Never a dull moment…

Today was quite an action packed day!  We started out the day with a session with Jeannine Hahn, the CFO and COO of the All Stars Project.  She gave us each a handout that had a brief overview of ASP profits and expenses and discussed with us where the money that the All Stars raises goes to.  It was actually quite an interesting session.  We not only learned about ASP money, but also some facts about non-profits in general.  Did you know that a non-profit organization is considered good if it puts 60% of their money directly into the programs it sponsors?  The All Stars Project is truly stellar in this respect because it put in 75% of its money directly into the programs last year!  It was great to hear all this information because it gives us a more concrete idea about how a non-profit is operated, and specifically how ASP is run.

Since the weather was somewhat temperamental, we decided to wait for the worst of the rain to clear up and headed out later than usual for a somewhat shorter street performance.  Despite the gray weather, the GOALies raised enough money to sponsor over 7 young people!

Finally, we wrapped up our day with a session with the wonderful Dan Friedman, who talked all about performance, both on the stage and off.  We discussed the elements of performance that we bring to our everyday lives, and also the importance of theater, both as an artistic form and as a vehicle for social reform discussion.  His words were very meaningful to me, because I grew up with the performing arts, and theater in particular has been a profound agent in shaping who I am as a person.

I wholeheartedly believe in the power of performance in personal development, and in social change.

On the stage, controversial issues can be unpacked and laid bare for the audience.  The live nature of theater makes it all the more powerful because it is impossible for the audience to escape the raw emotion that the actors embody as they perform.  That’s why the All Stars Project is so important to me, because this organization strives to perpetuate the performing arts within poor communities so that they can grow and have a voice for the conflicts they feel everyday.

–Catherine Migueis

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Intern! Christopher Keaghan Anen

1. Tell us about yourself! Where are you from, where do you go to school, and what do you like to do?

I am Christopher Keaghan Anen from Blairstown (the sticks), NJ (yes there are woods in NJ, I promise). I study at Montclair State University, majoring in Philosophy with a double minor in Religious studies and International studies. I work landscaping most of the year and pretty much stay outside fishing/hiking/swimming as much as I
can in the summer.

2. What attracted you to the All Stars? How did you find us, and
why are you here?

I found the All Stars through idealist.org and when I read the description I thought it would be a great way to see the world of non-profits from the inside. I also thought it would be cool to work in NYC for the summer.

3. What’s the funniest Street Performance story from this summer that you have to share?

My funniest street performance moment was being hit on by a man that I would ball park at about 35-40 years old. After a few minutes of trying to get his contact info he finally gave me an incredibly inappropriate email address which he then made sure I recorded on the form. (Shortly after I scratched it out and will not repeat it here :P).

4. What three things would you want to have with you on a deserted island?

Knowing what I know about the outdoors I would have to bring an ax, 100 feet of rope, and waterproof matches….but seeing as how you guys are probably looking for something more interesting, I would say Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, my iPod (what’s life without music?) and probably still the ax.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Mixing it up!

The GOALies are half way through another great week of our summer street performance campaign, and it has been a wild one! While Alex was developing herself in New Jersey on Monday, those of us back in New York got to develop our relationships with the rest of our ensemble as we went out in different teams. I got the chance to head downtown with Nix, Adina and Maxine to spend a hot hot day on John and Water Streets. It was great to work with some different people–

everyone brings something different to their street performance, and I think we all have plenty to teach to, and to learn from everyone else!

The entire ensemble has been presented with a mission to have 200 conversations this week, and our first go did not disappoint—in less than two hours our team had upwards of 15! Even though the sun was scorching at times, we managed to pique the interest of many passers-by, including one young woman who I stopped toward the end of the shift named Kisha. She began by telling me that she would not be able to donate, but since I had her ear I gave her the rap anyway. By the time I was approaching the ask, she was so excited about the All Stars that she chose to sponsor a young person! She also wants to involve her niece with the programs, so I am very excited for the follow-up phone shifts to connect with Kisha as we welcome her to the All Stars community!
Today we battled the elements again; this time I was on Wall and Water with Amanda, Lindsey and Brigid. As we headed downtown the humidity was heavy and the clouds were ominous, but we continued on our mission. Unfortunately, we were so far downtown that the pouring rains that came soon after we set up hit us first—and hard! Even though we were smiling and excited to persevere, the people on the streets were less inclined to battle the rain, and we had to pack in before we made much progress. Our fellow ensemble members were luckier though, and despite a much abbreviated performance, we sponsored more than 7 young people today!
Come what may, the 2010 GOALies are unstoppable!

–Kate Harlin

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Luncheon at Latham & Watkins, LLP in Newark, NJ

Today, myself and six other GOAL interns traveled into Newark, NJ to visit the All Stars Project location there. We first went to the office and met with Bonnie, who told us a little about how the All Stars in Newark, NJ originated. We then went to a luncheon at Latham and Watkins to meet with Mr. David McLean, a partner at the New Jersey location of the global law firm.

We learned a lot about Mr. McLean’s involvement in the All Stars and in the non-profit world. He said that one of the reasons he cares about the All Stars so much is because he has children of his own and would like other children to have the same opportunities that his children have. He also said that one of the reasons he particularly supports the All Stars Project New Jersey location is because he was raised in New Jersey and raises his own children in New Jersey, so he feels a strong connection and responsibility to help the city and its children to succeed.

Mr. McLean told us about his involvement in the Development School for Youth (DSY) and how he trains students to become leaders by helping them learn about public speaking. He said that his direct involvement with the children took such a short amount of his time, but made such a strong difference and if we could all realize that more, we could all make great contributions in some way.

McClean also said that by working with the kids, he learned to

never underestimate how bright children can be even without a strong education background.

He described the kids as sponges who are so ready and capable to learn. He said they have raw intellect, drive and a great desire to succeed.

Mr. McLean described the All Stars as having incredible scalability in terms of not only expanding their programs to other places around the United States, but also making those programs work effectively in other places. McLean advised us that in order to continue expanding and growing our own leadership skills, we should always challenge ourselves both in our careers and in life. He also pointed out that our internship with the All Stars will teach us valuable lessons like persistence and tenacity.

Overall, meeting Mr. David McLean was a great experience and helped me learn about the many different companies and individuals that are involved with the All Stars. Mr. McLean is a wonderful example of someone truly committed to service and to the All Stars cause.

-Alex Cuttitta

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Intern: Christiana Kallon!

1. Tell me a little about your life before interning at the All Stars. What was your life like and how was it different in Sierra Leon and in the other places you have lived? Where do you go to college?

I’m a rising senior at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m a Sociology major and have taken a particular interest in issues related to the government and gender studies. As the daughter of a diplomat I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to live in 6 different countries (Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda, Bangladesh, now the US). I’ve also visited numerous others. Some of the countries I’ve lived in, including my home country Sierra Leone, are some of the world’s poorest. I’ve always been interested in Human Development and helping people find ways to help themselves.

2. How did you find out about the All Stars and what attracted you to it?

I’ve done work with a variety of non-profits but I was very interested in the unique performing arts model that the All Stars uses to enable development. I learned about the organization as I was searching Idealist.com desperately looking for an internship that wouldn’t require me to fetch coffee and file paper work. From this experience I’m learning that poverty is very relative, and yes just because poor people in the US do not live in conditions comparable to those in Asia or Africa does not mean the issue of poverty is not as urgent and or does not need the same immediate attention in those places.

3. Was there a class structure in Sierra Leon and were issues regarding a development gap similar there as they are here?

I left Sierra Leone when I was four and haven’t been back in over 14 years so I’m not too familiar with the class structure there. However I know that my country is slowly recovering from a decade-long civil war that stemmed from many existing inequalities. In the other countries that I lived in particularly Bangladesh I was very aware of the class system. It was often the case that power, in terms of money and social status, was concentrated in a small percentage of the population and the majority of the country was poor. I think what made this system even more difficult to overcome was that there were not many solid institutions in place to protect the rights of the people like there are here in the United States. So the poor were susceptible to more exploitation.

4. Tell me about your Fanta audition!

So I’ve always dreamed of working with the Coca Cola Company. I just admire how global the product is and how it can transcend cultural obstacles in a way people and organizations could not. My favorite Coke product is Fanta, which I even wrote my college admission essay on. My friend told me about a contest to be the FOURTH Fantana girl so I applied. And I need everyone to rate and comment on my video! Here is the link:

http://www.fanta.com/browse/contestant?id=76000548ae6c3dd5d9e52780e3c356c7e04508af81e04e4eff83e613cba2931e

Help me make my Coca Cola dream come true one sip at a time!!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meet the Intern! Lucy Finkelstein-Fox

1.  What’s your full name, where are you from, and where and what do you currently study?

Lucy and a typical day in Rochester

My full name is Lucy Finkelstein-Fox. I don’t have a middle name because my parents gave me both of their last names and decided that anymore names would be crazy. I’m from Rochester, NY (about 6 hours away from NYC and 1 hour away from Canada) and I study at Barnard College of Columbia University in NYC. I’m going into my second year there and I’m a music major with a possible concentration in Women’s Studies.

2.  What attracted you to the GOAL internship with the All Stars?

I was attracted to the GOAL internship when I saw the display at a career fair at Columbia because I’ve done work at other non-profits, but never at one that supported the arts. I’m interested in possibly becoming a music therapist, and so I’m really interested in the ways that music relates to mental development.

3.  How will this experience help you in your future plans for a career and for life?

I think this internship will help me be able to communicate with a wide range of people. I like being challenged to articulate my ideas about the effect of arts on development. I’m also enjoying learning about the administration of non-profits. No matter what field I ultimately go into, I think it is important to remain connected to the world of volunteering
and helping others. It’s been really interesting to meet the volunteers at All Stars whose careers aren’t necessarily connected to the non-profit, but who still manage to make volunteering a major part of their lives.

4.  If you could visit any part of the world, where would you go and what’s one thing you would do there?
If I could visit any part of the world it would be France because I am a huge creme brulee enthusiast.  I got a cooking torch for my 18th birthday and have tried to make it myself but I would like to learn from the source how to make it really well. If I got to go to France I would try to go to cooking school and learn their secrets.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What’s everyone ELSE doing at ASP??

Our readers get to hear a lot about what Alex, Kate, and Catherine are up to day to day at the All Stars Project, so Team I’m Witchu decided that it’s due time to check up on the other teams of the GOAL Internship and find out what is keeping them busy!

Mural team “Team Lightbulb”:
Lindsey, Adina, Amanda
Team Lightbulb is really happy to have their mural project well underway. They have found that the sketching out of the mural design is quite relaxing, and are particularly pleased that there have been no problems so far. All the ideas that have been tossing around in their heads are finally starting to come together in material form, which is very exciting. Team Lightbulb is proud to be working on a project that will remain in the center for a long time. The team’s goal with this mural is to grab people’s attention and deeply think about each of the words that they have chosen to represent the three main steps in personal development. These words are a surprise so be sure to come by the center at the end of the month to see what they are!

Think Tank “Team Fireballs”:
A’brielle, Lucy, Christiana, Sarah
Team Fireballs’ main goal with their Think Tank project is to engage conversation and encourage unique thoughts. They wanted to tap into why they are here at the All Stars through the topics they discuss, topics that are often politically charged or socially involved. They want people to realize that though everyone here is different, we are all supporting the same cause. They discuss topics that they believe are interesting, research them, and then come up with a plan for discussion with the rest of the GOALies ensemble. So far, they have read the All Stars white paper that focuses on the distinction between achievement and development gap. They led a seminar to discuss what these words mean, and to understand development from a variety of perspectives, finding that there is no one right answer to these complex topics.

Video “Team Cosmopolitan”:
Nyx, Jahid, Kelsie

Team Cosmopolitan is making a documentary style video that is 6-8 minutes long. The goal for the video is to let people know who All Stars is, what ASP does, and why they should get involved in the program any way they can. They plan to interview people who are involved in the All Stars in different ways, such as volunteers, donors, and the youth. They even have an original soundtrack performed by our talented interns! Currently, they are just about to begin the filming process, setting up appointments with important people in the All Stars to shoot footage for what is sure to be a one of a kind video.

Public relations “YA TU SABES”:
Martin , Nataly, Christopher, Dorie

The idea behind Team YA TU SABES’s Public relations project is to help them think about and relate to social issues effecting inner city youth, the target population of ASP. So far, they have scanned local news sources for current events.  They found an article last week in the San Francisco Chronicle suggesting that there were too many non profits for allotted gov’t funding, and that there needed to be some way to measure the effectiveness of non-profits.  Team YA TU SABES crafted a response to the article and came up with ideas for an assessment plan, which they then sent to the newspaper.  They are also trying to make their own longer opinion pieces not about any particular article, which they agree is hard because they are still learning how to make their work credible.  These opinion pieces don’t reflect views of ASP, but are rather their own views on social issues.  All of the members of YA TU SABES agree that their team is awesome and they all love the work they are doing!

Young Community Organizers Blog “Team Anonymous”:
Sarah Black, Argelia, Nicole

Team Anonymous runs a blog that is mostly about social issues in their own neighborhoods that they are interested in.  Sarah reflects on one entry she posted, which was about the challenges of community organizing and the skills needed for organizing.  It came from an experience during a street performance when a passer by asked her what it feels like to be rejected so much.   In the blog, Team Anonymous talks about things that spark their  interest here at the All Stars, and they have found that they really enjoy writing and talking about the issues they are thinking about.  They hope to reach a broad audience, both ASP people and beyond, so check them out at whyorganize.tumblr.com

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment