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The Five Points Miracle Story - A Rockland Documentary

Mel Hancock of Suffern is looking to make a film about a home where he spent his entire childhood

In 1965 at 9 years old, Mel Hancock moved to a residential home called Happy Valley School in Pomona.  This school previously resided in the Five Points area of lower Manhattan. The name Five Points evokes images of poverty, rampant crime, decadence and despair. The area was filled with dilapidated and unlivable tenement houses, gang extortion, and corrupt politicians. This was a place where all manner of crime flourished.

Originally from St. Albans, Queens, Hancock’s mother chose to place her five children in Happy Valley School after it moved to Pomona.  Hancock lived at the school from the age of nine to 16.

The school closed in 1972, but every year, he gets together with alumni of Happy Valley. There are many success stories of the children that grew up there and some sad stories as well as everything in between.

Hancock, who has worked in the theater arts for over 25 years, is looking to produce a documentary about Happy Valley School and its students who once lived there. 

I will interview the students and some of the community members and get their perspective on the “HOME” in Pomona. We will explore the strong “family” connection these people formed in spite of coming from dysfunctional families or from no family at all. After meeting some of the subjects of the film, one will understand why the word “miracle” is used often to describe Happy Valley.”

Hancock is looking for funding for this film. The Happy Valley preview video seen in this article was produced and edited by Tamotion.

If you are interested email him at melskip@aol.com or go to www.kickstarter.com/projects/1199224416/the-five-points-miracle-the-happy-valley-story

Anne Parker April 01, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Ed I.too,was one of the Happy Valley children. I shall be in Suffern in May and would love to visit with you. Tom Canty will know how I can reach you. Anne Cherney Parker
Mel Hancock April 01, 2011 at 01:04 PM
Anne, Mel Hancock here. I am the one doing the documentary about Happy Valley. I lived there from '65 to '71. When were you there? do you want to send me a bio and some of your experiences that I may use in the documentary? My e - mail is melskip@aol.com. Also if you could share the video that may be helpful with funding this project. thanks Mel
Donna Schmidt October 01, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Cannot wait to see the finished product Mel! I know it will be fantastic.
Patricia Lewis-Pinero August 11, 2013 at 04:14 PM
I just listened to Mel's video , The Five Points Miracle, a little teary eyed I must say. My dad is Paul Lewis and he is 92 . I live on Long Island and he is in Florida now. He lived in the lower east side Manhattan and was sent to Happy Valley Farm, Pomona , NY when he was like 5 and spent many years there. His history is truly amazing and he is just so grateful to have been in that school. He has had a very successful life and remembers everything.I have been researching the Five Points, Orphan Trains , etc. for months now and just came upon this today. My Dad is now just really telling me all this and I have been reporting back to him everything I find and also making him believe that he should feel so proud to have been part of such an amazing history of this country and New York, the way it was then. He remembers the ladies bringing Christmas presents to Happy Valley. I better stop now because he has told me so much, I could go on and on. I really don't know if this documentary was made yet or if you will even get this Message so will be grateful to hear more about it. Thanks, you made my day!

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