The Library Archive Team

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This summer, the Braddock Carnegie Library is actively engaged in the same activity as virtually every other library world-wide:  playing catch-up.

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Our ability to make back-ups of text and images via digitization has only been around for a little over forty years.  Mankind has been writing for more than three-thousand four-hundred years.  That’s a lot of information to bring into the digital age.

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 The Braddock Youth Project Library Archive Team is presently doing their part to make a dent in this vast backlog of data.  Led by Michael DiCenzo, six youths spend four days a week scanning old documents and yearbooks, conducting interviews with various Braddock residents, and organizing a ton of old documents into some semblance of order.

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The youth learn several valuable skills in the process of completing these tasks, such as organized research, audio editing, using scanners and conducting interviews.

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In addition to their newly acquired skills, the youth also get the lasting satisfaction of knowing that they played a pivotal role in bringing a library wholly into the 21st century.

BYP Summer Garden Update

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These past two weeks have been extremely productive for the Garden Teams at BYP. Check out some of the projects we’ve been working on below!

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The Flower Farm is one of the sites BYP’s gardening team maintains. The garden has lots of plants in it such as brown eyed susan’s, new vintage violet yarrow, lobelia fan scarlet, Dalmatian rose foxglove, purple riding hood. We even have strawberries and cucumbers. Our plan for the flower farm this summer is to turn it into a Wildlife Habitat for many plants and animals. My team members and I had great ideas for this sight such as a bat box and frog pond.
~JaVaughn Robinson

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This week the BYP Garden Team has made substantial amount of progress in all of it’s sites. In particular the Youth Garden located on Braddock Ave has furthered its development since the BYP youth has started to work on it. New things have been done to the garden such as the planting of sunflowers, watermelons, and new herbs as well as other foods. Another project that has been started in the garden is planting a pumpkin patch. BYP will continue to renovate the garden and welcomes all sightseers. 
~Damon Radwanski

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At the Adobe Dome the Garden Team did a lot of brick lying. Masonry was taught to the youth and together they began laying bricks for a wall. They are also making straw bale planters by planting seeds in the straw bale. Lots of hard work and teamwork is happening to make Braddock a better place.
~Jawuan Betton

The Start of the BYP Summer Term

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On Monday, June 29, the Braddock Youth Project Summer Term officially began.  Around 8:30 AM, adolescents aged fourteen through seventeen began walking through the door; an hour later, their numbers swelled to around seventy.   One by one, the youth stopped by the front desk, where Kimmi Ferry and Katie Lutzker assisted them in signing themselves in and filling out name tags.  For most of these kids, this was the first work day of their lives.

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We were also reunited with the BYP Youth from the school year term, now serving as interns; it was a joy to get to see all of them again.  Pictured below are Chris Mullen (wearing sunglasses, seated front left), Essence Yancy (wearing a grey top, seated to the right of Chris), and Chawntay Doss (wearing a pink shirt, standing to the right).

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Upon signing in, the youth sat down and began to fill out short surveys in which they were asked to write a word or short phrase to represent their hopes or expectations for the summer.  Their responses informed the first group activity of the day: The Snowball Game.

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Jessi Schmid had everyone stand in a circle, crumple up their surveys, and throw them into the middle of the floor.  The youth then proceeded to pick up a random survey and represent its contents.

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They were first instructed to gather into groups based on age.  Having done this, they were then instructed to gather into groups based on their level of excitement with regards to the Summer Term.

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Pictured above are the youth as they transition to their different groups.

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More transitioning.

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The purpose of the activity-specifically, the ‘anonymization’ of the surveys-is to foster an honest representation of said surveys’ contents.  If a certain youth is feeling uncertain about the Summer Term, they’re not very likely to boldly go and stand with the ‘Uncertain’ group due to concern about how they might be perceived by their peer group.  This activity overcomes this complication because everyone is merely representing another person’s opinion.  It’s not ‘personal’, in other words.

The rest of the day was dedicated to trainings.  The youth were informed about payment and led through various workshops intended to instill an understanding of a professional environment, and how one should behave therein.

Lastly, we took their hopes and expectations from the surveys and compiled them into a chart.  The more frequent a response, the larger it appears on the chart.  “Fun” and “Money” were tied for first.photo (40)

 

Speaking personally, it’s a privilege and an honor to be able to play a role in giving adolescents their first professional experience.  All of us-the coordinators and the team leaders-have worked very hard to create a challenging, educational and fun experience for the youth this summer, and we are all very excited to impart our knowledge and skills.

-Brendan Renne

Media Team Coordinator, BYP

The Saints Tour

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Over the past several months, it has been our distinct pleasure to collaborate with Bricolage Production Company and Real/Time Interventions on their upcoming Saints Tour, a mobile theater production in Braddock, North Braddock and Braddock Hills, PA.  BYP Youth have made a series of clay artifacts that play a central role in the performance, as well as screen-printed Saints Signs and Saints Cards for use in the performances.  In addition, BYP will be selling the Saints Cards and Signs at the end of the performances to raise money for future BYP activities.

 
Working with Bricolage and Real/Time Interventions has given our youth the chance to do commissioned creative work, which is very much a dream come true for a Work Readiness program.  It’s also given us the chance to participate in an exciting and unique project that’s going to be an entertaining, thought-provoking experience for all attendees.  We highly encourage you all to attend!

www.bricolagepgh.org

www.realtimeinterventions.org

Here are some photos from the clay making workshop that took place here at BYP a few months back

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-Brendan Renne
Media Team Coordinator,
BYP

Last Day for School Term at BYP!

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On Thursday, May 7, the Braddock Youth Project 2015 School Year Program came to a close.  Like many endings, it was a tad bittersweet;  although many of our youth will be back for the Summer Program, several of them are moving on.  Inaam Salik is going to school outside of Philadelphia, and Deisha Wiley and Keith Brown Jr. will begin working at Kennywood.  We’re very happy for all three of them; they were valued members of BYP and they will be missed.

We celebrated the last day of program by displaying various projects the Media Team and the Mentoring Team have worked on throughout these past months in the main space of the community center.

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This is a Visual Voices exercise from back in February.  Both BYP and staff participated.

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“Stained Plass” (Plastic + Glass) created by members of the Girls’ Club down at HOST.

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BYP Youth Deisha Wiley and Americorps Intern Chawntay Doss, with the “Home Lost “quilt from Laura Ramie’s service project hanging in the background.

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“What I Like About Me” flowers, also from the BYP Girls’ Club.

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A selection of projects from the Media Team.  (Top Row L-R) Three Braddock Post Cards and the Nested Heads project, (Bottom Row L-R) Super-Imposed Pictures

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(Top Row, L-R) Hundred Dollar Bills project, (Bottom Row, L-R) more Super-Imposed shots, with the “Ghost Fight” Light Painting exercise in the middle.

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A selection of “Saints Cards” from our collaboration with the Bricolage Production Company and Real/Time Interventions.

We also did some grilling on the final day of program….

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The day ended with all of us sitting and eating together and bidding one another farewell.

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Until July!