Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day in a Brooklyn, NY


Memorial Day is one of those holidays that let's people know, summer has arrived.  With 80 degrees weather in New York City, it was easy to realize that maybe winter clothing could finally be put into storage as we prepare ourselves for warmer temperatures.

So what do you do on a Memorial Day in Brooklyn? How about taking a walk through BAM Dance Africa Annual a Bazaar? From Atlantic Mall to Fulton Street, music, vendors, dancing, food and fun was in the atmosphere. The temperature was just right to bake in the sub and enjoy the atmosphere.   Please check out live footage on Youtube as well as photographs that captured some of the wonderful activities that happened during the day. 

Memorial Day in Brooklyn; How Lovely! http://youtu.be/Qqgu4iO4tkI



 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Phattime " the Learning Network's" Pilot Run


“Directing is really exciting. At the end, it’s more fun to be the painter than the paint” [George Clooney]

 
Alvin Rogers, Educator, has the ability to paint ideas into vivid masterpieces that can leave a lasting effect on the hearts and minds of many. He is no stranger to inspiring others, being one of the many professors at the college of FIT as well as a wonderful tenor saxophonist. He can be described as a humanitarian because he goes beyond the grain when he puts into motion, non-collegiate educational programs, beneficial to the youth.

Many take the aspect of success and define it with material wealth. Examples of this may be, owning gigantic homes and fancy cars. But when you see the outcome of a well-organized plan and the young minds that are moved and excited about learning something fresh and new that can help them in their future, success is etched into their smiles. 

Alvin Rogers and his partner, Dan Johnson, an engineer at Google, has teamed up to teach youth technological skills.  The not-for-profit organization, Phattime seeks to change that and its pilot program has showed that change can be successfully implemented. The idea of change changes minds. And what a better way to do it than to share information about something that people will be interested in learning about.

Please check out the documentary created to give an in depth look at the pilot program and to raise visibility to what Phattime, the Learning Network  501 (3c) is all about.
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Phattime’s Learning Network: Empowering Our Youth

Phattime’s Learning Network:

Empowering Our Youth

by Stephanie Jeannot & Alvin Rogers

When the weather gets nice, most of our youth find their energy being dissolved into playing in the courtyards and having uproarious fun with friends.  

Who could blame them? This winter has been so brutal and long, it makes sense why they would find pleasure in enjoying the great outdoors after hours, now that the evenings are dressed in warm sunlight. Yet, there are many other young people who have found refuge in mentors such as Alvin Rogers and Dan Johnson of the Phattime "the learning network" a 501(3c).



Phattime harnesses the power of social media and digital media platforms to empower urban youth. Phattime bridges cognitive learning principles with social networking methodologies: students have a personal space, which can be uniquely designed; students are able to invite friends to their network. Designed specifically for community organizations, The Phattime portal allows for shared information: student grades, attendance and test scores between teachers, parents and students. Parents can view student grades, attendance and dialog with teachers securely over the web.
 

"Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family" [Kofi Annan]. To know the power of transformation is to open doors to true intellect and the future. All students, well off or low income, ought to have access to information, and skills. It is essential that they explore their own assumptions and feelings about a particular topic or situation. 

Phatttime "the learning network"  has made their center of interest, to open new opportunities of learning to those who seem to have been cut off from access to empowerment. Under the guidance of coordinator, Ian Holly, this program had its first pilot run at Graham Windham's Beacon Center located at 301 west 140th street in Harlem. Like Rogers and Johnson, Graham Windham's mission is to "help under-served children overcome obstacles on the path to self-sufficiency by giving them the skills to succeed.

With their pilot program, Rogers and Johnson, have found an interesting way of delivering Mobile App Development using Cloud Technologies to Harlem Youth. They have taken those interested in positive change by the hand and geared them with tools that can definitely move mountains. 

It's been said that you create great men while young. These kids show their greatness beyond the typical classroom, gaining advantage in this booming technological world and embrace the education with true interest. Opportunity is not always fair gain or easy access, but this is Phattime's purpose; affording intellectuals of the future, right where access to this information is deserved. 

What would make this program even better would be funding. This grassroots organization feeds the youth with priceless information, worth more than wealth in itself. In truth, "obtaining intellectual capital is the key to American competitiveness and prosperity - Those with intellectual capital will qualify for professional positions those without it will find themselves working as cashiers, clerks, or custodians" [E. D. Hirsch]. 



This is what makes Phattime a great organization; they benefit "humanity." For more information on this organization, visit their website at http://www.phattime.com

 
 


 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Coming out of Spring


Been waiting for this moment for a while now; Spring!
 
Spring’s first day was March 20th and it seems like it took about a month and a half worth of days after that date for the warmth to settle in. Not quite sure if I am ready to put the winter clothes away and to bring out the warmer weather attire but here are a few things that you will definitely see coming out in the next few days:
 
Flowers

God’s natural beauties will definitely peak their heads out of the soil and soon will stand tall to the sun. It is that time.
 
Pulchritude will be all around us soon, showing us their fabulousness and sharing with us an essence of their awesome fragrance. Coming soon to a garden near you! 

 

 
Arms and Legs

The arms and the legs will come out from the wool turtlenecks, tights, bubble jackets, etc,  and soon you will see folks wearing short sleeves, shorts, and skirts with no jackets.
 
That is, if you have not seen this already. Which means; it is time to unpack the seasonal gear, see what fits, see what doesn’t and also, take advantage of some of those approaching semi-annual, friends and family sales and etc.

Maybe this is the time to consider giving into the Salvation Army when they leave their flyers for clothing pick up. Spring is definitely a time to part with the old and to enter in with the new. They do not call it spring cleaning for nothing!  
Summer is coming. Spring may also be the time to possibly take part in some group exercises at your local gym or to go on-line and discover some fitness challenges you can do in the comfort of your own home like this one; the 30-day squat challenge.  Every day for the month of may, a different challenge or amount of squats to do.
I mean, we will be wearing bathing suits soon. Why not tighten and tone in preparation for it?
 
Pilgrims

Tourists from everywhere will be in all corners of your oasis looking for fantastic new things to see. More traffic on the roads and more pedestrians walking around in the streets who may stop you and ask for directions. 

Maybe one of the things they twill find pleasure in partaking in is seeing the pilgrims come out to greet and celebrate the warm weather on the corner of Wall Street and Broad Street. You’ll hear them drumming. You’ll see crowds gathered as the heat sizzles. Not a bad way to spend lunchtime in New York. 
 

Pollen

As the trees regain their strength, or rather, their leaves, the allergies will become the problems at hand. 
But don’t settle for the issues; instead, grab a tissue to deal with the associated nasal drip that comes with allergies during the dreadful pollen season we all know and love. 
 
You might see Hudson Allergy walking around the area handing out packets of tissue and with excitement, you can tell your friends that you #foundthebox

These are just some things you might definitely see or won’t see. But whatever you do see, feel free to smile about it. This is the season of newness, positive outlooks. I look forward to seeing yours and sharing a smile back at you, if we should cross paths.
And to end my post, I'd like to leave you with a popular phrase from the allergy season of spring: God bless you!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Justice for Freddie Grey

On a clear day like April 25, 2015, revolutionaries of all colors and ages and from all different parts of  the United States, gathered together in unity, to march for justice  for the latest murder by police of an unarmed man who did not draw a weapon yet still has become a statistic.

Marchers were lead from the area which the murder took place, to City Hall where Malik Zulu Shabazz of Black Lawyers for Unity said, “this neighborhood had bad things happen in it. These here men are taking a stand on the front lines on the political struggle for equality.”

 


 Throughout the streets, hundreds marched chanting “all night; all day; we will fight for Freddie Grey!” and “Ignite! Convict! Send those killer cops to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell.”

Quinn 17 and Makayla 15 from Minnesota thought the

march for justice was a good cause to support.  With arms

interwoven with folks of all ages and colors, the scene

was very reminiscent of olden days when Martin Luther King Jr lead his peaceful

protests, also aiming for change.

 As the marchers marched,  cars joined into what began as a peaceful protest, throughout the streets of Baltimore, MD, also holding up signage and beeping while the marchers chanted and made sure the community knew that they would not remain silent.

Andrea McGee from Baltimore, MD wore a rag covering her mouth throughout the entirety of the protest stating that it was, “in honor of the people whose voices cannot be heard anymore because they were silenced by murder by the police.”  

 

To tenor saxophonist, Alvin Rogers, the youth hold the power and while holding up his signage that said, “We Shut Shit Down,” he rooted the youth on stating that “young people supporting causes such as the one in Baltimore was good for humanity.”

 

My thoughts

I have to admit, I left the scene while it was still civil. I felt this calmness in considering the ideas of Martin Luther King Jr’s peaceful protests and I also admit I was a little bit perturbed and disgusted at the idea of the unrest and rioting; even to the point of canning my pics and ideas taken as I walked with other revolutionaries fighting for what was right.

 



But can you blame us for being upset?  We deserve justice. It is overdue. We deserve to be treated fairly and not just as a number with darker skin that makes it alright to treat any old way. The injustice has to stop.  I stand in solidarity with the message that many of the protestors carried and waved in the air, “Cops are people. Indict them too!”








Please check out the following slideshow: "Rally in Baltimore, MD, April 25, 2015."

 
Thank you for checking out my blogpost!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Gift of Good Samiritanism

Most musicians on their birthday, find pleasantries in sharing moments with family, friends, loved ones and perhaps, enjoying live music. 


Dinner and Carvel ice cream cake or a dance party with a live band. Or maybe drinks with friends. Maybe a day of fasting with your loved ones. Not such bad ideas as ways of celebrating life. But for saxophonist Alvin Rogers, his day of celebrating life became more of a day of good samaritanism. 


Nobody likes losing their personal belongings; especially when it is a wallet stuffed with dollars, expensive train tickets, credit cards and other important items.  That's what happened to Martin Luettgersheiden on the morning of February 28th, 2015. 



Luettgersheiden is a data scientist who came to New York City from Germany and has been living in Harlem for the past seven months. He never thought that of all days, what could have been one of the worse days of his life became "his lucky day."

While walking along Frederick Douglass, Luettgersheiden unknowingly dropped his wallet. Rogers, a Harlem native, on his way to his first scheduled meeting at Jazz Mobile discovered it. What do you do when finding money on the street? Do you spend it? Not Rogers; he picked it up and called him within minutes. 

"I wouldn't even have realized I lost it" said Luettgersheiden. With his wife being pregnant with their first baby on the way, who could afford to come into misfortune at a time like this? 


With good samaritans in New York City like Rogers, it makes you feel good about society. What is better than a birthday gift to receive joy from someone else because of what you were able to do for them? Great to know that there are truly decent individuals in the big apple who are "glad to do whatever they can to put a smile on somebody else's face." 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Undrunken 2014 Love

It is not an unusual thing to decide to commit to something new when a new year dawns. For me, it was giving up alcohol.


When you take a person who has been a lush all her many years of her life, to not drinking at all, it is a big deal. But, exactly one year ago today, on December 31, 2013, I took my last drink. 

I gathered all the alcohol I had in my house, emptied each container into my cup and downed it until there was no more. It was not a sad goodbye because we parted on a good note. And since then, temptation does not augment my decision, whether I'm at a bar or with friends and or family who are drinking while I'm around. I even turn down drinks that people put in my hand. 

Let's see how 2015 will be as I say goodbye to yet another thing that is really unnecessary for my life, even if it is enjoyable. (Not sure what yet but . . .) 


Thank you Mamkat for the inspiration to write this post. To all currently reading this post, happy new year to you and yours and thank you for being a part of my world.

Peace be the journey.