Last week, Sixth Street Youth took a stroll across the park to Tompkins Square Library to see a performance of The Mighty Patsy Mink! We were so inspired learning about Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color and the first Asian American woman to be elected to Congress! After the play, we spoke with writer and solo actress of the play, Molly Powers Gallagher. The children got her autograph and asked what motivated her to write this play. She told us that she had never learned about Patsy in school (neither had we!), and that she wanted to share this very important story with the world! After our chat with Molly, two of our students, ages 6 and 8, were so inspired that they took out books from the library on Rosa Parks and began writing a play showcasing Rosa Parks's childhood and the story of how she pioneered the civil rights movement.
To find out more about The Mighty Patsy Mink!, checkout this link! Stay tuned to find out more about Sixth Street Youth productions that are in the works...
Every week we do creative writing here at Sixth Street that covers topics such as identity, social issues, and gratitude. For a recent prompt, we explored how the world might look different if we were in charge!
Check out some of our young writer's poetry below!!
And if you're interested in hearing more, this Wednesday we'll be participating in the East Village Arts Festival at Tompkins Square Library! Come by at 5 PM to hear our after schoolers share their poetry!
Douniya (age 8)
I praise my family who keeps me warm.
I praise to my mom for her work to let us have money.
I praise to my sister for that one day mom was one a vacation, she took care of me and my brother.
I praise to my brother Saf for when we are alone and mom forgets to make food
He makes eggs and soup and let’s us share.
And finally I praise, and I say again,
I praise my dads- my brother’s dad and my sister’s dad
Just for being there
And last but literally not least Me!
For working hard and trying to go to bed on time
To follow rules and be nice.
I praise to me.
Tatiana (age 13)
I’m from loud music and sagging pants,
I am from pride and pizza
I’m from spitting bars and noisy classroom,
I’m from trying to bring up your grades and aspiring to be great
I’m from late nights out and always being awake
I’m from diversity and mystery,
Finding clues everywhere as to who I am
Like solving a puzzle that someone
Scattered the pieces to,
I’m from small people who do big things
I’m from thrift shops and street art
I’m from the big apple,
everyone trying to take a bite
Asha (age 6)
In my world I wish there were buildings for people
That that they don’t have to sleep outside
I wish we had superpowers
I wish everyday, you can eat candy
I wish I had a roof at my mom’s house
I wish that fighting never happened
I wish my iPad would get fixed.
I wish that everybody had superpowers.
I wish everyone body to the beach everyday.
I wish that everyone could play on my iPad
I wish it would be cool if we had a dream
That was in real life.
I wish that I was a mermaid.
Jack (age 6)
In my world we eat mac and cheese
Play, eat everyday
I love to be with my mom and dad
I would make it so Donald Trump
Would be nice to ladies.
Mila (age 6)
We have a right to air.
We have a right to clean air.
We need air to breathe.
We need clean air to live.
If we don’t have clean air it’s not good.
If we don’t have air we can get sick.
We need air to be healthy.
Think there isn’t a lot to do in the garden in the fall? Think again! We’ve been gardening at 5th Street Farm every week, planting cover crops to protect the soil, weeding, transplanting, and harvesting eggplants, tomatoes, black eyed peas, collard greens, rainbow chard, kale, sweet potatoes, and lots of herbs!
We were able to use the sweet potatoes for not one but two cooking workshops! First, we made a delicious stir fry, using sweet potato leaves from the garden and vegetables from Sixth Street's CSA. Then, we made some tasty sweet potato fries!
Check out these photos from our gardening and cooking adventures!
This year has gotten off to a great start!! Now that we have kids ages 6 to age 13, we are delving into new territory as we do all of our enrichment activities. We are so pleased to see our older after-schoolers taking initiative and acting as role models for those who are younger. Whether its at the garden when we split into groups or at Sixth Street during creative writing, we are continually impressed by them!
Last week in creating writing we wrote about colors and the different emotions and associations they can evoke. From young and practiced poets who’ve been with us multiple years to very young poets who are just learning how to read and write, we are getting a new and amazing range of work! After every creative writing or art session we gather back into a circle and share. We thought we’d share some of our favorite pieces with you!
Poem by Tatiana (age 13)
the soothing touch of the ocean
water gently tinted with light
The color of my mother's eyes,
The color of the Sky
my father flew across to get
the color of me jeans that
The color of being
sad and bad moods,
But yet a color
that will forever bring
The color I dyed my hair
The color of those Macaroons
you’ve been meaning to try,
The color representing
blistering boys who cannot like
pink due to society,
The color that my lips turned after
a baby bottle pop,
The color of blueberries you’ll get while
shopping but will probably not
finish until the end of fall,
The color of my blanket which
keeps me warm when I can’t stop
The name of that one colored pencil
which turns out to be purple,
The color which families have
lost lives to from gunshots and
feuds on the streets
A color that represents more than
you can ever think
Poem by Seijan (age 9)
red is like death and
like hot sun melting
blue is love
peace and happiness
purple is like sadness.
so sad and so bored you
green is like everything
you hoped for
gold is like richness
Group Poem (ages 6-24)
by Asha, Skyla, Mila, Jemma, Sofia, Myranda, and Laura
Red is anger,
Red is love.
Pink is like a heart,
Brown is a cake.
Mint is my headband,
Orange tastes like fresh juice and fruity tic tac.
Blue is a wave that comes crashing down all around.
Red is a rose. I like the smell and it looks so pretty.
Yellow is a lemon,
Pink is a pig.
Green is a leaf.
Sixth Street Youth Program is partnering with The Cornell University Cooperative Extension to receive Health and Nutrition workshops from nutritionist Jannie Wolff. During last week's workshop, students measured out the amount of sugar contained in bottles of soda and fruit juice. They were shocked to see that the amount of sugar in a soda filled almost half a plastic cup! This week at program we are excited to try out a healthy alternative to drinking sugary juice: fruit-infused water!
As the year comes to a close, we want to express our sincere thanks for all the support we've received from you, our volunteers and CSA members. In the coming year we look forward to continuing- and hopefully expanding- our community programming. But we need your help!
Our Youth Program offers neighborhood children attending local elementary and middle schools a unique experience in the arts, poetry, creative movement and health and nutrition. Ninety-five percent of our students are from low-income households and attend at no charge. We pride ourselves on providing a quality enrichment program to families that need it most.
This coming year we’re excited to continue our students’ growing connection with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). With the support of our CSA volunteers, students will continue to receive weekly hands-on workshops in healthy food preparation and juicing using our local produce and learn about sustainable agriculture through trips to the farm. And right here in the neighborhood our students are learning about community gardening, working at the Fifth Street Farm roof-top garden at Earth School and composting food scraps at El Jardin del Paradiso garden by P.S. 15.
We look forward to another great year of programming and our twenty-first of Community Supported Agriculture with Hepworth Farm and participating members, schools and community organizations!
Your tax deductible contribution to support our community programs is deeply appreciated.
Warmest wishes during this winter season.
On Thursday, December 10th, kids and parents gathered to celebrate the end of SSYP's fall session. Thanks for Maria Ferrar of the GROOVE movement, our families shared a high energy movement session that left everyone smiling and sweating! We closed out the evening with a Greek folk dancing led by SSYP volunteer Eo Constantatos. It was especially fun to share this joy with our parents, who work so hard and have been so supportive of the Sixth Street Youth Program.
The photos below document other highlights from this session, including drawing workshops with visual artist Carl Parker, Batik pillow-making workshops with Jen, winter tea-making workshops with East Village wellness coach Natalie Decleve, and our partnership with the Earth School's Green Apple Kids afterschool program.
Our program restarts January 11th, and we are enrolling now! Please see the "Sixth Street Youth Program" page under "Programs and Events" for instructions on how to enroll!
During October and November, non-profit White Rainbow, founded by Ashley Gail Harris, brought two professional artists to Sixth Street Youth Program to lead hands-on arts workshops with students.
In October, illustrator Aiden Koch shared with us her passion for zines and comic book art. We engaged in a group comic drawing activity that Koch said she often used as a creative warm up with fellow artists. After each participant drew a character in their first square, the drawings were passed on to a new person, who drew an image in the next square, following a different prompt from Aiden for each sucessive square. After two seemingly random images were drawn, the students were challenged to use the remaining squares to create a simple storyline by making connections between the images. The idea, Aiden explained, was for the students to understand that stories can always be born from images. We had an awesome time sharing the comics when they were finished and observing the way our peers had crafted story from our original drawings.
In November, collage artist Renee Phillips joined us for a workshop in paper collage. Renee introduced to students a layering technique she uses in her work, where she lays down a paper foundation, and then adds images on top of one another. She also supplied paper materials that she had dyed in advance, allowing students to play with color in their collage work. At the end of Renee's workshop, the students asked her questions about life as a professional artist. Renee's advice to our aspiring artists was to keep producing art, dedicating time to work on your craft each day.
Check out the photos from both workshops below!
Tatiana is not your average sixth grader. Intellectual, curious, and a fierce believer in freedom of expression, Tatiana aspires to be a professional writer. We loved this poem she wrote during Sixth Street Youth Program, reflecting on the larger issues that burden our modern world. The writing session was inspired by a visit from Lower East Side artist and poet Pitts. He shared poetry about the word "dictatorship" in hopes of sparking a conversation amongst the young people about power. Go Tati!
I wonder why people are judged for skin or culture
I wonder why people make assumptions or claims about others
I wonder why the majority of people focus on irrelevant news
And the minority pay attention to relevant
I wonder why society has higher and lower classes
in which higher has more authority
instead of an equalized world
I wonder why important works of art and stories
are being forgotten
and replaced with a majority of (no offense) awful things
I wonder why a majority of youth follow what the trends are
I wonder why people label things and people when we were all nothing but human
I wonder why we hide our true selves
just to fit in
The week of Halloween, Sixth Street Youth Program partnered with artists and community activists, Mystical Ratchet and Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, for a Hip Hop inspired, two day Good Monster puppet workshop. Students designed their own good monster puppets, and participated in a creative storytelling jam, as well as a puppet parade throughout the neighborhood. Special thanks to the guest artists, Brooklyn Charm and Artist and Craftsmen for materials donations, and Huertas restaurant for generously supporting our youth program!