Sunday, September 28, 2014

Andrew Glover Program Honors

If you've been following my work, you already know that I'm affiliated with a few youth programs throughout New York and D.C./Baltimore areas. This past Friday, the Andrew Glover Youth Program, an alternative to incarcerating convicted young males and young females, did something I hadn't seen before. As a way of thanking their advocates, both the staff and the youth themselves decided to place life-size photos of key individuals who help the Program's participants reach their personal and academic goals. I was blessed to have been named as one their trusted family members and I stay grateful not only for their visual shoutout, but also for the respect and love these kids showed me when I first met them two years ago. Young folk don't like bs. If they think you're just a messenger of lies, they let you know right off the bat and it's over. If you're a newby to urban realities but your intentions are good, they let you get it together. And if you've been doing this kinda' thing for decades because it's your calling and what you do best, they recognize it. Doesn't matter if they come from broken homes. Your presence and testimony to surviving obstacles gives them a blueprint to learning how to not define themselves according to their circumstances but rather to their passion for reinventing themselves. 
Avenue A and 9th Street
Left to right-- Divino Quinones, US Army; Dan Grisby, Volunteer; Tamara Sandy, Soup Kitchen Director; Chino Garcia, Community Activist
The backdrop of this community tribute is a street garden called La Plaza Cultural
Rosie Mendez, Councilwoman

Jan Hanik, Clemente Cultural Center

The artwork on top of the fences was an added surprise. If you look closer, they're trash items that local artists turned into valuables....(amazing!)
Left to right-- Jan Janik, Clemente Cultural Center, Carno Pabon, Community Organizer; Miriam Reverand, Involved Neighborhood Mom
J.K. Canepa, Ecologist; Chris Slow, Firefighter; Ray Turner, Personal Trainer
Right to left-- Tamara Sandy, Soup Kitchen Director; Chino Garcia, Community Activist; Orlando Rodriguez, Business Owner
Every community garden needs a wall to represent the neighborhood's values and aspirations. In this case, the residents are saying their heart is in it!
Makes you re-think of things you typically throw away, right?...
Left to right-- Miriam Reverand, Involved Neighborhood Mom; myself, and Anthony Feliciano, Community Organizer
Inside of the garden is a loud but quiet contrast to the city noise just outside the gate...

Left to right--Hayan Kasem, Neighborhood Deli Owner; Carmen, Neighborhood Grandmother; Frank Morales, Local Priest


Left to right-- Frank Morales, Local Priest; Marttha Mobly, Headstart; Denis Barton, Homeless Coalition

A passerby was taking photos of the fence and reading about each individual being honored. She was excited to see one of them still there, took a few of my biz cards then took my pic next to my pic which was a bit surreal to me, yet it felt great to be recognized when your haters refuse to even acknowledge you. It was a reminder for me to ig the haters and continue what I came here to do. And maybe that was the passersby's own role, to remind me of just that!  

Artwork on the side of a bodega on Avenue A and 11th Street
Founder and Director of The Andrew Glover Youth Program, Angel Rodriguez
Program Coordinator, Jessica Hall
Photographs by Pamela Crimmins
Photo Project by InsideOut

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