Lawrence Boys and Girls Club


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Bread Loaf inspires creativity and confidence in Elements of Hip Hop conference

November 07, 2019

Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence (BGCL) youth members Ruthsmarie O. and Kiara M. both excitedly signed up for their first Bread Loaf creative writing and arts program last Saturday because of the theme, Elements of Hip Hop.

In fact, it was difficult for most of the 120 participants - primarily students in grades 6 to 12 - to choose between the six workshops led by leaders of the club's community partners: spoken word with Yaneris Collado and Urbanology; music production and dance with Movement City; graffiti with Elevated Thought; the art of rap with Nate Baez; and history of social justice with Genithia Lilia Hogges of Spark Academy.

Guest artist Febo opened the session with an exercise involving the entire group, in which he encouraged participants to write poems based on their strengths along with characteristics they are working to further develop.

"I come off as a very confident person, but on the inside, I'm a little bit nervous," admits 13-year-old Ruthsmarie, "so I want to be more brave." Kiara, a sixth grader, says, "I want to stand up for people, and for what's right."

After sharing their poems aloud, the girls both enjoyed the dance workshop in which they learned hip hop choreography to "Chun-Li" by Nicki Minaj. When one of their fellow students was too shy to perform her dance moves, Kiara says the group cheered its encouragement until the girl felt comfortable enough to continue.

"Dancing and meeting new friends was so much fun, and it was cool hearing everyone's different ideas from all the different workshop presentations," Ruthsmarie says. "I can't wait to do Bread Loaf again!"

Founded by Lou Bernier of Phillips Academy, Bread Loaf is in its twelfth year at BGCL. Karen Kravchuk, the club's director of education, expressed her gratitude to all the community partners whose time and talent made the sessions possible, in addition to the volunteers from Merrimack College who assisted throughout the event.

"They opened up a new world of expression for our youth members," Karen says, "and in the process, created a powerful message of hope."


Did You Know?

The Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence provides 350 meals nightly to children in need.