often crushing struggles of young African-American men come vividly — and heroically — to life in All the Difference, which traces the paths of two teens from the South Side of Chicago who dared to dream a seemingly impossible dream: 

Two teens from the South Side of Chicago, Robert Henderson and Krishaun Branch, dared to dream a seemingly impossible dream: to graduate from college.  For five years, The Oscar-nominated director Tod Lending followed Robert and Krishaun through hard work, sacrifice, setbacks and joy in All the Difference.  

Both Robert and Krishaun faced huge obstacles growing up. Robert was just 17 months old when his mother was killed by his father. He and his six siblings were taken in and raised by their grandmother. Krishaun, like many of his family members, joined a gang.  But both young men also had a key asset: the Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men, where mentors and teachers encouraged them not only to get through high school but beyond. And while family stability has not been constant, what remains plays a crucial role, especially for Robert. Grandmother Ona, who started life as a Mississippi sharecropper and never got past the fifth grade, offers calm but powerful guidance. As this intimate film shows, their determination started them on the road to success, but it was the support from people in their lives—parents, grandparents, teachers and mentors— that brought them to their destination.

While Robert and Krishaun are focused on the future, they have not forgotten where they came from, and both choose to give back.  Robert served with City Year as an AmeriCorps member in Columbia, South Carolina from 2014-2015. 

All the Difference is a co-production of American Documentary | POV and is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities keep more students on the path to graduation, college and careers.

In addition to the film, City Year is proud to partner with PBS and American Graduate on the ‘All the Difference’ College Bound Handbook, which features video clips that show real-life college situations featuring Robert and Krishaun.