Friday, August 2, 2013
[New York] Let The Games Begin!!!, Today was a gorgeous and sunny day when the Harlem Children’s Zone hosted the Summer Games located at 216 Fort Washington Avenue and West 168th street, this event took place on Friday July the twenty sixth of twentieth thirteen.
Some HCZ staff and students arrived on a school bus, while others walked; all of them went upstairs to the third floor to be seated as the HCZ Summer Games were about to start at 10:00am and ending at 4:00pm on the dot. Many of the main events were shown on a large projector screen including the fifty-five meter dash, the shot put, the two-hundred meter dash, the 4x200 meter relay, and the long jump.
The 55 meter dash was for eleven - fifteen year olds who ran so fast at the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory; the crowd gave the runners a round of applause. The shot put contest was for the CSO site group and 19 year olds who Threw the heavy ball and had to spin themselves around in circles just to see how to throw it so far and so high. When The shot put athletes were finished it was on to the next event, which was the 200 meter dash for 13 - 15 year old students; and they were running so fast around the track which was splendid indeed. Next it was the long jump for the 11 - 14 and 16 - 18 year old students who ran and jumped as far as possible in the sand. The audience watched it all, and all the while many refreshments were served to each HCZ site, including Learn To Earn, Truce Media, Truce Fitness, Employment and Technology Center, College Success Office, A Cut Above and Promise Academy One.
After all that, the HCZ students and staff from each site group stood for the national anthem, then on to the next event which was the 55 meter dash for the fastest staff member, both men and women.Each runner had to race at his or her own pace to see who could reach the finish line, Each and every last runner had a turn to compete.
Finally comes the best events of the Games: the 11-12, 13-15, & 16-18 year olds competed in the 4x200 meter relay; four students from each site group ran in this event at his or her own pace, From what I saw, the students who won the 4x200 meter relay ran the fastest of all. Just to see who reached the finish line, the winners who earned the Bronze, Gold and Silver medal, were from A Cut Above, Truce Fitness and Promise Academy One.
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Thursday, July 4, 2013
By Ryan Ngala
[Harlem, New York] - What a gorgeous sunny day it was in the heart of the Harlem community many people gathered at the Fred Samuel playground located on 140th Street at Malcolm X Boulevard. I saw many of them wearing tee-shirts, both in black and white, that read “Faith Walk Twenty Thirteen: Promoting Awareness in communities of color,” both in black and white as they registered online at EventBrite.com; their names were added to the list as they signed in.
People were representing their churches and organizations in the neighborhood including Abyssinian Baptist Church, Abyssinian Development Corporation, African-American Muslim Commission On HIV / AIDS, Bethany Baptist Church, Canaan Baptist Church of Christ, Church of the Intercession, Coalition On Positive Health Empowerment [Cope Health], Community Health and Awareness Ministry, Inc., Convent Avenue Baptist Church, East Ward Missionary Baptist Church, First AME Bethel Church, First Corinthian Baptist Church, FOY HIV / AIDS Ministry [Mt. Calvary Baptist Church], Iris House - A Center For Women Living With HIV / AIDS, Inc., Love Alive International Foundation, Inc., Masjid Sabur Worship, Educational and Referral, New Mount Zion Baptist Church, New Hope Community Church, New Testament Baptist Church, Paradise Baptist Church, Rivers of Living Faith Ministries, St. John’s Baptist Church, and St. Luke’s AME Church and Survivors Fountain of Hope Wellness Initiative.
When they were about to leave the park, many people were holding up their banners and signs with slogans such as, “Get Yourself Tested”, “Engage, Educate, Prevent” and “Twenty Thirteen Harlem HIV / AIDS Faith Walk.” The marchers also got wristbands with the words, “Know Your Status.” This march was a major event being sponsored by The Harlem Hospital Center, NYC Council Faith Based Initiative, The National Black Leadership Commission Aids, Inc., and many more.
When the march began the participants walked throughout the streets chanting “HIV, Get Tested!!!” and “Wake Up Harlem.” They also sang a couple of gospel songs along the way. I joined the marchers as they started to walk towards 125thStreet to go to the Harlem State Office Building where the health fair was being held. We walked the red carpet to where there was a worship service with special guest speaker Bill Thompson sending a strong message that the disease of HIV / AIDS must come to an end! He raised awareness about young people in our communities getting the disease and not even knowing, If they are positive.
There are so many ways to get the disease: sexual contact, drug use, occupational contact with the virus. It is so important that young people should: Get Educated, Get Tested, and Get Involved. Many people decided to go to HIV Testing and get started with their National HIV Testing Day Health and Resource Fair Passport 2013, which they carried with them to each table to have to get the names and signatures of people who want more information on Diabetes, Hepatitis C, as well as information about the FDNY Application and Iris House. Those who were able to collect a total up to twelve signatures or more received a special gift. Refreshments including hot dogs, ice cream and bottled water were provided.
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013
By Ryan Ngala
[Riverbank State Park, New York] Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) kicks off its 16th annual ice show at Riverbank State Park in Harlem on (Sat. March 23rd and Sun. March 24th at both 7 and 3pm); many people had waited in line with their tickets in their hands just to get in. It was a long line; as I got there the show was about to start. Things were running smoothly. Some ticket holders started to go upstairs to the upper balcony while some people wanted seats in the middle of the lower area; when everyone was settled the ice show began.
The host of the show was none other than Tamara Tunie of NBC's "Law & Order: SVU." She started things off by introducing the Harlem Ice Beginner 3 Synchronized Skating Team; they skated to three Whitney Houston songs, "My Love Is Your Love,” “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and “How will I know?." The team danced and skated so swiftly that they wowed the crowd with a stunning performance; "La Conga Blicoti" by Josephine Baker. The event was an outstanding Sunday skating performance featuring FSH students, Kaylia Allen, Nya Davis, Kortney DeBride, Ava Grace Gardner, Isis Glover, Andrea Heredia, Zoe Littles-Ward, Narju Nawar, Eden Pichardo, Ashley Prentice and Jalynn Satterthwaite. Nina Simone's "Feelin' Good" was performed by FSH students Tanay Davis, Taharie Murga, Thalyia Thompson, and Zenzile Tonge; the quartet of performers skated with all their strength as they spun and twirled until the very end.
Other FSH students skated to the songs of many great women artists and songs including:
"Fantasy" By Mariah Carey
"I Got Rhythm" By Lena Horne
"New Attitude" By Patti LaBelle
"Unpretty" By TLC
"Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" By Selena
"Sweet Dreams" By Beyoncé
"No One" By Alicia Keys
"Respect" By Aretha Franklin
"Strong Enough" By Cher
"Colette Shows Him the Ropes / Infernal Galop" By Michael Giacchino & Jacques Offenbach
"Family Affair" By Mary J. Blige
"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" By Lauryn Hill
"Step by Step" By Whitney Houston
"Brave" By Idina Menzel
"Palladio" By Escala and
"Midnight Train to Georgia" By Gladys Knight and The Pips.
Three FSH soloists then prepared to skate on the ice and strut their stuff; Sharendalle Murga was up first skating to Idina Menzel's "Brave." Executing her spins and going around in circles, skating so magnificently, her performance ended in even more memorable moves on the ice. Second was Jiordan Ali who danced to Leontyne Price's "Summertime;" her skating was actually quite amazing and the crowd applauded for her so she continued to skate even harder; the more she skated, the better her skating became. Last but not least, there was the one and only Florence Ngala (my sister) who skated to Adele's "Hometown Glory;" her performance was choreographed by Ali Blank. On hand to see Florence’s skating routine during FSH’s Saturday prorgram were Abel, Wendy, Auntie Doreen and Tina (Mom); her amazing performance was recorded on Auntie Doreen's iPad by her sister Wendy. It was a marvelous performance as ever and the entire crowd gave Florence a standing ovation which was even louder than ever before. Because it was Florence’s last performance as an FSH student, her family and fans gave her an enthusiastic send off. It had been 11 years since she started skating at the age of six.
When Florence's solo performance was over, Sharon Cohen, FSH founder and director, stepped into the ice rink and said a couple of words before the start of the skating finale. She asked the crowd "Are you guys having a good time?" The crowd went wild as the audience yelled "Yeah!!!", I was shouting and screaming even more than the audience did.
Sharon then said "It really takes a village to run a fantastic organization." She and Bernice had dreamt about an ice skating program in Harlem for years before FSH became a reality. Sharon then introduced the FSH staff members who made the performance possible by pushing the FSH students to be successful both on and off the ice.
Three FSH students who will be leaving the program--Florence, Sharendalle and Jiordan--received flowers; along with Bria Culpepper and Kayla Stewart also received flowers because they will be going to college soon. At that point Florence cried heartfelt tears of joy. Then all five FSH students stepped into the ice rink for a final bow.
The finale Performance was performed by all the FSH students who were introduced by Tamara Tunie, the FSH students skated to both Alicia Keys’ “Girl On Fire” and Beyoncé's "Run The World."
The Harlem Ice Open Juvenile Synchronized Skating Team (Jiordan Ali and Sharendalle Murga were up along with Kolby Couch, Tanay Davis, Eliyah Mckayle, Taharie Murga, Florence Ngala, Zjana Ray, Nikaila Saunders, Kayla Stewart, Thaylia Thompson, Zenzile Tonge and Sandra Williams) skated to "Girl On Fire." The two team captains skated so swiftly with spins and twirls to the audience’s delight; the crowd cheered with excitement. Next all of the FSH students skated to the right and left of the ice rink to Beyoncé's "Run the world." When the entire group of skaters entered during the ice rink the crowd went wild, screaming from the top of their lungs.
The FSH students from the youngest to oldest were the stars of the event. As their performance came to an end, the crowd gave them a loud round of applause and a standing ovation for their outstanding skating performance at the heart of Riverbank State Park.
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