Paper Children Online Screening Toolkit

About Paper Children

The YouTube Originals documentary, Paper Children, tells the story of a family that flees gang violence in Honduras. When they come to the U.S. they find a confusing, inconsistent and, at times, a cruel asylum system.

Learn more about the film in our exclusive interview with director Alexandra Codina.

Watch the Film

Watch the full 1-hour film:

Choosing an Online Platform for Your Virtual Documentary Screening

As you plan your virtual documentary screening and discussion, make sure to include the online meeting platform in your plan. Below are a few options for platforms that are free and easy to use. Your SCAN staff contact may also have preferences about online meeting platforms.

  Zoom Messenger Rooms Skype Google Meet
Participant Limit Up to 100 Up to 50 Up to 50 Up to 100
Account Needed Yes No No Yes
Time Limit 40 minutes None None 60 minutes
Polling Feature Yes No No No
Chat Feature Yes No Yes Yes
Account Sign Up Click here N/A N/A Click here
Meeting Set Up Click here Click here Click here Click here
Sharing Video Click here Click here Click here Click here

Tips for Hosting an Online Event

Practice makes perfect! Each platform has different features you should familiarize yourself with in advance. Consider testing the platform a few times before the meeting.

Check to make sure you know how to:

• Start and end your meeting.

• Create and share the link to join the meeting.

• Stream the film, including ensuring that the audio works for participants.

• Check that your microphone and video are working.

• Remove someone who wasn’t invited or is being disruptive.


Test your internet connection in advance.

Plugging directly into your modem will give you the best connection so attendees can hear and see you clearly. If you can’t plug in, sit as close to your router as possible.


Check your video.

Position yourself close to the camera and frame your face so your eyes are in the top third of the frame. Check your lighting and position yourself so there are no lamps or bright windows in the background. A simple, uncluttered background works best.


Practice sharing the film.

Each platform has different instructions for sharing a video in a video conference. Practice sharing the documentary in advance with another participant to ensure the audience can hear and see the film, so you don’t have to troubleshoot during the event.


Create an agenda in advance.

Having clear goals and an outline for what you plan to cover will help keep the meeting on track.


Ask guests to mute when they aren’t talking.

This will limit background noise.


Need help?
Email your SCAN staff contact or [email protected] for support.

Sample Run of Show for an Online Screening of Paper Children

1. Provide up to 5 minutes at the beginning of the event for participants to join. Take this time to remind participants to mute their microphones to reduce background noise.

2. Welcome participants and thank them for joining. Provide an introduction to SCAN for newcomers.

3. Show the film! The full version is an hour long. You can also show a shorter clip [coming soon!], which focuses on root causes for immigration and what happens once asylum seekers arrive in the United States.

4. Engage the audience in a discussion using our sample questions or your own. Keep in mind that SCAN is a bipartisan organization, so try to keep the conversation from becoming too partisan or focused on attacking specific politicians or parties.

5. Invite participants to take action by signing our petition to protect children and families seeking asylum. Provide next steps for newcomers if they are interested in staying engaged with SCAN, such as inviting them to join your SCAN club or Community Action Team, attend a future event or sign up for our action alert emails.

6. Follow-up by sending a thank you email to participants and reminding them to take action and plug-in to future events.

Sample Discussion Questions

Below are some sample discussion questions to help you get the conversation going after watching the film:

• Can you relate to the family featured in Paper Children? How are your lives the same? How are they different?

• Imagine you and your family had to make the difficult decision to leave your home. What would you be leaving behind and what would you hope for?

• Did this film change your perception of asylum seekers? How does their story compare to what is portrayed in the media?

• How are children treated differently in the film than adults?

• How might this film influence your own advocacy efforts?

For a deeper dive into the film and more discussion ideas, check out the Paper Children discussion guide.

Making Your Paper Children Screening Interactive

Online documentary screenings are more engaging when you invite participation. Here are ways you can engage people throughout your screening event.

Take Action 

Invite participants to call on Congress and the White House to stop the violations of children’s rights. You can drop this link in the chat box and encourage people to act. Invite people to complete the action several times throughout your event as some people may miss the link the first couple of times, especially if you have an active chat box.


Create Poll Questions

Polls are a great way to invite engagement during the screening and discussion.

Ideas for poll questions include:

How closely are you following the news about migrant child’s rights violations in the U.S.?
[Answer choices: very closely, somewhat closely, not that closely]

Is seeking asylum in the U.S. protected by law?
[Answer choices: yes, no, I’m not sure. The correct answer is yes.]

What is one way you will help to protect children’s rights following our screening?
[Answer choices: sending an email to my members of Congress; writing a letter to the editor; getting involved with SCAN locally; all of the above]


Leverage the Chat Box

Not everyone feels comfortable speaking on a video call. Invite responses to discussion questions in the chat box. The facilitator can read responses to discussion questions to the group and invite others to comment on them. 

Promoting Your Online Screening

If you are working with a SCAN staff member to organize your screening, they can create an event page to use in your promotion efforts. SCAN staff will also help spread the word to supporters in the area through our email list, website and social media. Here are other ways you can get the words out:

Invite partners to cohost

Involve other nonprofits in the community and/or student clubs to cohost your screening. Local refugee resettlement organizations, immigrant rights’ groups, ACLU and UNICEF clubs are good groups to start with. Even if they don’t opt to partner, they may agree to promote the event.


Share on social media

Consider creating a Facebook event, which enables you to easily invite friends and share regular updates to get folks excited for your screening.

 Be sure to invite your networks to your screening on your different social media channels. Here are some sample posts:

Join me for a free, online screening of @PaperChildrenDoc with @SavetheChildrenActionNetwork on [date/time]! This is a powerful story of a family seeking safety in the U.S.: [link]

Our country’s asylum system can be nonsensical and even cruel, especially for children. Learn more during the @SavetheChildrenActionNetwork screening of Paper Children at [date/time]. Sign up for this free, online event at [link].


Social media tags

Knowing who to tag in your social media posts is crucial! Here are the tags you’ll want to use when posting about your screening:

SCAN Paper Children






Text your friends

A short, personalized text to your friends is a great way to spread the word. Here’s an example text:

Hi [first name]! I wanted to invite you to an online event on [date/time] I’m helping to organize. It’s a screening of a new documentary called Paper Children. It tells the story of a family fleeing gang violence in Honduras. They come to America and face new challenges with our asylum system. It’s a really powerful story! Will you join me?
[If they say “yes,” be sure to share the link to the event and any other key details.]

Engaging Your Networks on Social Media

During your online screening of Paper Children, we encourage you to get active on social media. Below you will find sample social media copy to use on your channels either during or after the screening.

We encourage you to tag us and Paper Children in your posts.

@SCActionNetwork | @PaperChild_Doc

@SavetheChildrenActionNetwork | @PaperChildrenDoc

@SavetheChildrenActionNetwork | @PaperChildrenDoc


Check out our tips for capturing good online photos as well as some examples of photos that could work with your posts!

Facebook and Instagr

Looking forward to watching a screening of @PaperChildrenDoc with my fellow @SavetheChildrenActionNetwork advocates and friends. We can’t watch together in-person, but this online event will be a great (and safe!) alternative. [Insert photo. For example, post a photo of yourself and your computer behind you.]

Thanks to my friends at @SavetheChildrenActionNetwork for getting together with me to watch @PaperChildrenDoc. Such a powerful documentary that shares the story of a family seeking asylum in the U.S. I encourage you all to watch it, too! [Insert photo. For example, post screenshot of the online event.]

I’m moved after watching @PaperChildrenDoc with my fellow advocates at @SavetheChildrenActionNetwork. Every child deserves to have a safe future that’s free from danger. I just sent a message to the Biden administration asking them to protect children’s rights. Please join me!


Currently watching @PaperChild_Doc online with my friends at @SCActionNetwork. Truly a moving documentary that shares the story of a family seeking asylum in the U.S. [Insert photo. For example, post a photo of yourself and the online screen behind you.]

Thank you friends at @SCActionNetwork for getting together to watch @PaperChild_Doc. If you haven’t seen this documentary, I highly recommend it. [Insert photo. For example, post screenshot of the online event.]

A powerful evening with my @SCActionNetwork friends watching @PaperChild_Doc. I feel motivated to do my part and advocate for children and families seeking asylum here in the U.S. Join me in urging the Biden administration to protect children’s rights.


Educating the Public through Letters to the Editor

Writing a letter to the editor following the screening of Paper Children is a great way to reach a wider audience. Customize the sample letter below and submit to your local newspaper.

Sample Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Following the election and looking forward to the next four years, it’s important our nation doesn’t repeat the devastating mistakes of the last four years, especially when it comes to the treatment of children and families at our southern border.

Over the past four years, we’ve witnessed harmful federal government actions, such as separating children from their families – resulting in 666 children with missing parents – and incarcerating toddlers in order to frighten and deter fellow migrants and asylum seekers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been used to expand anti-immigrant policies and close our southern border to children and families fleeing violence. Thousands of children have been expelled from our country without due process or regard for their health and safety. Shamefully, the U.S. immigration system now delivers punishment, rather than protection. Immigrant children – the most vulnerable of all – have suffered most.

Join me and Save the Children Action Network (SCAN) in urging the new Biden administration to fulfill its campaign promises to end family separation, reunify families, address the root causes of migration, protect the safety and well-being of immigrant children and find compassionate alternatives to detention.

Children – no matter where they are from – deserve to be safe. A new administration offers our nation the opportunity to rebuild a stronger, child-centric asylum and immigration system, and to correct past wrongs. Nothing is more important.


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