I recognize we are only in the infancy stage of fulfilling the organization’s mission – a stage we could not have arrived at without a dream, tremendous determination and the selflessness of a number of people whose contributions and encouragement have played a big role in our buoyancy. It is my intention to periodically shine the spotlight on those who are supportive of our quest to empower Long Island’s youth and families.
That we have had no reason to worry about a home for our Self-Empowering Workshops, is owed to the benevolence of Molloy College’s Office of Advancement Associate Director of Development, Corporate Relations; Cynthia Costanzo-Metzger. The warmth with which I am greeted by Barbara Simms and Gina Renaldi of the Town of Hempstead each time I approach them with a space request for our organization’s Free Community Networking Soiree, gives me much encouragement!. The Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery’s perfect backdrop for our Scholarship and Fundraising Gala Kick-Off, would not have been possible without one for whom I have great respect – Charlee Miller, the League’s Executive Director, and the Development Director, Bobbie Janowitz.
In the interest of transparency, I must admit that the inordinate energy and effort expended to get student participation, is disproportional to the outcomes thus far. This leaves me asking “WHY?”….. even as I graciously acknowledge the help of volunteers, teachers, parents and school administrators who like Dr. Deborah Wortham, Superintendent, and Mrs. Barbara Evans, Art Teacher of the Roosevelt School District, who saw the benefit in exposing their students to the Annual Creative Empowerment Arts Contest we are offering Long Island’s high school students.
As part of our growth process, we welcome the support and assistance of like-minded individuals. We are open to constructive criticism accompanied by viable, executable suggestions. We take all concerns into consideration as we underscore our philosophy with an unwavering emphasis on the following: Your Time For Creative Empowerment is race, class, gender and socio-economically sensitive in all that we do.
“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends.”– Mary McLeod Bethune –
Madona Cole-Lacy, M.A.Ed, Founder/CEO Your Time For Creative Empowerment, Inc.
Creatively Embracing 21st Century Youth Scholarship & Fundraising Gala
A Giant Embrace for Youth Creative Expressionists
Lindenhurst NY. Thursday, November 20, 2014, 6:30pm.
Your Time for Creative Empowerment, Inc. presented several scholarships and awards to the winners and participants in their Creative Empowerment Arts Contest at their Creatively Embracing 21st Century Youth Gala on Thursday, November 20, 2014. The youth-focused event was attended by community leaders from Nassau and Suffolk Counties, supportive family members, and friends of the Long Island high school contest participants in excess of 100 people. Grant awardees and scholarship winners were given an opportunity to share their thoughts on their own inspiration and creative process as the Creative Expressionists of the evening.
“The idea of encouraging our youth to speak through their unique art forms is one whose time has come. We intend to keep this culture going as a way to effect heightened awareness among parents, and valuable community involvement in the lives of Long Island’s children as we see and hear them express themselves in healthyinnovative ways.” -Madona Cole-Lacy, Founder/CEO-
Some sentiments from high school contestants are as follows:
“Wow, Thank you so much for the scholarship, I really do appreciate it. You did an amazing job putting the event together, it was an incredible evening.
You have really inspired me to keep my creative juices flowing by drawing, painting or anything I can do to express myself. I enjoyed talking to the other contestants and looking at the impressive artwork they did. Again, it was such an honor to be presented with an award. If you are having another event, I would love to be there. Please stay in touch.” – Creative Empowerment Contestant –
“…As soon as I turn 18, I am going to look into volunteering at the Trevor Project headquarters to hopefully help make a positive impact on someone’s life and be the helping hand that they might need. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.” – Creative Empowerment Contestant-
Even though guests got to enjoy a gourmet dinner along with a powerful networking opportunity against a backdrop of art and music, the purpose of this gathering at the stately Chateau La Mer in Lindenhurst was not lost as these sentiments suggest:
“I found the Gala interactive and electrifying for all stakeholders. The idea lays the groundwork in creativity and artistic productivity for our young millennials. Top Marks for Your Time for Creative Empowerment, Inc. for this brave new venture for youth!” –Kwame “Kumale” Fitzjohn, Host/Sr. Producer, Global African Media-
The 2014 Creative Empowerment Arts Contest winners are as follows:
Samantha Uebel – A Poem “Girl Without A Voice” (9th Grade – North Babylon High School) $500.00 to set up and run a club/support/leadership group at school. Ben Rhee – A Poem “Just A Click Away” (10th Grade – Syosset High School) $500.00 to set up a club/ support/leadership group at school. Nailah Garard – Portrait – “Trapped” (11th grade – Half Hollow Hills High School East) $1,000.00 College Scholarship. Aly Brier – Short Film – “A Helping Hand” (12th grade – The Wheatley School) $1,000.00 College Scholarship.
Julia Maher – Portrait – “Paranoia”/ “Slipping Away From Sanity” (12th grade – Farmingdale High School) $1,000.00 College Scholarship. Gigi Larios -Mendez – Portrait- “Too Blind To See” (Roosevelt Senior High School Graduate/ SUNY Old Westbury Freshman) $1,000.00 College Scholarship.
Other contestants with compelling creative expressions are: Tatiana Woellhof – Drawing -“You Are A SlaveTo Whatever Controls You” – (10th grade-Centereach High School) Kitty Zheng-Watercolor/black sharpie pen painting-“Growing New Layers”- (12th grade-Southold Jr/Sr High) Veronica Lane – Photography – “Portray Yourself Wisely” – (12th grade – St. John The Baptist DHS) Madison Migliaccio– Pen and Ink – “Hate Sold By The Bottle” – (12th grade – Farmingdale High School) Radiyyah Hussein– Oil Painting – “Freeing Peace” – (12th grade – Central Islip Senior High School) Emily Williams– Painting and Marker -“20 Flight Rock” – (12th grade – Seaford High)Marie Saint-Cyr – Collage – “A Helping Hand”-(F.I.T Freshman /Westbury High School Graduate) Plans are underway for a Community Creative Empowerment Arts Exhibition, which will open with a forum co-facilitated by the contestants.
Another highlight of the evening was the acknowledgement of a special breed of community role models for 21st Century youth, who were honored. “I am thankful and excited over the valuable support and input our Honorees conveyed in their respective messages, as they in their unique ways, pointed to the importance of and the urgency for the proverbial villagers to come together and serve our youth. We now have to work as hard and as smart as ever to open the hearts of those we seek to help, as well as those who straddle the fence of warm embrace, for this simply cannot be a one-woman or man show. There is plenty of room for like-minded altruistic volunteers and supporters.” – Madona Cole-Lacy-
“Dear Madona, I appreciate and thank you & Jim ever so much. The night was wonderful and very memorable. I was especially impressed with the works that you inspired the youth to produce. I’m proud & honored to be connected to such an effort, and I can’t thank you enough for thinking of and including me as an honoree. Regards & Best wishes.” -Mel Jackson-
Honoree Patricia Francis had this to say about her role in the gala: “It was a pleasure to assist our youth in obtaining their goals. They truly need to feel and have our/adult support.”
Creatively Embracing 21st Century Youth Scholarship & Fundraising Gala Honorees:
Patricia J. Francis, Co-Organizer and recent past president -The Sisters of the Arts, Nassau/ Suffolk/Queens Chapter, The Society Incorporated, and Member of National Executive Board
Jacqueline A. Gordon, Councilwoman -Town of Babylon, Lieutenant Colonel-United States Army Reserves, Western Suffolk BOCES Guidance Counselor
Sharon Gordon, Detective, Nassau County Police Department, Child Abuse and Special Victims Unit
Devon Harris, Motivational Speaker, Author, Philanthropist, Founder of Keep On Pushing Foundation, original Jamaican Bobsled Team member.
Mel Jackson, Executive Director, Leadership Training Institute
Cynthia Costanzo-Metzger, Associate Director of Development and Corporate Relations, Molloy College
George Siberon, Executive Director, Hempstead Hispanic Civic Association
Carrie Solages, Nassau County Legislator – District 3, Attorney at Law
Theresa Statz-Smith, Executive Director, Long Island Arts Alliance
Dr. Deborah L. Wortham, Superintendent, Roosevelt Union Free School District
The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was award-winning Video Journalist and Executive Producer of Fios1/ My Long Island TV, Waldo Cabrera. Executive Producer, Bob Spiotto, handled the coordination of the event.
Proceeds support Your Time For Creative Empowerment’s FREE creative programs and services to Long Island’s youth and their families, and provides funds for its Creative Empowerment Awards and Scholarships.