The Bronx Write Bus: Summer Program for Bronx Youth
One lazy summer morning, a group of Bronx students packed into a luxury bus and awkwardly took their seats. The unfamiliar faces and surroundings dulled any sense of excitement or self-confidence. But after an improv comedy lesson in Manhattan, the reticent group of strangers was suddenly more like a group of long-time friends. Chatter and laughter filled the whole ride back. This carried over into the next two days, when students worked together to craft funny and creative stories--the kind that only uninhibited adolescent imaginations could conjure.
For the next five weeks, the program's inaugural season took curious young minds to interesting places all over our expansive city--at no cost at all.
NOT Your Typical Summer Camp Trips
Today I saw more of what New York City had to offer. It was interesting and fun to go to places I haven’t been to. The highlight of today was being on the Brooklyn Bridge. I always wondered what it would be like to be up the bridge. ~Shaheem Dillon
On our Tuesday adventures, the intrepid riders, ages 12-17, jumped headfirst into an array of fun and stimulating activities. They let their thoughts and emotions run wild at the People's Improv Theater; they went on an enlightening walking tour of the Brooklyn Bridge; they met Sally, the "Polish Anne Frank," and heard her fascinating story; they took a foray into computer animation at the Museum of Moving Image; and they performed their own inspiring poetry at Urban Word.
Riders were also schooled in five writing genres--humor, travel, memoir, screenwriting and poetry. Each Tuesday, a writer from each genre would board the bus to impart expert wisdom and advice. Writers Mike Sacks, Anuja Madar, Liz Welch, Katherine Nero and Justin Long-Moton all brought their work to life and captivated the riders.
Creative Voices Discovered
Back, forth, up & down
Her world never on solid ground
Yet she stays in bounds ~Kristen King
On Wednesdays and Thursdays, the young writers would take Tuesday's lessions and try their own hand at the various forms of creative writing. At the Bronx Museum of the Arts, teaching artists Mark Hurwitt and Sasha Taublieb led hands-on workshops, inspiring written and illustrated pieces that reflect the variety, the joy, the challenge, the emotion and the silliness of the Bronx Write Bus.
Why is this the "Write" Program for Kids?
I am beautiful
I am the burn of the fire
I am the princess of beauty
I am what I want to be ~Kiana McLeod
The BWB writers got on the bus with disparate levels of knowledge and interest; they got off the bus with feedback that was overwhelmingly uniform. 100% of students said they would ride again--using words such as interesting, exciting, inspiring, engrossing, and amusing to describe their experiences..
Furthermore, these experiences are meant to give riders advantages that will stay with them long after they step off the bus. All of the writing, performing, and friend-making that take place are indications that the BWB succeeds in doing this. It is the BWB's mission to improve public speaking, performance and communication skills, build self-esteem, and boost motivation and creativity. It even seeks to reduce the summer learning gap that can cause sub-par levels of achievement in the fall.
The Bronx Write Bus will soon provide more chances for youngsters to reap its benefits. It is poised to run again this year on a few Saturdays, after which it will return in Summer, 2012 for its regular run.
If you wish to participate or if you would like more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, call 718.931.9500 or visit bronxarts.org.
The Bronx Write Bus, a FREE program for Bronx youth ages
12-18, is run by the Bronx Writers Center, a program of the Bronx
Council on the Arts and is made possible with funding from
the US Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency
Prevention, Simon Bolivar Foundation Inc, The NYS Council on the
Arts, The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs and Bloomberg Philanthropies.