Kiehl’s & LifeRide 7

Last Wednesday, Kiehl’s Since 1851 on Newbury Street rolled out the red carpet for LifeRide 7 in support of the extraordinary work of amfAR to fund top research to find a cure for HIV/AIDS.

Kiehl’s is in PYD’s neighborhood and they’ve generously donated to our Party for PYD’s silent auctions. As our friend and supporter, we were happy to turn out for their star-studded afternoon. It was important to us to show our support of and solidarity with community members living with and impacted by HIV/AIDS.  And feel joyful and grateful for all of the phenomenal positive impact of amfAR and AIDS Action Committee, the latter which is based right here in Boston.

The event started with thumping music on the steps of Kiehl’s. Thunderous motorcycles drove up to the boutique. Photo ops, paparazzi and adoring fans of Gilles Marini and other celebrities in tow. Chris Salgardo, CEO of Kiehl’s, and Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s CEO led the way. In addition to giving a gift to amfAR at the event, Kiehl’s made a generous gift to the AIDS Action Committee.

What’s more is that Kiehl’s treated guests to hand massages, mini facials, and for those that worked up an appetite, salads from Alden & Harlow that were very tasty. And the cupcakes! 15% of all store purchases went to amfAR.

Bravo to our friends for this meaningful and successful event! Thank you for allowing us to be a part.

LifeRide7 crew including, Gilles Marini, Kevin Robert Frost (CEO of amfAR), and Carl Sciortino (Executive Director AIDS Action Committee)

Arli Vargas (store manager) and Chris Salgardo (CEO of Kiehl's Since 1851)

Red ribbon cupcake

Evan Gabovitch, PYD's MLK Summer Scholar, posing with Nicole Malo and Regina Snowden

My Experience as an MLK Scholar at PYD

This week is now officially the last work week being at PYD as a Summer Scholar (sob, cry, sniff sniff). The experience for the past six weeks has been nothing short of engaging, educational, and has some of the most memorable moments during this summer. I learned about how to be a professional writer for a company and collaborate and discuss my writing to be put out on the website; I’ve been involved in PYD events such as the Youth Leadership Forum, and Access To Theatre; and I attended an event to raise money for HIV/AIDS research hosted by Kiehl’s. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve seen a lot, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity–and hopefully, even more opportunities like it in the future.

As a part of my role, I had to attend bi-weekly seminars hosted by the MLK Summer Scholars program and John Hancock. During each of the Friday seminars, Summer Scholars from across multiple organizations each participated in community building activities under the motto “Seize today to own tomorrow.” The first session focused on physical and mental health by bringing in a motivational speaker before the scholars went out to the football field for exercises and yoga. The second session focused in creating a model of what Boston will be like in the year 2030. We received a bag of random items such as sticky tape, pipe cleaners, plates, and even an old floppy disk to create this model. The third session (which I was not able to attend due to my commitments to ATT) focused on financial literacy and how to better manage your money.

This entry is the ninth, and final, during my time as an MLK Scholar. But I’m sure from time to time I’ll contribute to PYD again in the future. I have many big plans ahead of me–can’t say what exactly–but no one has seen the last of me yet.

One last thing I would like to say is thank you to the Partners For Youth With Disabilities staff for accepting me as your own for the brief period of time I had, and for helping me navigate this sometimes wacky job. I can’t say enough about how great the experience has been, and I hope to work with all of you again soon.

Memories from YLF: Analyzing My “Zine” Page

During the Peer Leader training for the Youth Leadership Forum, Kristin Humphrey introduced our group what a “Zine” is. They are described as being self-published works of art that can focus on any topic of interest, whether it’s sports, LGBTQ rights, cartoons, or any other topic in-between. She asked our group of peer leaders to create our very own zines with a whole table of supplies at our disposal: scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, paper, magazines, etc., to help us self-express.

After exploring the magazines, I carefully picked out many images of what I wanted my zine to be. This was the end result:

Continue reading “Memories from YLF: Analyzing My “Zine” Page”

My Mentoring Experience With PYD

Evan and Cassie at their first match meeting!When I joined the Mentor Match program, I didn’t know quite how it would go at first. At the time, I was getting involved with various social development programs because my school system, Lexington Public Schools, was having a very hard time providing me with services so that I could learn how to do certain daily tasks, such as managing my time with homework on my own. Having a mentor wasn’t anywhere within my immediate plans; all I wanted to do was get by high school, make friends, and graduate. That was it. Unfortunately, I didn’t yet have the skills/tools to achieve those goals on my own, so I was open to getting some help from a mentor.

One day, I met with Kristin Humphrey at my house to discuss what kind of a person I would look for in a match. I thought about the many kinds of people in my life, and who I was able to connect with the best. I listed mostly women, as I felt a woman mentor would be able to listen to what I have to say, but also able to give me their input and help talk out certain situations with me.

Around December 2011, on one of the snowiest days you can imagine (well, except for winter 2015), I met with Kristin and my new mentor, Cassie, at the Boys and Girls Club in Arlington.

Cassie and I regularly met from around January until sometime early June, and to my surprise, talking to Cassie changed more things in my life than I expected. For any teenager, time management is one of the most difficult skills to learn—but one of the most important for college and adult life. I was definitely no exception to this rule. Although I still struggle with time management, as I’m sure other adults and college students do, I learned a lot talking to Cassie about how I can structure plans with my friends, where/when to meet up with them, and when to do my homework. Talking about problems in school really helped put things into perspective so I can know how to handle a current, or even future, situation.

Cassie and I also shared stories of events in our lives and our experiences. For Cassie it was talking about college life; for me, it was sharing my interests in TV shows like Doctor Who and about my various writing projects that I was working on.

She’s shared a lot about her life and of some of the challenges she was going through when it came to transitioning from college into grad school. She told me a lot about how she’s interested in philosophy and even studying other religions. One day, about a year or two after the Mentor Match program with Cassie ended, she told me something that I seriously did not expect to hear: she was going to convert to Islam. I was very interested as to why she wanted to become a Muslim during this part of her life. From what I remember, she told me that the religion of Islam closely reflected her beliefs and she wanted to explore what the religion better reflects in her life. Since she converted, I learned a lot more about Islam than I ever had from any outside information I was studying. In 9th grade, I did learn a lot about what Muslims contributed to science, medicine, and astrology, but to actually talk to a real Muslim about issues affecting the community was very intimate.

Although our time with the program officially ended, we still see each other and communicate on a somewhat regular basis. We’re both very busy people trying to get by in school or at work, but whenever we do check in, it’s always great knowing that she’s still there for me after all this time.

Exploring Access To Theatre 2016, Week 2

On Friday, July 29th 2016, Access To Theatre premiered it’s 2016 show at the Boston Center For The Arts “Cyclorama” called “More Than Just A Wish.” The show consisted of many various acts including singing, dancing, rapping and skits accompanied by a live band (which I was a member of this year 🙂 ). While the first week of the program consisted of group activities, the second week was when everyone had to focus the act they would perform for the show.

One of the activities the participants did during the first week, was a cartooning class taught by 14-year-old Allie Lu. She showed the participants how to create their own art style and demonstrated how to draw cartoons. I was in this class, and it was a very cool experience to have. In the past I’ve been to drawing classes before, and I used to draw a lot of my own characters when I was younger, but I never had the patience or fine motor skills to actually create my own hand drawn comic books. It was good to get back drawing again, and Allie was definitely an exceptional teacher.

Allie even drew pictures of each of the participants, peer leaders, mentors, and artists at ATT. This is the picture she drew of me:

Hand-drawn cartoon of Evan waving, with a thought-bubble saying "Evan"

(The head shape is scarily accurate, too).

***

Two years ago, when I first participated in Access To Theatre, I was amazed at how open, supportive, and highly motivated many of the people in the program were/are. From the participants, to the peer leaders, artists, PCAs, and everyone else in between, ATT was a vibrant community where people of various backgrounds and experiences can come together to create art and express themselves without feeling the pressures of day to day life. Two years later, this is still the case. While many of the faces I met were different than from two years ago, this culture I just described was the exact same one that I knew from before.

By the end of the first week, I interviewed many of the ATT staff to find out what makes ATT an important part of their careers and what they enjoyed about this year’s experience. Here are some of their answers:

Question 1: What does the program mean to you/impressions so far?

Gabby [Stage Manager]: One giant family, a welcoming family that allows one to grow and find themselves.

Tammy [Artist]: I think everyone should have the opportunity to express themselves through art. Especially with theater because, it’s like, it’s not always easy to find an outlet [for that{. It’s wonderful to see how it transforms people and how they can find their true self.

St. Su [Artist and Keeper of the “Groove Lounge” where participants can relax]: It means that I get to work with [some of] the most talented and creative human beings that I know and I get to help them create exactly what they want to put out.

Dell [Musician]: From the first time I stepped foot at ATT, I’ve been amazed at the willingness of the participants to step beyond their self limitation. It’s not an easy process but it’s [about] their willingness to push past their boundaries.

Sean [Assistant Stage Manager]: [It’s] a chance to use everything I’ve learned in college and school, it gives me a chance to encourage the arts. [It] feels like [being] a monument man.

Moe [Artistic Director for Movement and Dance]: It helped me find my creative voice, and the best part is coming full circle and helping other people find theirs.

Phil [PCA]: I think it’s really special to see people come into the program, and even if they’re shy or uncertain, it seems like the participation in the group helps people with expressing their personally. That’s the best part of this program, seeing people participate and make the group their own. That’s one of the big reasons we do it so people can make it their own and express themselves.

Kevin [volunteer guitarist for the band]: The program seems like a great way to express yourself creatively as an artist and not be judged for your ideas and thoughts.

Question 2: During the first week alone, what has been your favorite activity or activities you’ve seen the participants do?

Gabby: I really liked pass the story and I really liked all the movement stuff through dance and moving your body.

Tammy: When we played the knock knock joke game because everybody participated and they made it their own, and connected with each other.

St. Su: Making art. Working with one of the participants to visually express their vast range of emotions.

Dell: Seeing people musically and artistically how they express themselves and try new things. Seeing their fearlessness.

Sean: Experience with being an assistant manager for people with disabilities

Moe: My favorite activity is when two participants told me that they didn’t dance but they did chose to be in a dance. When they danced, the smile is very evident.

Phil: The first week, the growing week, introduction week, and all the things we did to get to a point where we have a show, the weeks works where people come in fresh getting to know each other and coming together to prepare for the show.

Kevin: My favorite activity so far has been rehearsing [one of the participant’s] song while watching [a peer leader] break dance to it. It shows how two different art forms can be connected.

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