Gnim Bazim: Where is He Now?

Gnim Bazim
Gnim Bazim has been part of South Bronx United for six years, joining the organization as a 12-year old. With the help of our Director of College Placement and Alumni, Tom DeMaio, Gnim is currently a senior at Mercersburg Boarding School in Pennsylvania on a full scholarship. In the Fall, he will be attending Kenyon College in Ohio – also on a full scholarship.

Gnim is originally from Togo, West Africa and emigrated with his parents to the Bronx when he was just three years old. He has one sister who is 12 years old and hopes to continue to be a positive role model and inspiration for her.  A friend recommended him to SBU, and he jumped at the chance to first join the recreational league.  He soon worked his way up to the travel team and SBU Academy.

As a young immigrant, he was very thankful to SoGnim Bazim3uth Bronx United for giving him the
chance to attend a boarding school, which increased his chances at getting into a great college. He says, “I prefer boarding school over the school I went to in the Bronx because I have teachers who genuinely care and, the smaller classes makes it easier to learn.” At Mercersburg, he has taken advantage of all the opportunities there are to ensure that he is living up to his full potential. He is currently the captain of the soccer and wrestling team, does track and field, is a dormitory prefect (similar to an R.A.) and is also a tour guide.

Regarding academics, he says “At first, I wanted to pursue medical field, but after taking a class and visiting the supreme court, I fell in love with history and the law.”  He now has an internship at a law firm in NYC this summer.

To him, his biggest accomplishment was getting a full scholarship to Kenyon College. Gnim truly embodies the student that we hope all SBU Academy students turn out to be. He places a great emphasis on school and his future and definitely makes time for some fun soccer games! And when he is not playing soccer or doing sports, he likes to watch movies and TV shows.

When asked what advice he would give to current SBU students, he says, “Sometimes it will seem hard to follow the daily routine of going to tutoring and then attending practice every week, but keep at it because in the end, it definitely pays off.”

His invGnim@Benefitolvement with SBU did not stop since he moved to Pennsylvania to attend Mercersburg. He volunteered as a tutor for the Summer Scholars Program for the past two years and was also the Youth Honoree at the SBU 5th Annual Benefit.

Overall, Gnim is very appreciative of all SBU has done for him over the past 6 years. “I want to give a big thanks to Andrew and Tom for helping me through the process of going to boarding school and soon – attending college. Everyone at SBU works hard for a good cause.”

Gnim Bazim will be attending Kenyon College in Fall 2017 on a full scholarship and will be playing competitive soccer.

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Students showcase work in SBU Karen Barth Arts Program

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Collaborative Masterpiece by students in the Karen Barth Arts Program.

Bronx, NY – Several students in the SBU Karen Barth Arts Program collaborated to create unique works of art to showcase in front of friends and family at the Urban Assembly School last week. They drew from their passion for soccer and love for South Bronx United to make several smaller art works and then one collaborative masterpiece. The program currently consists of approximately 10 students, but is open to kids in the travel program as well as the recreational program and is taught by Beata Drozd, an art teacher.

The masterpiece, shown above, consists of a collage of images and words that express the feelings and thoughts of the students. From their favorite soccer players to the SBU logo to the flags of their countries of origin, the work of art truly highlights each individual student in a unique way.

Sharif Diaoune, a 7th grader, described it: “This masterpiece represents all of us as a community and unites us. For instance, we drew a soccer ball, which connects all of us together. We were offered by our wonderful teacher Ms. B to add political topics, but we respectfully disagreed because our piece is about community, love and happiness. In the center is the SBU logo, which means a lot to us.”

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Sharif Diaoune (right) and Joshua Sanchez (left), talking about the work or art.

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Other students expressed similar feelings about the masterpiece they created. Chelsea Quito, the only high school student in the arts program, said that the experience she had making the art was especially important to her since it provided her with an outlet to not only express herself, but to also work with the younger students and be a positive role model.

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The students are currently working on a project that they will eventually enter, for a chance to be showcased, in the BronxWorks Art Exhibition later in the year. They will all choose one inspirational word, express their own individual feelings towards that word in any form of art and then combine it into one final piece. Ms. Drozd, their art teacher, or Ms. B, as the students call her, was very proud of the kids for not only creating all the wonderful art works, but also for explaining them so eloquently to others the night of the Art Gallery.

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Ms. Beata Drozd with her students in the Art Program.

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SBU Alumnus Beaufils Kimpolo: South Bronx United is Home

beaufils4 South Bronx United to me has been more than just a soccer club. Unlike many other soccer clubs throughout New York City, SBU has helped me improve my academic performances all throughout high school, especially when it came to English and maths, until graduating from Bronx International High School in 2015. As an ESL student, the learning process was not always easy. But, knowing that I had an organization to rely on for extra support, academics became the last that I had to worry about.

Throughout my senior year of high school, my parent’s biggest concerns about me attending college was the cost of attendance, as they could not afford it. With little college options to work with while at Bronx International High School, SBU’s Director of College Placement and Alumni, Tom DeMaio introduced me to Preparatory schools as a way for me to gain more exposure college wise, challenge myself academically, and to potentially receive scholarship offers from institutions of my choice. With the help of SBU and coach Andrej Bjegovic, I successfully convinced my parents who were first against this proposal because to them, “I was going to waste a school year.” In August of 2015, I finally attended The Loomis Chaffee School, where I did a post-graduate year and graduated once again in spring of 2016.

SBU’s mBeaufils2agic does not stop here though. Once at Loomis, the next step was then to get into college, not having to worry about tuition. With the collaboration of my college advisor Mrs. Amy Thompson, and the head soccer coach at Loomis Chaffee, Charles Bour, SBU made sure that I had my college applications submitted on time, and all my college visits scheduled. SBU always made sure that I was prepared for my interviews, and that I carried myself appropriately. Little did I know of the conversations, phone calls, and emails that took place behind closed doors. In spring of 2016, I came to find out that I was accepted on a full scholarship to Bates college in Lewiston, Maine, where I am currently playing soccer and running track & field.

I really am thankful for all that this organization has done for me because without it, I wouldn’t have been where I am today. Without it, my academic options would’ve been limited due to the lack of that extra push. Without it, I would’ve  probably not been playing competitive college soccer today. Without it, I wouldn’t have met such incredible coaches and teammates that I have the pleasure to call my brothers and peers today.

For my parents, there waBeaufils1s no other great news than hearing that their son was finally going to college on a full ride, all thanks to SBU. As an alumni, it is now up to me to be a good role model for the rising youths in the organization. My experience and relationship with SBU is one that, no matter where I find myself, will never be forgotten. Now that I go through the next phase of my life, SBU is, and always will be home for many of us kids from the South Bronx.

Beaufils joined South Bronx United and the SBU Academy in 2013.  He is currently a Freshman at Bates College in Maine.

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Run for SBU: 2017 TCS New York City Marathon

MarathonphotoSouth Bronx United Named an Official Charity Partner of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon Set for Sunday, November 5, 2017

New York, February 2nd, 2017South Bronx United was named an Official Charity Partner of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon, it was announced today by Andrew So. The race will take place on Sunday, November 5, 2017.

 “South Bronx United is proud to serve as an official charity partner of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon,” said Andrew, the Executive Director of the organization. “This TCS New York City Marathon offers a unique and wide-reaching platform for our devoted charity runners to raise awareness and funds for important causes in their lives. We’re thrilled to support our runners on their journeys as they prepare for and achieve their mission to reach the finish line while raising awareness and funds to benefit the 1,000 low-income, immigrant boys and girls that SBU serves every day.”

More than 350 official charity partners will be part of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.

South Bronx United runners will receive guaranteed entry to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon while raising vital funds to benefit SBU youth programs in the classroom and on the field. SBU uses soccer as a tool for social change and aims to help youth build character, teamwork, and leadership so that they can succeed in high school, college, careers, their community and beyond. All proceeds will go to furthering this mission. You can help us teach the next generation of athletes by running with South Bronx United in the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon. All runners are expected to raise a minimum of $2,500, but also receive great benefits like 2 tickets to the 7th Annual Benefit in November, a signature SBU jersey and more! To learn more about running for SBU and to sign up, visit www.sbusupporters.org/run-sbu/.

“We’re thrilled to welcome South Bronx United as an official charity partner of the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon,” said Michael Rodgers, vice president of development and philanthropy for New York Road Runners. “Participants in our official charity partner program run for causes that are important to them, while raising critical funds that directly impact hundreds of charity organizations. We are inspired by the thousands of runners who take part in thisprogram and wish them all the best as they begin their incredible journeys to the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon.”

The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will feature a world-class American and international professional athlete field, charity runners, and thousands of runners of all ages and abilities.More than 10,000 volunteers help to support participants across the 26.2-mile race route, which touches each of New York City’s five boroughs and is lined with more than one million neighbors and guests.

The 2017 TCS New York City Marathon will be broadcast live locally on WABC-TV, Channel 7, and nationally on ESPN2.

About the TCS New York City Marathon

The TCS New York City Marathon is the premier event of New York Road Runners (NYRR) and the largest marathon in the world. Over 1,000,000 people have finished the race since its first running in 1970 with just 127 entrants and 55 finishers running four laps around Central Park. The race expanded to all five boroughs in 1976 and just celebrated its 40th year as a five-borough affair. Held annually on the first Sunday of November, the race features over 50,000 runners including the world’s top professional athletes and a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners. Participants from over 125 countries tour the city, starting on Staten Island at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and running through the neighborhoods of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before ending in Manhattan. The NYRR Youth Invitational at the TCS New York City Marathon covered 1.8 miles of the race course in Central Park, beginning near mile 24 and finishing at the famed TCS New York City Marathon finish line. More than one million spectators and thousands of volunteers line the city streets in support of the runners, while millions more watch the television broadcast in 175 countries and territories, including viewers in the New York area on WABC-TV, Channel 7, nationally on ESPN2, and via various international broadcast partners. The race is part of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, which features the world’s top marathons—Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York—and crowns the top professional male and female marathoners each year. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting, and business solutions organization, is the premier partner of NYRR and the title sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon. The 47th running of the TCS New York City Marathon is set for November 5, 2017. To learn more, visit www.tcsnycmarathon.org.

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SBU Youth Council Hosts International Food Night

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Students after a fun round of musical chairs!

On January 20th, 2017, South Bronx United’s Youth Council hosted an International Food Night for students in SBU Academy, coaches, mentors and volunteers. The Youth Council is a group of ten students who have been selected to represent all South Bronx United youth. Currently, these students are Hamza Moudden, Chelsea Quito, Giselle Flores, Amaris Carillo, Jeany Martinez, Mohamed (Papis) Konate, Dede Mansro, Matilda Kocaj, Mamourou Kone and Kylah Kerr. They are leaders and scholar-athletes on their respective teams and within the SBU Academy program. Once a week, they meet to plan and implement certain initiatives around topics of health and wellness to community development and community service.

They drummed up the idea for this cultural event in an effort to foster a stronger bond between students and, also between the dedicated volunteers and staff at SBU. One of their goals was to showcase the diversity that’s within SBU Academy.

This year, the SBU Academy program alone has 26 different nationalities from four continents represented. 42% of students were born abroad, and 98% of students are from immigrant families.

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Students playing a fun game of charades after a delicious meal!

The event, which had food and games for kids, was a huge success for Youth Council, especially since this was the first time the students attempted an event like this.

With the help and support of Bridget Mahon, SBU’s Youth Development Counselor, they surpassed their expectations when 12 countries (Australia, Italy, Morocco, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Ghana, Mexico, Ecuador, Albania, Guyana, India, and the Dominican Republic) were represented with various cultural dishes. Some food items included Australian Fairy Bread, Lasagna and Flan from the Dominican Republic, and Sweet Albanian Bread.

“I’m so happy we were able to pull this off and I can’t wait to start planning our next event for students.” Matilda Kocaj, a Youth Council member said.

Array of International Dishes

Array of Cultural Dishes at International Food Night

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Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s and The Guggenheim partner with South Bronx United for peh-LO-tah

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Marc Bamuthi Joseph teams up with South Bronx United to create Moving and Passing

This summer, South Bronx United teamed up with award winning artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph for the Guggenheim Museum Social Practice Initiative, a program funded by a major grant from the Edmond de Rothschild Foundation which aims to instill different art expressions within the community. Through the Social Practice Art Initiative, artists were able to interact with members of the South Bronx community and reconstruct soccer drills into meaningful choreography that were reinterpreted into one final contemporary performance.

Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Artist Marc Bamuthi Joseph

Marc Bamuthi Joseph partnered with with South Bronx United to create Moving and Passing, a contemporary work of art that enabled Bronx youth to explore the arts through their passion for soccer. The event, which took place during the summer, was made into a two part video featuring SBU athletes and coaches and emphasized the importance of embracing cultural diversity and recognizing the social issues that immigrant communities face. Mr. Joseph and his team of choreographers met up with SBU youth athletes and their coaches to work with them through clinics that are set up to help young athletes improve their soccer skills. During these clinics, soccer drills were mixed with choreography, writing and painting. Children were able to participate in a rotational play where they would spend some time in drills with their coaches and then move on to choreographed pieces with the artists. The afternoon ended with theatrical performances featuring South African and Brazilian dancers.  CultureStrike, a national arts and social justice organization, worked with students to create an art project that embodied the afternoon’s themes.

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The clinic provided rotational plays for students to take part in soccer drills and art projects

As the son of Haitian immigrants, Mr. Joseph often emphasized his theme that “moving without the ball is the immigrant story” to the Student Athletes of South Bronx United, the majority of which come from immigrant families. Students were invited to listen in on engaging conversations about global economies and the importance of soccer as a form of expression. Mr. Joseph takes from his own life experience and the role of soccer in his life to enable members of the community to bring together different elements such as sports, art, politics or immigration and merge them into one through art forms such as Moving and Passing. 

As a result of  his participation with South Bronx United and FC Harlem, The Guggenheim Museum will commission Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s performance, /peh-LO-tah/, which is set to premiere this month at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA. The interaction between South Bronx community members and artists at the special clinics influenced the writing for /peh-LO-tah, the performance that combines immigration and soccer through a vibrant performance of shadows, silhouettes and moving bodies.

/peh-LO-tah is now showing at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Watch the Moving and Passing project through videos on The Guggenheim Museum’s website [Video Part 1 | Video Part 2].

Students engaged in art projects with CultureStrike

Students engaged in art projects with CultureStrike

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South Bronx United 6th Annual Benefit Raises Crucial Funds for the SBU Mission

Honored Guest Jack Harrison with Youth Honoree Anayeli Bolaños

Honored Guest Jack Harrison with Youth Honoree Anayeli Bolaños

300 guests filled the Midtown Loft and Terrace for a night of celebration in honor of South Bronx United’s 6th Annual Benefit on Thursday, November 10. The evening celebrated the success of South Bronx United programs in reaching 1,000 boys and girls in the community and providing students and their families with the support they need to succeed. Among the guests this year were New York City FC’s Jack Harrison, Master of Ceremony and former USA World Cup defender Jimmy Conrad, and surprise guest Spain and Real Madrid legend Raul Gonzalez Blanco.  This year’s Annual Benefit raised $89,000, making it the most successful fundraising event to date for the organization.  All proceeds will go towards the continued support of South Bronx United’s youth development programs that utilize soccer as a tool to help Bronx youth reach academic success through a range of programs such as college prep and other leadership development programs provided in and out of the classroom.  A portion of support has been designated to support the organization’s legal services for immigrant youth.

The evening began with a presentation hosted by Mr. Conrad, who returned from last year’s event.  Conrad interviewed Mr. Harrison, an New York City FC midfielder and MLS Rookie of the Year nominee, who shared his story about his transition from playing soccer in England to playing in the MLS.  Harrison had competed against an SBU soccer team as a senior at the Berkshire School in Massachusetts.  Earlier this year, he also made an appearance to welcome community children at South Bronx United’s City in the Community Program opening event in March.  Executive Director Andrew So followed the interview with remarks about the the progress of his organization. “For the first time we’ve exceeded 1,000 boys and girls served providing the children as young as 3 all the way up to 19 recreational and athletic opportunities that are severely lacking in the Bronx.”

This year, South Bronx United also expanded the guidance and support it provides its students and families through the immigration process. “Our legal services staff managed 52 cases this year helping youth and families find access to immigration relief. Today, we have helped 23 youth gain permanent residency.”

Soccer legend and former Real Madrid star Raul Gonzalez Blanco made a surprise appearance assisting in the auctioning of an Real Madrid jersey that he autographed at the event.  The proceeds from the auction contributed towards the evening’s goal.

Surprise Guest Raul Gonzalez Blanco assisted in the auctioning of his signed Real Madrid jersey

Surprise Guest Raul Gonzalez Blanco assisted in the auctioning of his signed Real Madrid jersey

This year, the Annual Benefit celebrated 2016 Youth Honoree and SBU Academy Graduate Anayeli Bolaños who’s story was shared with the audience through a video presentation and speech. Ms. Bolaños’ life changed upon becoming apart of South Bronx United.  At 13 years old, she arrived to the United States from Mexico with her family in search of a better life. Naye’s story captivated the crowd as she shared with them her plans for the future starting with her newly received permanent residency status, thanks to South Bronx United’s work and her upcoming enrollment in the Borough of Manhattan Community College:

“I was getting my fingers done for immigration and I realized my future coworkers will look at me as more than just an immigrant,” she explained. “If I never found SBU, I don’t think I would have these opportunities….  After two years I plan to transfer to pursue my bachelor’s degree. I want to continue to play soccer. my goal is to eventually become an accountant and stay close to my family.”

2016 Youth Honoree Anayeli Bolaños shares how SBU made an impact on her life

2016 Youth Honoree Anayeli Bolaños shares how SBU made an impact on her life

Many sponsors came together to support South Bronx United and the event, including Two Sigma Investments, Medidata Solutions, Barclay’s Capital, PIMCO, InterFysio, Dos Toros Taqueria, BlackRock, and Growth Through Sport.  Guests were treated to a buffet sponsored by Dos Toros.  Generous bar sponsors including The Bronx Brewery, Tito’s Vodka, Tanteo Tequilla, and Papillon Bistro and Bar. Guests also participated in an auction and raffle which included items from institutions such as New York City FC, Relish Caterers, Adidas, New York Yankees, FC Bayern Munich Fan Club of NYC, and many more.

Every year, proceeds raised in the Annual Benefit go towards the expansion of youth programs provided to children of the Bronx on behalf of South Bronx United. The organization is now working with 1,000 boys and girls and provides them with the tools they need to succeed academically through leadership and character building programs that will help them reach academic enrichment. South Bronx United will continue to use soccer as a tool to lead their student athletes on the right path to success.

Photos from the event can be viewed on the Facebook page for the SBU Supporters Club, a fundraising arm and membership club for the organization.  Learn more about the SBU Supporters Club at sbusupporters.org.

For more information on South Bronx United, and how you can help become apart of our mission, please visit www.southbronxunited.org or call (718) 404-9281.

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South Bronx United girls attend the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute

 

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From left to right: Staisy Barrera, Matilda Kocaj, and Giselle Flores at the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Salute on October 19th

“My head was hurting, I was shaking, and I just wanted to get this over with. All I could think about was all the ways I could mess up.  I was looking forward to the event but the speech got me feeling really nervous especially since I would meet famous athletes.  I met Claressa Shields, Ashleigh Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and many more. When I met Claressa Shields, she was really funny.  She seemed a bit nervous but she was acting like a pro. She told me it would be okay.  Throughout the event, people told me it would be fine.

The rehearsal made me feel comfortable about how I would say my speech. And I actually felt good by the time I said my speech and it was a success.

In the end, this event helped give the message that women are equal to men. Woman also matter. Women can do the same things that men and boys can do. I found new inspirations too. This event was the Women Sports Foundation. It helps girls play sports and makes them feel they can be something and that women are something.”

  • Staisy Barrera, 12, SBU Soaring Stars

SBU Academy student-athlete Staisy Barrera had the chance to speak at the 37th Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Event which took place on October 20, 2016 at Cipriani Wall Street, New York City. The annual event honors women and their achievements in sports. Olympic gold medalists Ashleigh Johnson, and Claressa Shields, who made history at this summer’s Rio Olympics by becoming the first athlete to ever win back to back gold in boxing, were amongst the four women athletes being honored for their accomplishments in sports that evening. The donations raised during the event went towards The Women’s Sports Foundation’s Sports 4 Life program which aims to nationally expand the involvement of African American and Hispanic girls in sports. Staisy was one of three girls who had the opportunity to attend the annual event and meet women athletes such as bronze medalist Ibitaj Muhammad.  SBU coach-mentor and alumnus Delmy Del Cid also attended along with youth counselor Bridget Mahon.  Earlier this year, South Bronx United became a 2016 recipient of the Sports 4 life program.

South Bronx United became one of 40 organizations to receive funding from the sports 4 life program, which is expected to serve 10,000 more middle schools and high schools across the country. The program’s goal is to build leadership in girls through sports, predominantly African American and Hispanic girls who are more at risk of health conditions such as diabetes and obesity. South Bronx United  began offering girls specific soccer programming in 2011 and now offers girls from four years old to high school the opportunity to play recreational soccer or soccer on a travel team. The Women’s Sports Foundation will be accepting applications throughout this fall for 2017, for more information visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org/Sports4Life.

SBU girls had the opportunity to meet 2016 Olympic Medalist Ibtihaj Muhammed of the Team USA Fencing Team

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South Bronx United 6th Annual Benefit on November 10th

2015 Annual Benefit Youth Honoree Gnim Bazim speaking to event guests

2015 Annual Benefit Youth Honoree Gnim Bazim speaking to event guests

South Bronx United is hosting their 6th annual benefit on November 10, 2016 at Manhattan’s Midtown Loft and Terrace on Fifth Avenue. Every year, the event aims to raise funds for the many youth programs and events provided  by South Bronx United. Throughout the year the South Bronx organization provides young people with programs on and off the field, serving as a way to keep at risk youths on the right path to success. College Prep, mentoring, immigration services, leadership development and soccer are all services provided by South Bronx United for nearly 1,000 boys and girls each year.

New York City FC rookie sensation Jack Harrison will be an honored guest. Harrison also attended a South Bronx United’s community program this past spring and took the field against a SBU boys team when they visited his alma mater, the Berkshire Academy in Massachusetts.  Jimmy Conrad, a former USA World Cup defender and current digital media star, will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the second straight year. Guests will also be introduced to the youth honoree, Anayeli Bolaños, an SBU Academy Class of 2016 graduate.

Like every year, the goal of this year’s benefit is to raise enough funds to continue providing city youths with opportunities that will guide them academically through high school and straight into college. South Bronx United aims to teach the participants of their academies leadership values that will help them succeed throughout their careers. 94 percent of SBU’s diverse group of seniors have enrolled in college with 100 percent of their seniors having graduating high school. For more information about South Bronx United’s mission, visit www.southbronxunited.org.

Tickets for the annual benefit are on sale now starting at $125.  The ticket cost is partially tax-deductible.  Sponsorship and Program Ad Packages are also available. Sponsors include Two Sigma Investments, Barclays Capital, Medidata Solutions, Interfysio, PIMCO, Dos Toros Taqueria, the Bronx Brewery, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, and Tanteo Tequila.

For more information visit the website sbusupporters.org/benefit, email  benefit@southbronxunited.org, or call (718) 404-9281.

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Student-Athletes Explore their Artistic Side in the SBU Karen Barth Arts Program

SBU student-athletes complete a class painting during Summer Soccer Scholars program.

SBU student-athletes complete a class painting during Summer Soccer Scholars program.

Student-athletes in the SBU Academy now have the opportunity to learn artistic concepts, experiment with various visual art forms, and gain exposure to instruction that is lacking in many public schools.  This arts enrichment programming is offered through the new SBU Karen Barth Arts Program.

This summer 34 students took art class for one hour each day as part of the SBU Summer Soccer Scholars program.  Instruction was provided through program partner Learning Through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAP), an organization committed to improving the quality of public education through a unique, hands-on, arts-based approach to teaching the core curriculum.  In addition to learning basic concepts of visual arts, colors, painting, and drawing, students used painting to explore the summer theme of migration including their own family’s personal stories.

Students shared some of their experiences from the summer.  Says Abou Sissoko, 13, “I learned many things in Ms. Wendy’s class.  One thing that I like is perspective drawing.  At first, I thought it was going to be hard but when she showed me an example and explain it well I understood.  I made at least three drawings that day!”

Osvaldo Martinez, 12: “In art, I learned how to dye a shirt and we had fun doing various activities.  We learned to paint using mixed colors.”

Vanessa Jerez, 12: “Over the summer I took various subjects, but specifically I really liked art.  I did many art projects with my class.  Some of those projects were the sun print–where you put objects on a special blue paper, put it outside for 5 minutes, and put it in water over night–and the immigration project, where you told and drew a story of a family member who immigrated to the U.S.  I have been drawing since I was 7 years old and I have never seen an art class with so much creativity.  That’s what I liked the most out of the class: the creativity and respect in the room.  I hope I’ll be able to be in it again.”

Watch and listen to Drissa Gama, 13, share his family migration art project.

This fall, the program has continued as a weekly afterschool arts offering for middle and high school students.  During the school year, South Bronx United will partner with DreamYard Project and the Guggenheim Museum.

The program made possible thanks to a generous grant made to honor the legacy of the late Karen Barth.  Ms. Barth shared: “My objective is to make a painting that reinvigorates the language of abstraction and forges a renewed bond to nature. What I seek is a connection to the larger world via a painting that suggests a confluence between nature, paint and technology as process and the sense of immediacy and aliveness that this fused experience provides for me.”

A gallery featuring Karen Barth’s work is on display until October 22, 2016 at the Rogue Space: 508 West 26th Street, 9E-9F , Tuesday through Saturday, 10am-6pm.

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