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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Music Explorers

Tonight I spent 2 hours volunteering with New York Cares and worked on a project called Music Explorers with Henry Street Settlement. I didn't quite know what to expect and the crappy rainy weather and long walk on the Lower East Side all made me nervous. (Oh, that, and that I got a text from a cute boy I met over the weekend.)

There were about 8 of us volunteers and maybe 10-12 kids all together. The Team Leader was a feisty, musical theater nerd who brought her Casio keyboard. Today was just an introduction day. We made ourselves nametags and talked about our favorite types of music. The kid I paired up with was an 8-year-old named Tyshawn. He wrote his name very carefully and then drew a picture of 50 Cent because his favorite music is rap. Then I asked him if he'd save it forever and the Team Leader compelled me to autograph it...which seemed to endlessly excite Tyshawn, who boasted it about it to the rest of the group. I said it'd be worth a lot of money one day and he said he would never sell it. Too sweet.

The majority of the time spent today involved each of us going around and saying our names and the type of music we liked best (with a gesture) and then repeating the others' information around the circle, like a memory game. Tyshawn popped his hood, and I pretended to play piano because I couldn't decide what my favorite type of music was but I do love that instrument. Tyshawn caught on super fast, asked lots of questions, sang along, remembered everyone's name and danced around. Somehow I had paired up with the most outgoing kid there! It was inspiring.

We chatted at downtime. He has 7 brothers and sisters. His birthday is June 12, 1998(!); his favorite food is pizza and his favorite subject is writing. I told him I liked to write too. He writes about his family, and the last thing he wrote about them was that "his mom makes him happy when he's sad."

When I left, I went up to him to say goodbye, and he called after me before I left the room. I will definitely go back. Next week, I think the Leader will have the kids write their own raps.

1 comment:

Rachiewrites said...

What a night for you, Annie! All that good stuff at once--how great to bond so quickly with this cool 8-year-old. I can't wait to hear more about your project. And then, like a punch in the gut, Melinda goes home on AI--too shocking to imagine! Since this was so unexpected, I might as well predict that Blake will win it all.