youth of Harlem met on Thursday March 10th, 2005 to discuss
the creation of a new youth leadership group. The event was
held by Jerrel Burney, a 21- year old member of Public Allies.
He is interested in forming an organization that makes kids
involved in helping their community. He stated that he was
very devoted in changing the way things are in Harlem. Tracy
Gibson who works at the Abyssinian Development Corporation
is also a colleague in establishing this future youth organization.
The meeting was held in a small room at 105 West 137th Street.
They did have structure and a stable guideline.
After the youth received an introduction to the youth organization
Burney started the session off with a group activity. The
teens drew a clock on a paper plate and “booked”
appointments with the other volunteers there. Burney called
out a time and the kids would talk to the person they had
scheduled appointments with. Every time they moved onto the
next appointment they would have a different topic to talk
about such as their favorite movie, what they would do to
change our community, and more diverse subjects. The purpose
of this activity was to get the teens familiar with each other.
After the exchange the teens discussed what they could do
as teenagers to help the community.
The most popular idea was the freestyle battle/talent show.
One of the teens named Princess was the most enthusiastic
about that idea. Another idea was a rehabilitation center
to decrease the number of drug addicts in Harlem and get more
people off the streets. A volunteer named Ricola suggested
the idea of admitting the group in a game tournament. This
group can go around the country to represent Harlem. Someone
even suggested starting a newsletter. They were thinking hard
on ways to improve their neighborhood.
This youth group has the foundation to progress and establish
itself. With a strong leader and with devoted teenagers they
are destined to succeed. Given the right amount of time and
resources the leadership will definitely have a great impact
on this community.