Nano-Interview with Deb Habib of Seeds of Solidarity

Deb Habib standing in a field of tall grass, holding a bouquet of fresh cut flowersName: Deb Habib
Organization: Seeds of Solidarity
Title: Co-Founder and Director
Artistic Genre: Supporting all that is beautiful
Years in the field: 30ish

What do you do at Seeds of Solidarity?
Our mission is to ‘Awaken the power of youth, schools, and families to Grow Food Everywhere, to transform hunger to health, and create resilient lives and communities.’ I envision and run programs, and support staff to help our mission blossom and remain innovative. SOL (Seeds of Leadership) Garden for youth is our core and longest running program, and engages young people in using their bodies, minds, and hearts to cultivate food and a hopeful future.

What comes easiest to you in this work?
Forming and sustaining community partnerships and relationships—not that this is easy, but it is very gratifying, unites diverse people and organizations, and enables good work to multiply and strengthen our communities.

What does it mean to your community that you do this work?
Our motto is Grow Food Everywhere and in addition to SOL Garden, we help create gardens at local childcare centers, libraries, the county jail, health centers, and for people in recovery, plus have taught 1000s of people techniques to build healthy soil and grow food on lawns, lots, or in containers. We also started the North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival with our neighbors, now a dynamic venue that supports local artists, performers and farmers while energizing our low-income rural community.

How do you blow off steam?
Dance around the house, re-center with yoga, or go out into nature for healing.

What do you create in your free time?
Writing, photography, pottery, and love to create meals of the food we grow on our farm to serve my family and whoever is at our table.

Seen any good movies lately?
The Eagle Huntress was beautiful.

What are you reading?
The Third Reconstruction. Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by Rev. Dr William J. Barber

The unauthorized biography of your life is titled:
Well, soon there will be an authorized one, albeit more memoir/motivational than biography. My husband Ricky and I are currently writing “Making Love While Farming: A Field Guide to a Life of Passion and Purpose.”

What’s next?
Carry on with resilience and love!

National Stakeholders to Convene Next Week

On July 24 and 25, the Creative Youth Development National Partnership will host nearly 100 leaders from across sectors in Boston for the 2017 CYD National Stakeholder Meeting with a charge to broaden and deepen the impact of Creative Youth Development throughout the United States and the world. This group will include practitioners, youth, funders, policy makers, thought leaders, researchers and government officials who all recognize CYD as a vehicle for positive youth outcomes.

Read more.

$100,000 NEA Grant Supports Continued Advancement of CYD

National Endowment for the Arts logoThe National Guild for Community Arts Education, on behalf of a coalition of national partners – including Mass Cultural Council, has been awarded an NEA Collective Impact grant for $100,000. The grant will support the implementation of the National Blueprint for Creative Youth Development (CYD) through cross-sector working groups, communications, and professional development. The funds are part of the NEA’s second round of funding in FY 2017, which will award 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million to support organizations in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions.

The Blueprint, to be released in December 2017, is a living document that will map out opportunities for cross-sector advancement of CYD and prioritize actionable strategies for policy, partnership, and practice to collectively serve the needs of young people. Strategies include adopting effective business models; developing revenue sources; documenting and communicating the benefit of CYD programs for youth; using shared terminology, data, and assessment tools; and connecting programs with in-school arts education and non-arts community development initiatives.

Read more.

Creative Youth Development Showcase July 24

La Lenngua de Poder youth showcase at IBA in Boston in 2014.Next week, Edvestors and the Mass Cultural Council are partnering to showcase the creative contributions young people make to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Join us on Monday, July 24, 2017 from 6-8:30pm in the lobby of 10 St. James Ave., Boston.

The showcase will celebrate the Massachusetts creative youth development community and  welcome the Creative Youth Development National Partnership as they hold their national stakeholder meeting in Boston.

Youth programs scheduled to present:

  • Angkor Dance Troupe
  • Berklee College of Music
  • Huntington Theatre Company 2017 August Wilson Monologue Competition, Boston winner Laury Teneus
  • Hyde Square Task Force
  • Institute of Contemporary Arts
  • OrigiNation
  • Theater Offensive – True Colors: Out Youth Theater

RSVP to attend this free event.

Podcast: Why is a Social Service Agency Running a Classical Music Program?

Carolyn Mower BurnsOn the Mass Cultural Council’s podcast, Creative Minds Out Loud, we spoke with Carolyn Mower Burns, President and CEO of Berkshire Children & Families (BCF).

Berkshire Children & Families is a social service agency serving Western Massachusetts that believes that partnering with families is the best way to promote healthy, happy children to make strong families and better communities.  Burns shared how through Kids 4 Harmony, an intensive classical music program for social change, BCF uses musical excellence as a vehicle for developing whole children and whole families.

Listen to the episode.

Read the transcript.

Check out other episodes featuring Creative Youth Development leaders.

A YOUTH DEDICATION

Marquis Victor, President of Elevated Thought, is a passionate and eloquent advocate for the arts and their central place in our collective struggle for social justice. He shared this poem with youth and their legislators at a recent State House ceremony celebrating the Mass Cultural Council’s Amplify Program, which invests directly in the creative work of young people across the Commonwealth.

A YOUTH DEDICATION

Kings and Queens
Abbreviated sentences
nestled in poetic prose
Rose from obscurity
to fight for your city
The beauty that is shared
can be compared to an opening exhibit
paintings depicting heaven
Holy Gates pushed open
emanating a light
that seeps through celestial boundaries
This light pours from your eyes
like sunlight spilled from a glass
This light is hope
The light of a subversive sequester
cradling progress
until it’s ready to bound forth full speed
tearing through oppression
like tanks carrying culture revitalization
like jets dropping missiles
upon barricades masquerading as a free nation

Kings and Queens

So true
Questioning the questioner
Questioning the system structure
till you puncture a hole
in the bloated belly of the beast
the gold hordes stuffed inside
will hit the streets and countryside
Mama y papa struggle less and less
because your hearts, minds, souls
will conquer the mountain flatten it out
maybe a metaphor
for the redistribution of wealth

Kings and Queens

You make wooden gods crack when you speak
The true God speaks through you
as you gather the voices of the people
The people who are you
You are they
All you needed was to see the way or maybe
just a faint street sign in the distance

Kings and Queens

You are change
You’ve exchanged futility
for brushes that color utopia
That heal the cracks in buildings
That remove that 15 year old girl
from a crack building
That spray paint over vandalism
with the power of Frost and Emerson
if they were imbued with brown hues
Poems of deep introspection
Words of a Revolution
like 24 cities cupped in twelve pairs of hands
Imagination paired
with Young Lord passion
with Black Panther passion
like knowledge was a canvas
and you power washed it in daydreams

Kings and Queens
Through words
Through images
Through truth
please continue to sing the song of Freedom

– Marquis Victor / Elevated Thought

Express Yourself Youth Have SOUL

Express Yourself SOUL 2017 Showcase. Photo is the property of Express Yourself. Image by Mike Dean Photography.Year round, Express Yourself introduces and immerses young people into the world of music, dance, theater, and visual art with transformative results. Through artistic expression, youth move from a place of isolation to one of belonging and learn to use a variety of creative means to express themselves in positive and healthy ways. In the process, young people discover and develop inner strengths and gain a greater sense of connection with others. All of this work culminates in the annual Express Yourself showcase presented in collaboration with the Department of Mental Health.

At this year’s 23rd annual showcase, over 200 young people performed at Boston’s Boch Center – Wang Theater.  They entertained an enthusiastic audience sporting festive glow stick necklaces and bracelets. Celebrating this year’s “SOUL” theme, the program featured set pieces designed by youth as well as a medley of singing, drumming, and dance performances.

The showcase also featured guest performances by Afro-Brazilian percussionist Marcus Santos, Cammie Griffin and John Angeles of “STOMP”, funk soul, reggae singer Toussaint Liberator, Boston Children’s Chorus, Joyspring Community Chorus (directed by Jonathan Singleton) and West African Master Drummer Joh Camara.

Hyde Square Task Force Youth Writes Musical for Boston’s Latin Quarter

A young woman and young man sing and hold hands facing one another outside on a sunny day. Image by Mark Saperstein.

Couple is singing and holding hands to the left of the frame, while a crowd of mostly standing onlookers watches their performance on the right side of the frame. Image by Jessica Guzman.This year for the first time ever, and with support from Mass Cultural Council’s Amplify grant, Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) youth and staff undertook the immense challenge of co-writing and co-producing an original musical.

What came out of that process was El Barrio: Boston’s Latin Quarter, an interactive show featuring the stories of countless immigrants and hard working families that have contributed to the fabric of the community in the Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.

 

“My name is Orlando and I’ll try to say it slow

Puerto Rican boy and my flow runs this show

Raised without a father, just me and my brother and my mother

who every day just keep getting stronger.”

Orlando is a is one of the lead character  and was played by Victor, one of HSTF’s youth dancers.

In a true show of Amplify’s  spirit, Victor and his peers from HSTF’s Ritmo en Acción Afro-Latin dance team co-choreographed original pieces for the musical, derived from bachata, merengue, salsa, and Latin-infused hip-hop. For the first time, Ritmo dancers collaborated extensively with their peers on the Music and Theater teams to produce this musical, using their neighborhood as a moving stage. Ritmo dancers, working with Program Coordinator Audrey Guerrero and Resident Artist Angeline Egea, choreographed steps to original songs written and performed by youth musicians, and followed stage direction and cues from youth on the Theater team.

Young man singing in Hyde Square Task Force's El Barrio! musical. Photo by Jessica Guzman.Hundreds of community members took part in matinee and evening performances, traveling through the show with performers. Through dance and through the arts, this young group shared the history of their community, while growing outside of their primary artistic disciplines and leading this exuberant demonstration of the power of creative youth development. HSTF youth and staff eagerly await the next opportunity to showcase the stories, values, and potential that defines their community.

See more photos from El Barrio: Boston’s Latin Quarter Musical.

Creative Youth Development

css.php