Posts Tagged With: Kids 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)

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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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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East Harlem Kids Brainstorm Solutions to Gang Violence

Students Brainstorm Solutions (Photo courtesy of DNAinfo)

DNAinfo
Jeff Mays

Anthony Holiday moved from Brooklyn to East Harlem because he feared for his safety after a confrontation with a street gang.

But when the 18-year-old arrived in Harlem, he found a similar problem with gangs waiting for him.

“I’m seeing teen violence and gangs all over my community,” said Holiday, who was one of more than 200 East Harlem young people who sounded off on gang violence Thursday night at a meeting organized by Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito and the El Barrio/East Harlem Youth Violence Task Force.

“I want to work for a collective solution to end the violence in my community and rebuild the community,” Holiday added.

The goal of the meeting was to hear from kids — the group most affected by gang violence — about ways to halt the problem in their community.

Read the full article at DNAinfo.com

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Youth Soccer In Harlem

Youth Soccer in Harlem has seen growth this past year with help from the hype of the World Cup and the support of local non-profitis and the local YMCA. Irv Smalls is the Football Club Harlem coach and his plans reach far beyond coaching a group of youngsters. Smalls knows that soccer is a beneficial sport for youth in numerous ways. Smalls is working with the Urban Soccer Collaborative and other organizations in order to get FC Harlem more depth and expand. You can read more about soccer in Harlem and Smalls here.

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