Living on One Dollar - SM Welcomes Humanitarian and Filmmaker Chris Temple


Everyone has the power to make a difference – one of many valuable lessons imparted to the SMCHS community by Chris Temple during the assembly Living on One Dollar last week. Temple, an award-winning humanitarian, activist and filmmaker who, along with his co-founder Zach Ingrasci, produced directed, and starred in the films, Living on One Dollar and Salam Neighbor, documentaries about some of the world's most complex issues and environments. Temple’s belief in experiential learning – placing himself in someone else’s shoes, has helped him to grasp the challenges of those living in poverty. He shared riveting accounts of his own experiences living on $1 dollar a day during the two months in rural Guatemala, facing many of the common challenges including hunger, parasites and extreme financial stress. Temple shared how inspired he was by these people which led– and impressed how small changes can have a huge impact in the lives of those suffering from extreme poverty. 

Following the assembly, a group of students enjoyed lunch with Temple which allowed them the opportunity to ask him questions. Some of their feedback is below which illustrates how impactful his message was!

Ben Erhardt ‘19: I found Chris’s story to be especially interesting as a film student at SM. For awhile I’ve personally been grappling with the question of how I want to continue incorporating filmmaking into my life if I ultimately decide not to study it in college. Hearing Chris’s words about looking for opportunities to use our passions to better the world was very reassuring for me.

Katie Flores ’19: One thing I really took away from his talk at lunch was that he did not have a concrete plan. All of his work fell into place as God intended it to. To me, that meant everything because in our environment we are so heavily pressured to be these perfect people who know exactly what they want to do and how to get there and the intensity to reach these high standards is stressful. But for Chris, he did what he felt was right and he landed on his path, that makes him happy, which is such an important lesson for our student body, and myself specifically, to hear.

John Grayson ’19: Something that I really enjoyed today was when Chris was talking about how film is such a powerful medium and how they used it for a great cause. 

Sydney Oducado ’21: . . . when Chris talked about when people asked what’s your passion or what are you passionate about, it really spoke to me. It’s such a broad question and I don’t really know what I’m passionate about and I’m not sure if I ever will, but he talked about doing the trips and how immersing in the cultures made him excited and happy I guess that resonated with me. I have been having a hard time trying to find what my niche or what my thing is, and now I know that I don’t really need to know, but what I need to know is what makes me happy and gets me excited. Also, in general, I get so excited when I hear about doing service and helping people because it is just something that I thoroughly enjoy. So when I got the email for the lunch and listened to his speech at the assembly it just made my day.

Brandon Schillig ’19: . . . As he explained his passion for both helping others and filmmaking, I was able to see that often times in life you do not have to isolate yourself to one area of expertise, or skillset. Chris combined his skills of filmmaking and desire to help others to help show the love of Christ in different parts of the world. He took his own path in life, and by being himself he helped others and changed their lives dramatically.


(Editor’s Note: Following his visit, Chris Temple asked us to pass along his note of thanks to the SM community, per below.)
   Hey Santa Margarita,

    Thanks so much for the warm welcome to your school and community today! I left feeling
    energized, and am excited to see what each of you goes on to create. 

    For anyone who is interested in the films or more resources, please see the below links:

   If you ever have any questions, or want to reach out, don't hesitate:

   Thanks so much!!