Posts Tagged With: harlem kids

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)

BY JORDAN TEICHER
DAILY NEWS WRITER

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 RBI Reflects on 20 Years of Service and Beating the Odds in East Harlem

The month of June held major milestones for local non-profit Harlem RBI. The community-based youth development organization broke fundraising records with a 20th anniversary gala, announced an $85 million project with Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Yankees’ First Baseman Mark Teixeira and ultimately, celebrated the graduation of 33 high school seniors along with more than 200 family and friends in East Harlem.

“This has been a monumental way to mark 20 years,” said Harlem RBI’s Executive Director Rich Berlin. “We are so proud of this year’s graduating seniors and every boy and girl who is part of the Harlem RBI family. Together, we’re raising the expectations for each young person and providing the emotional and academic support needed to graduate from high school and continue their education.”

Year round, Harlem RBI serves more than 1,000 boys and girls, ages 5-21, with its unique approach to youth development including participation on a baseball or softball team and engagement in group-based academic and enrichment programming with the ultimate goal of building concrete skills to break the cycle of poverty. Since 2005, 97% of Harlem RBI graduates have received a high school diploma or GED, and 93% were accepted to college. Furthermore, 99% of Harlem RBI youth have avoided teen parenthood. This critical support and impressive results have gained attention from heavy-hitting supporters in New York City.

The organization celebrated its 20th anniversary on June 6 with a gala at Cipriani 42nd Street where a record-breaking $2.25 million was raised for its programs and Teixeira and Cantor Fitzgerald Chairman & CEO Howard Lutnick were honored for their steadfast support. Teixeira recently gave $1 million to Harlem RBI’s capital campaign to build a new home in East Harlem and has launched his own website and social media platform to raise additional funds. Lutnick’s longtime support over the last 10 years makes Cantor Fitzgerald the largest corporate benefactor of the non-profit.

Read the full press release from Harlem RBI on PR Newswire.

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NY Yankees Mark Teixeira, Harlem RBI Create Affordable Housing in Harlem

New York Yankees First Baseman Mark Teixeira (Photo courtesy of G. Newman Lowrance/Getty)

Mark Teixeira and Harlem RBI, in conjunction with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced on Monday a partnership to develop approximately 90 affordable housing units in East Harlem as part of the DREAM Charter School and Harlem RBI’s program and office space.

“This building will be a place where New York families can afford to live,” Bloomberg said. “…. East Harlem will experience the benefits of this development immediately.”

The buildings will be located on E. 104th St. between Second and Third Aves. The $85 million, thirteen story building is expected to open in the summer of 2014.

Read more from the ESPN Blog.

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HUD Awards $549,000 Grant to Combat Asthma in NYC

Associated Press

NEW YORK — The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding a $549,000 grant to fight asthma in New York City’s East Harlem neighborhood by improving indoor conditions in public housing projects.

HUD regional coordinator Adolfo Carrion is announcing the grant to the New York Academy of Medicine and the Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service on Monday. U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel and other elected officials will join Carrion for the announcement.

The project aims to improve the health of East Harlem children with asthma by eliminating indoor health hazards such as mold and dust.

Approximately 23 percent of East Harlem children ages 5 to 12 suffer from asthma.

Asthma is a leading cause of school and work absences, emergency room visits and hospitalizations among low-income minority populations

—Copyright 2011 Associated Press

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NY Yankees Mark Teixeira Donates $1 Million to Harlem RBI

New York Yankees First Baseman Mark Teixeira (Photo courtesy of G. Newman Lowrance/Getty)


By Ian Begley
ESPN New York

Mark Teixeira has been on a tear of historic proportions so far this season.

Teixeira is just the fourth player in Yankee history to start the year with four homers in five games. He’s also the fourth Yankee since 1920 to drive in ten runs in the season’s first five games.

He didn’t get a chance to add to those gaudy numbers on Wednesday when the Yankees-Twins game was rained out.

But, for a group of East Harlem kids, Teixeira still hit one out of the park.

The Yankees first baseman announced on Wednesday afternoon that he’s making a $1 million donation to Harlem RBI, an East Harlem-based charity dedicated to helping the community’s underserved youth. In addition to his donation, Teixeira plans to serve as a driving force behind the construction of a new facility in the neighborhood.

“We have a chance to really make part of Harlem revitalized,” Teixeira said.

Harlem RBI is centered around baseball and softball with an academic focus of helping kids get into college. It started 20 years ago as a diamond on East 100th St., part a of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) program. It has grown into the largest youth-serving organization in the neighborhood, with more than 1,000 members.

Read the full article from the ESPN Blog post.

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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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