Our Blog | In The Mix
On Hip Hop and Hope
This past Thursday, the Balancing The Scales Program, of The Mix at Arbor Place and Lancaster Bible College were able to host two-time Grammy nominated artist, educator, author and youth mentor Brady "Phanatik" Goodwin. Brady spent the morning speaking on the impact of today's social issues on the church to students at Lancaster Bible College and then joined the staff of The Mix at Arbor Place for a televised talk show to discuss Restorative Justice Reform and Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC), which refers to the disproportionate number of minority youth who come into contact with the juvenile justice system. The day's activities concluded with a community conversation on "The Death of Hip Hop, Marriage, and Morals" with Brady at the Trust Performing Arts Center. This particular event was attended by college students, elected officials, juvenile probation officers, Mix at Arbor Place students, community activists,and judges. The event demonstrated Brady's ability to engage the youngest middle school student to the College professor in attendance. Brady provided a "historical case study" on the culture of Hip Hop that was intertwined with historical facts, current events, biblical truths, and hip hop anecdotes while asking all in attendance to reflect and be challenged on Brady's rap lyric "Violence is the language of the unheard but quiet is the language of the unnerved and uncompassionate. I'm not endorsing either extreme but it seems to be a false choice and I'm just a voice that's unmasking it..."
Brady's words throughout the day prompted a moment of pause and reflection in our own personal lives and how they connect with today's "trending topics". In my moment of reflection I was reminded and encouraged by a time in my life that I would love to share with you.
Several years ago (actually many years ago) a much younger me (actually a very younger me) walked into a dilapidated youth center building on North Street known as Arbor Place and met a young rapper from Philadelphia by the name of Phanatik (now Brady Goodwin). It was the first time that I'd have ever heard the Gospel presented in rap form and it was the first time that Phanatik had ventured outside of his neighborhood and home church to present this new, urban genre away from his comfort zone. Little did we suspect that three different entities would cross paths throughout the years and become advocates for young people. Brady, Luis and the Mix at Arbor Place have secured the foundation in their mission to promote the Gospel to the young people of Lancaster City but now all three entities intersect again and have grown to address the social responsibility and justice issues that impact young people today. Brady is blessed with the opportunity to speak all over the country and develop a curriculum for schools that addresses many of the urban issues that teens face. I am blessed to lead an organization, The Mix at Arbor Place that prepares and equips young people to be leaders in their community. Amazing how things come full circle and now together (at least for one day), we address social issues while being the light of Jesus to an urban culture. Poverty, Economic Growth opportunities, judicial reform, increase of self-worth and many other topics that impact our community kids are at the forefront of everything we at The Mix do.
Many years ago a chance meeting with a young rapper at Arbor Place motivated and inspired me to be myself and breakaway from the cookie-cutter templates of negative peer pressure and to be a light in my community to effectively bring about change. And I'd like to think that a young Brady was motivated and inspired to not conform to the ways of expectancy and be a catalyst for change and innovation. As I watch the kids at The Mix today engaged in Acting Classes, Freestyle Friday Sessions, attempting to play our special guests in a game of wheelchair basketball, study in our homework program, play tennis or sign up for our photography classes I wonder how many "chance meetings" with their peers also at The Mix will result in lives forever intersecting to bring about change and hope in our communities.
-Luis Torres, Executive Director
Reflection from Intern Allison
Interning at The Mix has been an amazing experience! Getting a chance to bond with the students is such a great feeling; the students are so excited to come to The Mix every day and participate in the activities and see the staff members and I believe that speaks a great deal about what we do. Starting as a volunteer 2 years ago and becoming a full time intern has given me a great chance to watch many of the students learn and grow.
-Allison Nagler, Volunteer Coordination Intern
Chess is Awesome: A Reflection from Mr. Patrick
On November 10th, I showed up to teach the weekly after school chess class at La Academia charter school to find that only three participating students were in school that day. Although I was saddened by the absences of other students, this was inarguably the perfect situation to test run our newly purchased 4-player chessboard. All 3 students were excited for me to play against them, but little did they know how giddy with excitement I was. Our gameplay was astonishingly intense; there was very minimal conversation throughout the 45 straight minutes of our unfinished game. I was amazed at the level of sustained concentration displayed by the students, many of who have varying learning disabilities. Fearing that the 4-player game was potentially too intricate for their current abilities and that it caused unnecessary frustration, I asked the students if they would prefer to switch back to my old method of chess lessons that relied upon focusing piece by piece in a much slower and structured setting.
My fears could not have been more wrong. All 3 students had an immense amount of fun and told me that their favorite aspect was learning how to meet the challenge of the game by diving into it head first and figuring it out through their own failures and successes. Sure, I have reworded their excitement a bit, but it is very clear that I was witnessing significant cognitive expansion and the cultivation of formative passions right in front of me. Before we parted ways, the 3 students assured me that they all “needed” a 4-player board for Christmas or their upcoming birthday so that they could play at home with their cousins, siblings, and parents. This holistic experience, the fostering of curiosity and enthusiasm, the collaborative locating of the sweet spot between fun and intellectual rigor, this is why integrative after-school programming is so beautifully formative.
Pat Montgomery, Chess Program Facilitator
Summer Food Program Reflection
This summer, the kitchen at The Mix has been hopping! Mr. Dexter and I have been working hard to prepare nutritious meals for campers and kids in the community. Food security can oftentimes be a struggle during the summer months when school is not in session. We have partnered with The Summer Food Service Program to provide these free nutrition meals to aid in our mission of serving kids in the community.
One of my favorite parts about summer is creating delicious meals using produce from local farmers markets or even my own garden! The Mix has also partnered with the community garden at King Elementary school to harvest and utilize the produce for our summer meals. Each week I take a few campers to the garden where we learn about different types of produce, techniques for cooking and gardening in general. We even pick a few vegetables to take home with us. We also have 2 small garden beds out behind The Mix that is currently sprouting green beans, tomatoes and zucchini. The kids love seeing how different vegetables can be prepared and served for our lunches; we most recently sautéed zucchini and onions in oil to create a delicious side item.
Below I have included one of my all-time favorite recipes to create using producing from the garden. It is easy, quick and super refreshing especially during the summer months. Serve it with some crackers, add it to pita bread, mix it in with a salad or eat it just the way it is. I’m sure this dish will be a hit at your next summer BBQ. Enjoy!
-Carly Leitzel, Summer Food Program Associate
2 ears of fresh corn (kernels cut off the cob)
1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
½ large onion or 1 small onion
1 red pepper
¼ cup of lime juice
¼ cup of chopped cilantro
Pepper (to taste)
2 tomatoes (diced)
Chop (into pieces) the onion, red pepper and cilantro
Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together. Place in refrigerator to chill.
If choosing to include avocado, do not add into mixture until ready to serve and eat
A Reflection on Bravery and Brave New Voices
I had the privilege of spending a few days in Atlanta with our poets at Brave New Voices (BNV). It’s been such a joy watching these five young women grow over the past few years, and BNV was a culmination of so much hard work. Brave New Voices lives up to it’s name, it is about so much bravery. There are so many inspiring young people sharing their stories. I am so proud of our poets for getting up on stage and bearing their souls with complete strangers. The team has put so much hard work and dedication into crafting their lines, expressions, and intonation. The payoff came as the audience members snapped and clapped along, waiting on every word. BNV isn’t about the points, it’s about the poetry. And our students should be extremely proud of how they presented themselves.
As I flew back to Harrisburg yesterday I was immersed in a biographical graphic novel on another brave person: baseball great Roberto Clemente. In the text this quote from the author struck me in relation to our team of poets: “early on I learned excellence can be achieved if you care more than others think is wise, risk more than others think is safe, dream more than others think is practical, and expect more than others think is possible”. To our poets: Keep caring, risking, dreaming, and expecting. Keep being brave and courageous. I am so proud of you.
-Jeremy Raff, Assistant Executive Director
WGAL Highlights Poetry Team Headed to Atlanta
WGAL was kind enough to highlight We Rock the Mic, The Mix at Arbor Place's spoken word poetry program, right before the group headed to Atlanta. Students will participate in Brave New Voices, the world's largest spoken word poetry festival.
Dance at The Mix
HUGE shout out to the dance team for coming in yesterday on their day off of school to rehearse from 9:00-3:00! We had an amazing practice! Our team starts and ends every session in prayer. I normally ask if anyone on the team wants to pray. Sometimes they raise their hands and sometimes they do not, so then I lead them in prayer. This morning as we started practice one of the elementary girls raised her hand and said she wanted to pray but didn't know how (my heart melted). Two of the other girls jumped in (without any prompting from me) and told her that it is just like you are talking to God (again my heart was touched). We decided that I would pray and this girl would repeat after me in prayer. It was amazing! To wrap up the story I can not leave out the fact that before I could even ask, she was jumping up and down at the end of class because she wanted to be the one to pray before we left. And she wanted to pray by herself! Very humbling experience!
To our donors, thank you for making this class financially possible for our dance team. Your support allows us to reach our larger purpose of sharing Jesus with our youth. To our parents, thank you for entrusting your children into my care. It means more than you know. To our staff, thank you for jumping in to help when needed and being another set of eyes as we work on choreography. Last, to the dance team, thank you for working hard and giving it all you have!
-Miss Shannon Windle
Two Grants Awarded to The Mix at Arbor Place by Lancaster County Community Foundation
The Mix at Arbor Place is proud to receive two grants from the Lancaster County Community Foundation. These grants, totaling $14,725, will be used to increase organizational capacity and provide additional programming. $9,725 was awarded through the Capacity Building Fund. This specific grant will be utilized to create a three year strategic plan with the help of a consultant. For the second year in a row Arbor Place was selected as an ‘A-Ha Seed Fund’ recipient. This $5,000 grant will fund Remixed Studio, a recording arts program with a focus on skill development and business training.
PAL Archery Kicks Off
We take pride in providing truly unique programs for Lancaster City's kids. This week we launched archery classes at The Mix! This is one of our first PAL programs and we couldn't think of a cooler way to start out. The program is sponsored by Lancaster Archery Supply,a worldwide leader in archery goods. Lancaster Archery is even supplying Arbor Place with their staff to teach introductory classes. Archery teaches students patience and discipline as they focus on hitting the target. There are lots of great connections with reaching goals!