BYP Jr. (Mentoring Team)
Hearts, Homework, and Hamsters
Since the end of October, BYP Jr. has been actively involved in our mentoring and service activities in the Braddock community. One of the things we have really enjoyed doing has been planning fun community events. We were first happy to take part in the Braddock Halloween Party, which filled the Nyia Page Community Center with local families and costumed children eager to play games, make crafts, and eat candy. The night was highlighted by the fantastic haunted house that all the youth worked hard to set up and run. Then in November, with the help of the American Legion and Paula, a wonderful volunteer, we hosted a game show night at Avenue Apartments, a local housing unit for elderly residents. The youth first had the idea to play Deal or No Deal, during which residents took their chances on fun prizes such as tissues, puzzle books, and candles. We then switched gears to an inventive form of Wheel of Fortune! We were all impressed by how quickly the residents used the clues, such as “card games,” to solve the puzzles, such as “hearts.” With the games, snacks, and good cheer, a great time was had by all!
BYP Jr. has also continued our daily mentoring at Heritage’s Out of School Time (HOST) after school program. One of the things we often do at HOST is help with homework. Even though the BYP youth go to school all day and have their own homework, they are always more than willing to help out the younger students with their assignments. While it sometimes takes us a minute to remember the rules for handwriting and counting blocks, we are always thrilled to see the kids succeed on their work! In addition, we have also been spending a lot of time playing badminton, building houses, and generally joining in on a number of activities. The appreciation of BYP Jr. at HOST was maybe most clearly displayed when several of the kids voted to name their class hamster Onta’e, after one of our awesome BYP youth!
The BYP gardening team kicked off the new year by planning discussion group topics and gathering information to debate with the discussion groups during homework time. Discussion group gives youth that may not have homework that day a chance to discuss important topics or things they have on their mind about school, home, sports, etc. We have also met with fellow members from the Braddock Community Cafe to come up with themes for the cafe, and recipes for the gardening team to try out as potential options for the menu. The team also got a head start on the long process of making seedlings–a key part to our garden success.
BYP Media Team
Despite a prolonged spate of really lousy weather (hey it’s Winter in da ‘Burgh. Whaddya expect?), the BYP Media Team continues to plow through it’s latest commissioned project: pocket folders for the downtown KEYS office! By now, of course, these pros are getting used to it. Demanding specs? Got it. Really good design? Covered. Tight registration for 2-color screen printing? We’re on it. Tight deadline? No problem. Nothing scares this team. I’ll post images when it’s done.
I shouldn’t be at all surprised. In December, we designed and screen printed Holiday cards that were sold at the Holiday Craft Sale across the street at the Braddock Carnegie Library as well as the Braddock Community Café. One design sold completely out. The others sold quite well. All designs were so popular that Kimmy Ferry, our KEYS Member Development Specialist and overall good egg commissioned our team to design and print HER Holiday cards. Which we did. And, of course, the results were spectacular…
What’s in store for the future? Screen printed hoodies for the Red Lantern Bike Store, t-shirts for another client, Street Sign Poetry in Poster form…
A lot to do, a lot to learn, but a lot to look forward to! See you next time!