NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - The young local artist at the center of the Academy Award-winning documentary "Inocente" is giving back to the place where her talent took shape.
Inocente Izucar's life changed the night the film about the San Diego teen won Oscar gold.
Back where it started for her, Izucar talked about how the Oscar has opened new doors to pursue her love of art and to share it with others.
"This year I want to do advocacy, so that's really going happen for me and I'm really excited to go to conferences and schools and talk about the power of art," she told 10News during a celebration event on Saturday.
The power of art is what the at-risk young people at A Reason To Survive in National City are immersed in from the moment they walk in the door.
That was true of Izucar and it is true for the generation behind her.
"I've gotten to work with so many different artists here," said student Azia Skeen."It's really great because if you don't know how to do something art-wise, you can always find somebody who does."
Izucar's story – the subject of the documentary about her – was about how she struggled through homelessness and found the purpose of her life through art.
For the young people who find their artistic way at A Reason To Survive, the place and the people are just as important as the paint and the canvas.
"I came into this program and didn't really have anybody but my mom and as soon as I walked through the doors, everybody welcomed me and I'm treated so well here," said Skeen.
For the place that helped Izucar so much, her fame is allowing her to repay the favor.
"To inspire people, to put the importance of arts education, the importance of dreaming and overcoming your struggles and so if we can get that message out and help people do that work that we do, we'll have that much more of an impact," said Matt D'Arrigo, the CEO and founder of A Reason To Survive.
One other nice side effect of Izucar's film is that since it found a wide audience, her relationship with her mother has improved.