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.
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.