CLAD in orange overalls, the Crew 9 girls shove and giggle as they make their way out of the juvenile detention centre for another day 'on the job'.
They're not just young ladies caught up in bad business and sent to the centre for rehabilitation - they're also volunteer firefighters trying to turn their lives around by doing some good in the community.
Firelight, a Hallmark Hall of Fame film, is heart-warming in every sense of the word. Starring Academy Award winner Cuba Gooding Jr from that other inspirational film Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story, Firelight focuses on many moral lessons like owning up to one's mistakes or faults, learning forgiveness, acceptance and appreciation.
It revolves around the lives of young juvenile girls sent to the centre for past mistakes, each looking for redemption of some sort one way or the other. Gooding Jr plays counsellor Dwayne Johnson or DJ, his popular nickname at the correctional facility.
He somehow tries to make the girls realise their full potential by encouraging them to join an elite group of volunteer firefighters - under special guidance though.
They battle raging forest fires, set hiking trails out in the bush and help out when disaster strikes. If you've watched the 2005 film The New World or Princess Kaiulani, then American actress Q'orianka Kilcher would be a familiar Hollywood face, second to Gooding Jr of course.
Kilcher plays Caroline Magabo, a teen whose boyfriend had no problem blaming her for a robbery-getaway gone wrong. She gets bullied and teased by other troubled teens at the detention centre for writing love-letters to her boyfriend, and for her incredibly talented sketches. Crew 9 team leader Terry Easle, played by DeWanda Wise and her sidekick Keisha Daniels (Yakina Horn) have a thing for saving the vulnerable even though both have secrets of their own they want to forget.
Keisha was actually released in one part but found herself back to square one after some difficulty trying to adjust to life outside the centre. I guess this bit shows how different people are in trying to connect with the rest of the world - some are able to change their lives for the better while others struggle to fit in especially when they decide to constantly roll with bad company.
In a way, Firelight depicted the different social situations juveniles find themselves in - and the opportunities right in front of them to change and take ownership and responsibility for the life and actions.
There was a particular line that Gooding Jr used to describe the reason he developed Crew 9 - he said something like, "They come in so broken â€¦ These are girls who've been abused and objectified their whole lives", and that he "wanted to change the way these girls see themselves".
The film has some heroic scenes and life-changing experiences that would probably make you cry or curse or twirl some words at the viavia qase/gangster teens - overall, Cuba Gooding Jr did a good job in playing the supportive counsellor trying to make a positive change in the girls' lives especially, Kilcher's character, who at one point revealed, how one of the other girls was lucky to have people tell her she could do better, whereas her whole life she's been told she belonged in a place like the centre.
Firelight is worth watching for its truly inspiring messages of understanding, encouragement and perseverance.