On Thursday evening, the City Year After School Heroes of the HSBC I.S. 204 team and the I.S. 126 team in Long Island City, Queens presented their “Stop the Violence Showcase,” an inspiring event that drew a crowd of more than 100 students, community members, parents and corps members eager to support the cause of these young leaders. The showcase served as the culminating event for a month-long service learning unit on peace and non-violence, a curriculum designed to empower students in confronting issues of violence within their community.
Throughout the month of January, students were guided in lessons on conflict resolution, current events articles, firearm statistics, and violent crime legislation. Students also investigated the historical impact of non-violent leaders, utilizing library resources to research the philosophies of figureheads such as Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, students were given the opportunity to explore alternative methods for coping with anger and stress by attending a boxing workshop, participating in a yoga class, and joining enrichment clubs focused on creative self-expression.
The end-of-unit showcase event, created as a means to celebrate the Heroes’ commitment to non-violence, featured a series of performances, poster presentations and public service announcements intended to demonstrate student outlets from aggressive behavior. The students performed everything from rap and poetry to step and cultural dance, making the event a rousing testament to the diversity, talent, and leadership qualities embodied by the Heroes. The response was overwhelming:
“I am very impressed with this afterschool program, with how much the kids learn about society’s issues and at the same time having fun. I’m so proud of my son.” -Mother of IS 204 student Alex Quizhpilema
“This showcase was so informative. I learned so many new statistics and had a great time.” -Mother of I.S. 204 student Alyssa Maldonado
“The show went really well. I was very excited to see Sabrina performing on stage for the first time. The message of non-violence was excellent and informative.” -Mother of I.S. 204 student Sabrina Santos (performed with the HSBC I.S. 204 team’s Afterschool Heroes Step Club)
The family members and City Year corps members of the HSBC I.S. 204 team and I.S. 126 could not be more proud of their Heroes!