American Underdog, a biopic on the lives of Treasure House founders, Kurt & Brenda Warner, premiered on Christmas Day. “The opportunity to be part of the Warner’s story during this iconic and much anticipated moment in their lives is extremely special,” said Lauri Tanner, CEO of Treasure House. “The once-in-a-lifetime platform has brought attention to our active living community’s impact on the lives of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which means so much.”
Every resident has their unique Treasure House Story, but there’s always one similarity: empathizing as an underdog. An underdog is someone who is underestimated, misjudged or miscalculated. Underdogs just aren’t favored to win. But they do.
After sustaining a fall at just four months old that caused brain swelling, Zack Warner was not expected to make it through the night. The accident left him blind, but he defied all the odds. Zack is now 31, leading a purposeful life at Treasure House alongside 29 other residents with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have their own Treasure House Stories.
“Treasure House has the ability to take this group of what everybody looks at as underdogs and say, ‘Destiny belongs to you. The future belongs to you. You can walk in your purpose. You can live in your dreams,'” said Kurt Warner at Celebrity Game Night. “Parents and families are starting to hope and dream for something bigger because of Treasure House.”
American Underdog illustrates that good things happen through virtue, commitment, and faith. Residents live this message out every day. Since Christmas Day, thousands of people have viewed the moving film and felt compassion for the underdog, which makes our community, to some extent, feel seen and heard.
The timing of the exposure that American Underdog has provided to Treasure House is idyllic. A feature on Zack at Treasure after the credits of American Underdog, combined with curious individuals seeking to learn more about the Warners, has driven welcome traffic to our site and social media platforms, where we actively share stories from our community.
Users are discovering for the first time what a community of young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities can achieve when striving for independence, purpose and inclusion, together. Our family members and our content I.N.S.P.I.R.E., and we’re pleased to be able to share the Treasure House Phoenix model with more people around the world.
During an interview and photo shoot at Treasure House, Kurt told People Magazine, “We’ve got another chapter to write, and a big part of that will hopefully be opening Treasure Houses all over the world.”
Treasure House Phoenix is at full capacity, and the need for models like ours is huge. “We want to take it everywhere in every state so other parents can experience what this is like to watch their son or daughter with intellectual disabilities live a full life,” said Brenda in an interview with the L.A. Times.
No pressure, right?! In October 2021, CEO Lauri Tanner announced a $10 million capital campaign called Growing Home, which is intended to sustain and grow the Treasure House Phoenix model to meet increasing demand, and to replicate the distinctive model across the country.
If you were to hit rewind on the Treasure House Story, Kurt and Brenda’s love story would be the first couple of scenes. American Underdog provides a glimpse at the young lives of the Warners, and all that the family endured to make their dreams come true before aspiring to generously do the same for others. The Warner’s founded Treasure House in 2018.
“These 29 residents can put their stuff in their apartments and invite a friend over for a coke; they can wake up and say I’m going to work; they can say ‘do you want to dance tonight?!’ It is an absolute beautiful place that just came from something heavy on my heart,” said Brenda Warner at Celebrity Game Night. “I am the mother of a child that deserves to be seen, deserves to be heard, deserves to be enjoyed, and deserves a full life.”
We’re used to seeing Kurt on the field, but catching him and Brenda in Forbes, and on the likes of Good Morning America, The Kelly Clarkson Show, and the CMA red carpet has been like seeing our best friends on the news. We totally recorded it! Another amazing moment was when Zack attended the Los Angeles premiere alongside the young actor that plays him in the movie, Hayden Zaller.
With exciting hype surrounding the world premiere, we were able provide some pretty unique experiences and opportunities to our residents and supporters. In October, Andrew Erwin, the film’s co-director and Zach Levi, who played Kurt in the film, hung out with us at Celebrity Game Night, and participated in a live Q&A at the event’s VIP lounge. In December, the premiere of American Underdog supporting Treasure House happened in Scottsdale. Residents and hundreds of Treasure House fans were invited to attend the very special screening, which included an introduction from Brenda & Kurt, plus a Q&A opportunity after the movie.