Last Friday, over 70 parents participated in our annual Parents Arts Fair – a day of healing and wellness-centered experiences, including aromatherapy, Johrei, yoga and meditation, visual arts, Zumba, and aromatherapy, as well as a cultural and community resource fair. Thank you to all who joined us for this wonderful event.
Last year, a group of ambitious students set out to form DreamYard Prep High School’s first ever Debate Team. Since then, the team has climbed the ranks of the NYC High School Division and been named as the second best team in the city. Their success has not gone unnoticed, and they were invited to compete at the 44th Annual Harvard Forensics Tournament against the top 300 boarding, private, and public school teams from around the U.S. and the world, including teams from China, Canada, England, and 39 states.
Spotlight: Digital Cleanse from Mozilla
Last year, several of us did a Data Detox together to clean up our data trails online. After eights days of detox - we may have all been a little frightened by what we learned - but we also had a better hold on what info websites and apps were collecting about us and an understanding of how we could control it.
This year, Mozilla is offering a couple guides that help get our digi houses in order. You can find the Data Detox guide here, as well as more info on toys and gadgets that might be tracking us and password management.
DreamYard had the amazing opportunity to exhibit student and community artworks at the Tisch Illumination Fund space in New York City. The exhibit showcased works from the Bronx Art Collective (the Art Center’s Saturday out-of-school program), and community artwork that the Illumination Fund has generously supported, including glass mosaics at Hayden Lord Park and murals on 165th Street in the Bronx.
The exhibit, “The Bronx is Being...,” highlighted DreamYard's commitment to showcasing the beauty of the Bronx and nourishing it by building communities through art.
The opening event for the show included spoken word poetry by two students, Alondra Uribe and Brianna Alicea, who spoke of their experiences of living in The Bronx and what it meant to them and to the people around them. As a former-participant-turned-intern at DreamYard, I was able to participate and help put together this amazing exhibit. It was exhilarating to see my mural, “Women of the Bronx,” which I created years prior while a student at the DreamYard Art Center, become a part of the space with other amazing artworks. It solidified my belief that if an artist makes work to uplift others and bring obscured issues into the light, it won't be forgotten. As part of the Bronx Art Collective, I worked hard every Saturday to make art that was compelling and meaningful to me and the community -- and to see it years later still relevant to DreamYard and its mission in The Bronx is extremely rewarding.
We are thrilled to kick off the new year by welcoming five members to our Board of Directors — each of whom will continue to elevate our mission to build pathways to opportunity and equity.
Digi Notes is a monthly digital learning newsletter put together by our Director of Digital Learning, Hillary Kolos. Each Digi Notes offers examples of digital learning-focused program examples, articles, and resources.
Bronx Tech Spotlight: The Glass Files
Interview with Co-Founder, Sarah Poyet
Hillary: Can you tell me about The Glass Files and how you came to start it?
Sarah: We are a software company. Families use The Glass Files web and mobile apps to treasure their media, then make their stories intersect with History by sharing them with cultural institutions and the public.
My grandfather Walter witnessed the rise of fascism in Europe and I videotaped his memoir in 2007. He escaped to the United States alone as an immigrant and refugee at the age of 17 and lost his entire family in the Holocaust.
I came out with 9 hours of footage and then my grandfather passed away. It seemed like a real shame to edit his story down to a few minutes, and at the same time there was no place on the internet guaranteeing families full privacy control of their most cherished media, so we built The Glass Files.
During her high school career, Michela engaged in a number of DreamYard activities and classes including the Bronx Art Collective for four years and the Bronx Acting Ensemble. She also took advantage of additional supports offered at the DreamYard Art Center such as our SAT Prep class (four practice exams offered throughout the year) and participated in the Public Theater's Public Works program. Michela's participation in the Public Works program exposed her to the study of Shakespearean sonnets with professional instructors from the Public Theater culminating in a production of The Tempest at the Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.
As a first generation college student, Michela's parents were supportive of her ambition to attend university but apprehensive of their ability to cover the full cost of a four-year degree.
With no one in her family familiar with the college application process, Michela turned to DreamYard for support. "I will always remember the incredible support I received from DreamYard and how they helped me, a first generation college student, be able to attend college and do incredibly well."
Working with DreamYard’s college advisor throughout the application process, Michela received one-on-one counseling and was supported along the way: filling out paperwork, managing timelines, etc. in addition to being made aware of scholarship opportunities through DreamYard.
Michela was accepted to the College of Saint Rose and is currently in her second year. To help cover the cost of tuition, Michela applied for a scholarship through DreamYard, which she won. The scholarship award ($30,000) has significantly reduced her family’s financial burden. The scholarship also allowed Michela to accept a unpaid internship at Albany Center Gallery; here she had opportunities to meet with professional artists who have supported her career path by serving as mentors offering advice, ideas, and encouragement as she progresses towards a professional career in the arts. Her work at the gallery also allowed her to take what she was learning in the classroom and apply it to a real job situation, often observing gallery professionals curate current exhibitions. The DreamYard scholarship has also inspired Michela to give back to the community. She now regularly collaborates with local churches to help refugee children, immigrant families like her own and create public arts to beautify her city through mural projects inspired by and similar to the ones she worked on with DreamYard.
“It is truly important to me to give back to those who are less fortunate or who have had similar circumstances like my own. Because the people at DreamYard believed in me; I am now on my way to achieving my goals."
Since starting college, Michela has returned to the Bronx and accepted a summer internship at DreamYard as a Mural Manager and Assistant Teacher with the Bronx Art Collective Summer Intensive. The summer internship at DreamYard provided teaching and managerial skills – giving Michela the confidence to manage a group of students with insightfulness, efficiency, and respect. Michela also had the opportunity to study at Korea University for a semester. And this year, after transferring to a college closer to home, Michela is back interning at the DreamYard Art Center as part of our Development Department.