Concert raises funds for youth employment program
by Sara Krevoy
Jul 28, 2020 | 10070 views | 0 0 comments | 1219 1219 recommendations | email to a friend | print
For its premiere virtual performance, Bed-Stuy-based Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation will host “Raising Our Voices for Black Youth Benefit Concert” on Thursday, July 30.

Co-produced by Asase Yaa and URNYC Media Productions, the event is aimed at fundraising for an upcoming Youth Summer Employment Initiative.

All proceeds contribute toward a $50,000 goal, which will be used to employ 20 teens to work at the foundation, as well as its 14th annual Children's Summer Arts Camp.

Crowdfunding for the program began on June 8, and donations will be accepted at or by texting ‘YSEI’ to 1-844-844-6844 until August 15. As of Sunday morning, the campaign had raised more than $5,600.

The concert is set to broadcast live at 8 p.m. on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, featuring 45 minutes of performances emceed by R&B artist Amma Whatt.

The evening’s lineup includes the Asase Yaa Youth Ensemble, African Djembe group Farafina Kan Next Generation, musician Kofi Hunter, rapper Kudonyc and hip-hop dance troupe Illstyle & Peace from Philadelphia.

Audiences will enjoy additional video presentations from successful professionals in the entertainment industry, such as Hot 97’s Shani Kulture, dynamic actress Shahadi Wright Joseph, and Vianka Winborne, an alumni of the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theater who has performed with the likes of Drake and Sean Paul.

“We're extremely grateful for the talented young artists who have volunteered their time and energy to a cause which is very dear to our heart and community," said Asase Yaa’s executive director Osei Williams.

He noted that many of the teens use the wages earned at summer jobs to supplement their household incomes.

“In these harrowing economic times,” Williams continued, “we feel an obligation to use our voices to uplift our community and give our youth hope and optimism about their future.”

Throughout the summer employment program, participants will learn the ins and outs of operating a nonprofit, like budget forecasting, event planning and conducting research, while at the same time making career-building strides by receiving resume development training.

Teens will also support the foundation’s six-week Children’s Summer Arts Camp, which attracts nearly 100 local youth each year.

With the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program emaciated by budget constraints and public health concerns, Asase Yaa seeks to fill a void for its constituency, many of whom hail from communities hit hardest by COVID-19.

The program is designed to empower young New Yorkers of color, providing them with valuable employment opportunities.

“We have always believed and understood that if we invest in our children, we will grow a powerful community,” said Rubie Inez Williams, director of operations at Asase Yaa. “It takes a village to raise a child.”
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