Inspire The Youth With History, Art And Culture
A 'calling' to me is about finding fulfillment in service, without the need for self gratification, praise and outside approval.
I have experienced such a 'calling' to work with our youth.
Interestingly enough, I never thought my journey would include teaching children beyond dance, yet, it has been a magical experience, one that required patience, open-mindedness, respect & responsibility.
It comes as a surprise to me that I am enthusiastically involved in teaching young people.
I'd like to share a recent experience with you that has become very dear to me.
It started when I was a 'Docent' aka tour guide for the "Brooklyn Is Africa," exhibition at
the RestorationArt, located in the Skylight Gallery.
This exhibit consists of ancient African artifacts from the North, South, East, West and Central Africa, the pieces were collected by Eric Edwards, founder of the Cultural Museum Of African Arts, in the span of over 44 years and curated this exhibit with Hollis King, Creative Director at RestorationArt.
When I first received the call for this job, my curiosity prompted me to learn more about it.
By now you know I like my African culture and art, so I knew I would love and appreciated this opportunity, an opportunity to teach and create a positive experience for kids that could also transcend into other areas of their life.
Once I accepted this job, my mission was to captivate their attention, create a memorable experience and build on their strengths & skills.
With that in mind, I gathered the kids around and opened with the history of black culture and how Africa, with all it's bountiful resources, lives in each and every one of us.
The students were quick to ask questions that I was prepared to answer while making sure to keep them occupied.
We passed around the Djembes, a kind of goblet-shaped hand drum that originated in West Africa, next was the Claves, one of a pair of hardwood sticks used to make a hollow sound when struck together and then came the Shekeres, which is a hand held shaker, that is used by shaking or hitting it on the palm of your hand.
After the kids examined each instrument, I taught them a simple rhythm and we played in unison.
Boy O Boy did they have a ball!
After we were done with our musical, I guided them into the gallery, which by now they looked forward to with anticipation, because they now had a sense of what to expect.
As soon as I opened the door, they headed straight for the mask, shouting,
"Whoa, what is this?!" And of course the questions didn't stop there.
I took them on a journey where they used their imagination to travel to different parts of Africa, countries like Nigeria, Mali, Ethiopia, Tanzania, The Congo, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Madagascar, the list goes on.
The artifacts included "The Royal Leopards," "The Bayaka Mask," "Gelede Helmets," "Bundu Mask,""Initiation Masks," "The Kings Coffin," "JuJu Feathers," "The Palace Doors," "Dolls," "Carving tools" and more!
It was a lot for them to take in.
After the tour, we discussed the experience and how they could apply the information I gave them in their own lives.
Overall this experience opened a door for me on so many levels, I found that sharing knowledge and bringing inspiration to kids did something to me as well; it inspired me.
I had kids from Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, Nigeria, Tanzania, Burkina Faso, Yemen, Mexico, Guyana, Jamaica, Panama and more.
Many of them came from different backgrounds but they soon realized, when it comes right down to it, we're all the same, we all have greatness in us.
I look forward to where this "calling," this new adventure in my journey, will lead me.
I'm positive it will be something grand.
Thank you to RestorationArt's Executive Director, Indira Etwaroo and
Executive Assistant/Production Coordinator, Karlvy Smith for hiring me and providing the tools in order for me to be a successful Docent.
Thank you to Creative Director, Hollis King and the RestorationArt's entire staff for supporting me during the process, I'm honored to be a part of your team.
Lastly, thank you to Pat Hall for recommending me for this position, I truly appreciate you.
To find out more about RestorationArt and their programs, please visit