Media Team Presents: Skittles Selfies



I knew at the outset of this project that it was going to be a massive undertaking.  Consider it:  take a selfie, reduce it down to a pixelated 5-color palette, print it out and recreate it by gluing skittles onto a sheet of card stock.  Pixel by pixel.  Skittle by skittle.  Day after day.  Week after week.

I made sure the youth knew how much work this was going to be, and they voted to do this project regardless.  I want to make that clear!  Only a monster would force someone into performing a task like this without prior consent.  Just look at the smiling faces of Chris and Essence as they work: Continue reading

Summer Recap with BYP Jr.


Here’s a look at what was going on with BYP’s mentoring team this summer! We had a lively time and got a lot done during our six-week summer program.


As a tradition, BYP Jr. had a part in putting on two parties this summer at the Avenue Apartments. We teamed up with the new Event Planning team to put on a Game Night and a Luau. We brought food, games, prizes and lots of dancing for our senior friends to enjoy!


The bulk of our work was done at HOST (Heritage Out of School Time). It was every BYP Jr youth’s duty to befriend the kids and provide mentorship and support in the classroom.


Sometimes we brought our own projects, such as putting on a Scavenger Hunt or making a craft. A successful project was Calming Bottles, made by Chawntay’s team. These colorful bottles are designed to relax kids as they shake them and watch the glitter settle.


We also got a little bit of gardening in! Puhala is a garden site that is close to HOST and a great place to take kids for a garden excursion. The kids at HOST planted flowers and strawberries and got to harvest tomatoes and zucchini. BYP Jr also put together and painted a Little Free Library. The Garden Team helped us install it at Puhala! If you are Braddock, stop by and take a book, leave a book!


While the kids at HOST were on a field trip, we planned a fun afternoon event, Chalk the Dock II, inspired by an event from last year. We made the front of the Community Center an appealing kid haven by decorating it with sidewalk chalk, doing face painting, and blowing giant bubbles!


Another event we put on occurred during the last week of program. We invited the youth to bring their siblings to work. BYP Jr. planned the agenda for the siblings, which included lots of games and tours of all of the work sites. Siblings got a sneak peek at what it’s like to work at BYP, seeing the garden sites, Braddock Farms, HOST, the Media cave, Print shop and Braddock Library! The day even included a mini Talent Show!


As a final treat, the Media Team helped us make a music video! You can see us Whip and Nae Nae with our little buddies at HOST:


The Library Archive Team


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


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.


 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


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!

Flower farm cover

Flower Farm wk 1

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

Youth garden cover

Youth garden 2

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

Adobe dome cover

Adobe dome 1

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


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.




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).



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.



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.



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.



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



More transitioning.


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 (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