Alumni Highlights: Jeremy A.

I started with DreamYard when I was in 5th or 6th grade when they came to my elementary school, P.S/M.S 95, in the Bronx and my journey began with Romeo and Juliet as the lead drummer for the music. I joined the Poetry Slam group in 8th grade and discovered that I had a lot more to offer than I ever thought. I wasn’t the greatest student when I was middle school, but when I heard that DreamYard was opening a high school I knew that was where I had to be.

Macy's Give Back Day in the Bronx

Macy's Give Back Day in the Bronx

Last week, DreamYard participated in Macy's Annual Give Back Day. For months we have worked with their team, DY Prep High School staff, the DOE and the principals at the Taft Educational Campus to create a wishlist of repairs and upgrades to the school that would be completed by both professional Macy's contractors and volunteers while students were off on their summer vacations. 

Traveling Near and Far

Our students were traveling near and far this summer, with Art Center students going on cultural trips to Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. 

Entering their third summer of DreamYard's ACTION Project, the Unity cohort decided to focus on the issue of gentrification as they moved to explore its impact on various communities across the country, specifically in the South Bronx. Participants spent the first half of the summer interviewing various community members and crafting a script that will come together to create a full "mock-umentory" this fall. They traveled to Washington, DC, a rapidly gentrifying area and our nation's capital, to partner with local organizations and interview the residents, students, and small businesses affected by the issue.

In August, several DreamYard Art Center participants embarked on a week long expedition to Puerto Rico. After a series of preparatory workshops, participants departed New York and went on to study the cultural, political, and historical wonders of this beautiful island. Participants were able to reconnect, debrief, and curate their own presentation, which will be shared with our DY and Morrisania community this Fall. 

Bronx en Seine: Connecting Teen Voices for Change

Bronx en Seine is a unique artistic adventure that allows two groups of students, ages 12 to 17, from Nanterre and the Bronx to immerse themselves in the performing arts, experience different cultures, and practice their foreign language skills.

Scenes from last year's production in France

Through artistic expression, the project seeks to expand participants’ horizons and to immerse them in different cultures and communities. We hope this broadening of perspectives inspires our young people to stand up against oppression and discrimination in their societies, encouraging them to use their voices to talk back to the world.

In its second year, teens in Bronx en Seine will participate in a series of theater workshops and perform a piece inspired by Sandra Cisneros’s beloved novel The House on Mango Street. Adapted for our purposes by Tristan Schoumaker, the story centers partially on Esperanza, a young adolescent living in a working-class, predominantly Latino neighborhood in Chicago. Her passion for writing serves not only as an outlet, but as a sort of protection and escape from the harsher realities of growing up in her neighborhood.

Thousands of miles away, on the other side of the continent, a young Vete decides to flee a raging war ravaging his country. His dream? To live in New York: not just anywhere, but in the Bronx. Why there? One night he found an old, dirty book, The House on Mango Street, in a trash can near his house. This was the first time he’d ever been exposed to English and the story, he believes, took place in the Bronx. He identifies with the characters in the book and imagines living their experience.

We believe that theater is a particularly powerful tool for building self-awareness and identity as it helps young people develop a strong voice and point of view on social change within and across different communities. An Attic Full of Hope (Fr. Un grenier plein d’espoir), is a symbolic representation of the adolescent quest for liberty and the struggles faced by immigrant communities.

It’s final New York City performances will take place on July 14th in the Florence Gould Hall at the French Institute: Alliance Française at 2:30pm and 7:30pm. You can RSVP HERE. 

DreamYard Poetry visits Japan

This partnership started nearly three years ago to create a global exchange between poets in Japan and the U.S.  Currently we have over 30 students in South Korea, Japan and the U.S. all sharing poetry & who they are. On the final days of the trip we visited the Tohoku region, site of the tsunami that devastated the area nearly five years ago. We visited a local high school to share poetry as a way to heal. Renée Watson brought her gorgeous book - A Place Where Hurricanes Happen & we shared our collective future together. The poetry transformed the room. How poetry grounds & connects us!