Friday, August 3, 2012

Universal Self - Educational Program (summer photo shoot)

Since 2008 I have worked within local communities in Brooklyn to support the educational development of youth and young adults.  Performing is not enough for me because my elders and mentors raised me with the sacred indigenous value of giving back through service "by any means necessary!"  Education and entertainment equals community empowerment.

Universal Self began as a solo theater production but through post show artist talk backs and numerous performance workshops throughout America, I decided it was time to go back into the community on a regular basis.  Therefor on January 2012 I was granted the opportunity to teach Universal Self as an elective course for students at the Brooklyn GED Access Center.  From the start it was an engaging exchange within class time because I was not only performing excerpts from Universal Self but I was supporting students in developing an understanding of their own Universal Selves!  I have since taught two elective courses where students presented to the entire school at the end of each 10 week session.  In addition, we went on field trips to Broadway & Off-Broadway productions throughout New York City.  It was amazing to see Universal Self as a living and breathing force.....

Not only do I envision Universal Self produced on a Broadway theater in the near future but I see the audience reflecting the local communities of New York City!

This summer Universal Self participated in a summer photo shoot with community photographer, Chauncey Velasco from Queens.  Maisha Rodriguez will join Universal Self as the co-intstructor focusing on academic literacy standards.  I want to acknowledge Maisha Rodriguez for birthing the name Universal Self when we worked together as young adult Pre-GED teachers with the Brooklyn Public Library from 2008-2010.

Here are a few great pictures with some of our previous students: Carlinho Konpa; Colwayne Sancho; Jamal Carter.  We are excited to continue the Universal Self movement into the 2012/2013 academic year with more educational opportunities for local NYC communities!

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