( ENSPIRE Community ) Youth in New York City Foster Care and Child Welfare Programs to Perform “Unstoppable, Tales From The Schoolyard”
The New York Foundling and Mott Haven Academy Charter School announced today that students will perform in a one-night-only musical UNSTOPPABLE, Tales from the Schoolyard on May 8, 2019, at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture. Students in Haven Kids Rock, the afterschool music program of Mott Haven Academy in the South Bronx, will harness the power of music and the performing arts to explore the themes of immigration, shelter, foster care, family, and more through the lens of their firsthand experiences growing up and coming of age in New York City. Many of the students in Haven Kids Rock are also involved in New York City’s child welfare and foster care systems, bringing their own personal experiences to the stage.
“UNSTOPPABLE is more than a musical; it’s a platform for young people to hone and harness their natural talent and tell their powerful stories in their own words,” said Bill Baccaglini, President and CEO of The New York Foundling. “We all have something to learn from the children of Haven Kids Rock, and it’s impossible to listen and watch their incredible performance without being moved to take action. Youth in New York City’s child welfare system deserve the best and brightest future we can offer them, and I encourage everyone to support them for this special one-night-only presentation.”
Haven Kids Rock was created by professional musicians Jimi K Bones (Blondie, Joan Jett, and Monday Night Football) and Nefertiti Jones, (Commercial Casting Director, Musician/VH1, New Yorker of the Week) with the belief that music and the arts are impactful mediums to lift up young voices and impart technical, critical, and analytical skills. The program directors and student participants developed UNSTOPPABLE as an original musical in 2017 based on the real-life experiences of the school’s student population. The show follows the lives of six street-smart kids as they navigate their way through the challenges of foster care at the intersection of pressing issues facing New York City today, including poverty, class, displacement, family, and more.
“UNSTOPPABLE combines, the magical wonderment of the Broadway shows Matilda, with nods to Annie and the grit and pop culture of Hamilton and American Idiot.UNSTOPPABLE is sure to appeal to a wide range of music lovers,” said Jimi K Bones, co-founder of Haven Kids Rock.
This year, Tony and Olivier Award-winning producer Judith Ann Abrams (Kinky Boots, Spring Awakening, Come From Away, Tootsie, etc.) has joined the producing team of the musical UNSTOPPABLE. Judith also founded the famed family musical company The Broadway Pixie Troupe, sponsored by composer Richard Rodgers. Her work in introducing theater to children of inner-city communities won her three Certificates of Appreciation from three New York City mayors.
“This timely show deserves to go on beyond this engagement because these talented kids teach us that we can overcome anything with dreams, hope, and sheer courage. They are indeed unstoppable,” said Judith Abrams. “UNSTOPPABLE, Tales from the Schoolyard,” brings me back to the world I love best at a time when we desperately need to hear the message kids have to share with us.”
Mott Haven Academy Charter School is the nation’s first and only school designed to meet and address the unique educational challenges of youth in the child welfare system. Founded in 2008, Haven Academy serves 400 students from Pre-K through 7th grade in the South Bronx: one-third of the students are in foster care, one third are involved with a foster care prevention program, and one third reside in one of the nation’s most impoverished congressional districts, Mott Haven. Haven Academy operates with the understanding that children who have faced trauma, abuse and neglect have unique educational challenges that traditional schools cannot address – such an unstable home life, poor nutrition, lack of health care, absent or incarcerated parents. The school’s curriculum and full-scale support for students provides a unique understanding of these challenges and focuses on getting each student ready to learn, and the school’s specially trained and highly committed teachers are able to call upon resources such as social workers who know the child’s family situation, healthcare and nutritional services and social services support for entire families when necessary.
About The New York Foundling
At The New York Foundling, we trust in the potential of people, and we deliberately invest in proven practices. From bold beginnings in 1869, our New York-based nonprofit has supported a quarter million neighbors on their own paths to stability, strength, and independence.
The New York Foundling’s internationally-recognized set of social services are both proven and practical. We help children and families navigate through and beyond foster care. We help families struggling with conflict and poverty to grow stronger. We help individuals with differing abilities live their best lives, and we help children and families access quality health and mental health services—core to building lifelong resilience and wellbeing.
For more information please visit: www.nyfoundling.org & www.havenacademy.org