Posts Tagged With: childrens activities in Harlem

Ivan Velez, Jr. Teaches Harlem Kids How to Draw Comic Book Characters

Ivan Velez Jr. teaches his students how to draw Manga at Harlem library. (Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News)


At the Countee Cullen Library on W. 136th St. in Harlem, Ivan Velez Jr., 49, steps away from his easel and addresses his class, a group of seven kids with and markers in hand.

The topic of today’s workshop is monsters — why we fear them and why we need them.

“Why do people make stories about monsters?” he asks.

Monster stories, he says, use fear to control behavior. The bogeyman gets kids to stay in bed at night. La Llorona keeps kids away from the river.

The stories, he says, also help people cope with adversity by raising a crisis to the status of myth.

“In Tokyo, they have these natural disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis,” he says. “They have these monsters as a way of dealing with it.”

It’s a concept to which Velez can relate.

As a closeted teen growing up in the South Bronx of the 1960s, the world of monsters and heroes was Velez’s best defense.

“It wasn’t safe to talk about certain things. In that culture, you didn’t mention your sexual or ientation. The shame was very strong,” he says.

He sought refuge in his imagination, in the characters he read in comic books — Archie, Superman and the X-Men — and the action stars he watched in kung fu movies.

“It was a way to escape the real world,” he says.

For Velez, teaching at libraries and other education centers is his way of giving back to another generation of artists discovering a new comic culture, providing the guidance they need to create their voices.

Read more from the New York Daily News.

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Harlem Students Learn About the Holocaust Through Theater

By Ben Fractenberg
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

The students will attend a play about the Kindertransports, which rescued Jewish children before WWII.

More than 650 Harlem students will attend a play this week about a young Jewish girl’s escape from Nazi Germany before the outbreak of World War II.

The students will be in the audience for Thursday’s performance of the play “My Heart In a Suitcase” at the Schomburg Center at 515 Malcolm X Blvd.

The drama, based on a true story, follows the life of a 12-year-old girl, Anne Lehmann, who left her family in 1938 aboard a ship bringing children to England during the Nazis’ rise to power.

The so-called Kindertransports carried 10,000 children from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Austria to England in the lead up to World War II. Many of the children ended up living in English foster homes while their families perished in the Holocaust.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car and ArtsPower, a traveling theater group that produces plays based on classic literature and historical events, organized the event.

Read the article from DNAinfo.

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Mayor’s Cup Chess Championship Coming to Harlem

A boy moves a giant chess piece on a board in London's Trafalgar Square. (Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)Students in grades K-12 will bid for the title of “Best in the City” during the competition this weekend in Harlem.

By Tom Liddy

Who’s going to be king?

Some 600 kids will vy for the title of the best chess player in the city on Saturday.

The students will descend on Frederick Douglass Academy, on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard and 149th Street, in Harlem for the four-round tournament, beginning at 10 a.m.

The Mayor’s Cup, will be divided into elementary and junior high/high school students with three levels of play each – open, novice and unrated.

The competition will be open to all students, grades K-12, from public Catholic and independent schools.

A winner will be awarded in each category.

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Harlem Gets Old School, Double-Dutch and Skully Style

A father and son bond over a game of skully, played in the streets of New York for generations, during the weekend Street Games in Harlem. (Photo courtesy of Tara MacIsaac/The Epoch Times)

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times Staff

NEW YORK—The fourth annual Street Games at Thomas Jefferson Park in Harlem brought parents and children together to enjoy the games that have been a part of childhood in the city for generations.

The Department of Parks and Recreation and the Walt Disney Company set up areas to play handball, skip double-dutch style, or hop on a pogo stick, among other favorite street games Saturday afternoon.

A live band played James Brown’s “I Feel Good,” as a parks’ employee got funky with some smooth moves. The Motown vibe pervaded the park, evoking nostalgia while creating new memories.

Read more from the Epoch Times.

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Figure Skaters Call For Equal Time At Harlem Ice Rink

Young figure skaters and parents rallied for more ice time at Riverbank State Park, where they say the rink is dominated by boys’ hockey. (Photo courtesy of CBS 2)

A clash-on-ice is intensifying between parents in Harlem, with a figure skating group accusing the state of giving young girls the cold shoulder in favor of boys’ hockey.

Riverbank State Park was bustling early Sunday, with ice time a precious commodity that has some skaters crying foul.
Figure Skating in Harlem – a private non-profit for girls – is demanding that the state allow them more time to practice, reports CBS 2′s Demetra Ganias.

“It’s a shame we have to turn girls away because there’s not enough ice time,” the group’s founder, Sharon Cohen, said.
The girls pay to practice three school nights each week, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., but they say boys’ hockey – including affluent private schools – are hogging the prime hours.

Read the full article from CBS News.

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Kids Learn About Art and Business at Harlem Textile Works

Chadai Knight Gets Some Help from Friends to Make Her Silk Screen (Photo courtesy of DNA Info)

By Jeff Mays
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

The kids from the Friends of the Children of New York mentoring program thought they were going to Harlem Textile Works to learn how to make silk screen T-shirts.

But that’s half the mission of Harlem Textiles. The other is to show young people how their creativity can transfer into a career as an entrepreneur, artist, or business owner in the fields of graphic and fashion design.

“The fashion industry is sometimes inspired by black and Latino youth,” said Kevin McGruder, chairman of the board of directors for Harlem Textile Works. “People are looking at what they do and copying but they are not involved, they are not making the money. We try to connect them more directly with the industry.”

The kids picked screens with graphic designs like “Sugar Hill” written in Gothic letters and then paired it with an image of Michael Jackson dancing on his toes. They learned how to apply the ink through the silk screen onto a T-shirt using firm strokes while a friend held the screen in place.

Read more from DNA Info.

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Willie Mays, at Home in Harlem, Connects With Its Children

Mays visiting the students at P.S. 46 in Harlem - Photo courtesy of the New York Times

Baseball great Willie Mays returned home to Harlem and visted students from P.S. 46 to talk about his life as a Giants’ centerfielder and his life in Harlem. He even brought gifts for the school’s best students — 12 baseballs, 3 replica 1951 Giants jerseys and even a $100 bill.

Read more from the New York Times article

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Toddler Music Program In Harlem

At 45 Tiemann Place in West Harlem near 125th Street subway station is Sliver Music. A place that teaches youngsters about music and how to create it. The students see it as a chance to make noise but their parents see it as much more, educational and relaxing activity for the little ones. You can read the full story here.

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Farmer’s Markets and Play Streets In Harlem

Harlem and the Bronx were the only two places in the the NYC area the jumped on the great idea of combining a Farmer’s Market street closers with play streets. Play streets include the same street closers as the market but offer the kids a play to play games an exercise while their parents shop for more healthy foods. The study found that 855 youths attended the East Harlem play street from July 15 to Aug. 26. What a great way to spend the weekend with a little shopping and a little fun and exercise. Thanks to our friends at for this story.

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Boy Scouts of Harlem

The Boy Scouts of Harlem often take trips out side of the city, something that some New York City children rarely, if ever get the opportunity to do. Harlem troop 759 teaches their young men respect, hard work and a love of all things city and country. There has been a short no-frill documentary about some of the troop’s activities made. Read here for more information.

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