P r o d u c e d b y t h e Yo u t h o f H a r l e m R B I
Volume 16 Issue 1 Spring 2007

Become a Believer in TLC:
Harlem RBI’s Teen Life Center
By Clement Butler Everyone has been asking the question, “What is TLC?” Is it that old school group with Chili, Left Eye and T-Boz? So I went in search for the answer. The journey led me to the TLC office located on the other side of the Harlem RBI offices. I got a chance to sit down with two members of the TLC staff to ask them the burning question: “What is TLC?” Clement Butler: I would like to spend a few minutes getting to know you and TLC. So my first two questions are “who are you and what is TLC?” Kelly Adams: I am the Director of TLC— the Teen Life Center. I have been with Harlem RBI since May of 2006. My role is to help assist our youth in becoming healthier, emotionally and socially. I work primarily with youth ages 12 to 18, but I sometimes work with youth in the REAL Kids Program, too. Bernadette Jackson: I am the Social Work Intern from New York University School for Social Work. I am working on my Masters Degree in Social Work. This is my first field work internship experience. I started my internship in September, 2006. CB: What are social workers? BJ: Social workers are people who help other people overcome their obstacles and help them obtain the services they need. KA: Here at Harlem RBI, social workers are like life coaches. We coach a student through their issues so that they will become better people, healthier friends and more productive teammates. CB: What are some of the myths about social work? BJ: One of the myths is that only kids that have problems talk to social workers and that social workers try to get you in trouble. KA: Some people believe that we take children away from their families, but we don’t. Your safety is very important to us. So if you are being harmed in anyway, we are obligated to make sure that you are far from danger. Also, many people do not realize that there are many different types of Social Workers. For example: Child and Family Services, Medical Hospitals, School Social Workers, Corporate Social Workers (Human Resource), Public Health Social Workers, Mental Health Social Workers, Substance Abuse Social Workers, Policy Makers, Planners, etc. Your safety is very important to us. So if you are being harmed in anyway, we are obligated to make sure that you are far from danger. CB: What are some of the services that you provide? KA: We provide one-on-one counseling, group counseling, and family counseling. We are also people that youth can talk to about anything they have on their minds. We refer families to other agencies, such as Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center, when they need more support. We also have a special program called HUSH. HUSH stands for Harlem RBI Youth Understanding Sexual Health. This program is important to me because some of our youth are having sex and not protecting themselves. I believe that we have an obligation to help teens understand the myths about sex as well as teach them pregnancy and disease prevention. We provide a safe space for teens to come and talk to us about any sexual health issue they have. We also provide condoms to those youth who have attended a Harlem RBI Safe Sex Workshop. Harlem RBI teens are also working with Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel to put together a Public Service Announcement on Safe Sex. So look for us in a few months. Maybe one of our youth will be discovered and win an Oscar. You never know. We also have a girls group called “ASPIRE”—Amazing Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence. This group helps girls affirm their gifts, discover their own power, develop their talents and share their wisdom. Oh yeah, and of course we have lots of fun.

From the Director:
In Our 16th Year, Harlem RBI Continues To Grow And Change
By Richard Berlin

As Harlem RBI enters its 16th season of playing, learning and growing on the field and in the classroom, the watchwords for the organization have a familiar ring: Growth and Change. For those of you who have followed the organization closely in recent years, you know that our evolution—from a small grassroots effort to an established and wellknown professional service provider—is speeding up. Powered by an increasingly talented and experienced staff and a fast growing set of supporters, Harlem RBI may look from the outside to be a very different place than it was three ago when we commenced our last strategic review. At that time, Harlem RBI’s leadership was struggling to define and achieve a more ambitious set of outcomes, staff and volunteers were learning to work together in new ways as the organization further professionalized services, and children and families were adjusting to Harlem RBI being a consistent year-round presence in their lives. With most of these tasks and key goals from the 2004 planning process attained, however, Harlem RBI is now looking for the next mountain to climb. This spring and summer, all Harlem RBI stakeholders will engage in a new planning process and will ask some audacious new questions. We will be looking at the growing array of services the organization provides and ask how we can better achieve our mission by opening a school for East Harlem students. We will develop a timetable for codifying Harlem RBI services and ask if this might lead to possible program replication. And we will confront the issue of gentrification in our community and ask if in fact Harlem RBI’s long-term future will be sustainable on and around East 100th Street. These are big and somewhat scary questions, to be sure, but Harlem RBI’s recent progress has prepared us to imagine answers that are full of hope. Amidst all this growth and change, our interior stays the same. Families still come to Harlem RBI because it is safe, caring and positive place for children. Board, staff and volunteers come because they find meaning and community in their shared work. And all of us have fun while we are at it. Keep that last item—fun—in mind as the season goes on this year. Make a point of coming out to the ballpark and experiencing it for yourself, and while you are at it, witness all the ways we are still the same, and all the possibility in the ways that we continue to grow and change.
Richard Berlin is the Executive Director of Harlem RBI.

CB: What impact do you believe TLC has had on Harlem RBI so far? KA: I believe we are helping the staff and the students understand the importance of mental health. I believe that because Harlem RBI is not a traditional mental health agency, teens are not afraid to come and talk to us about deep stuff. BJ: I believe TLC has a big impact on Harlem RBI because students need someone to talk to who gives them a way to feel good. We also want to give people factual information on mental health. CB: What are some of the problems students come to you with? BJ: Peer pressure, image, depression, anger, sexual health questions, being accepted, the different aspects of popularity and healthy friendships. KA: They also talk to us about future goals, family issues, self-esteem and empowerment. Some teens want to hear from a trustworthy adult that they can do it. They want to hear that they don’t have to be a statistic and that they don’t have to settle for less then their best. We help teens find their power. CB: How are students referred to TLC? BJ: When staff thinks a student should talk to someone about issues that come up in their life, then a staff person fills out the referral form and gives it to a TLC member. KA: Students can also refer themselves or their friends and a family member can request a counseling session.

CB: Is one-on-one counseling optional or mandatory? KA: It is both. There are times when a student’s issue is hindering them from succeeding with Harlem RBI so this makes it mandatory. But most of the time, students have the option of coming to us. When is a person able to talk about themselves uninterrupted? This is a youth’s chance to get the attention they sometimes secretly desire. CB: What surprises you most about the teens you work with? BJ: What surprises me is how open they are to changing their situations. KA: I think that they all want positive attention; they want to be heard, needed and listened to. So before I sat there with Kelly and Bernadette, I too believed that counseling was only for people with problems. I thought that I could never benefit from a counseling experience. I was wrong. These women are amazing. They really want the best for us. They are down to earth. They are willing to open their door and hearts to any youth who walks in. I learned that deep down inside, we all have a little bit of crazy in us. Well, I’m a believer in TLC, are you?
Clement Butler is a 16-year-old player on the Harlem RBI Monarchs. He attends Cardinal Hayes High School.

Kelly Adams and Bernadette Jackson

Harlem RBI's REAL Kids Program is the 2007 recipient of the James Patterson Pageturner Award!

Youth Share Changes The Community: Up Front and Behind the Scenes
By Chantell Love, Stephanie Moody and Valerie Salas If you had the chance, would you take it? Well, Youth Share sure is taking a chance. “What chance?” you ask. The chance to impact our community. Now, you may be wondering how a group of students can help. Keep reading. The Harlem RBI TeamWorks Youth Share Program is both a community service group and a learning experience. We first learned about a particular community issue. We then decided on how we would deal with the issue. What’s great about the group is that we were able to come up with our own project ideas. We conducted a walk-through of the community and found the 103rd Street subway station to be the one of greatest concerns to us. At the subway station, the smell of corrosion and death filled the air. Garbage was thrown everywhere. This included empty beer cans, cigarette butts, puddles of urine and the usual trash discarded by passengers. Now we know why people are so rude on the subways. They made notes and discussed our findings together. Some people were not that excited about doing this project in the beginning. But slowly, they began to think otherwise. Some of us do not like to write or talk much, but there were so many jobs in the project that we found something we could help with that kept us interested like spending time in programming either using the camera to capture our moments together or to develop the look of our brochure. The brochure is our final project. We want to have materials that we can share with others that not only highlight our experience but gives information to others as well. We learned that doing community service is not always about the hands-on work. It is sometimes the behind-the-scenes letter-writing and phones calls that can make a big difference.
Chantell Love, Stephanie Moody and Valerie Salas are players on the Saints team and have been in Harlem RBI for over 10 years combined.

Harlem RBI's Youth Share participants are making a difference in the East Harlem community.

are frustrated with what they have to deal with. As a group, we discussed the steps that needed to be taken in order for us to exe-

cute our goals of creating awareness of station conditions and getting it improved. We observed the train station to see what needed to be improved. We took pictures,

Coaches in Training:The Future of Harlem RBI
By Steven Padilla and Jason Perez The CIT Program so far this year has been running smoothly and has been very fun for the coaches and the kids. For those of you who do not know, CIT stands for Coaches in Training. It is one of the Harlem RBI TeamWorks programs in which high school youth from Harlem RBI teach children, ages 8 to 12, the basic fundamentals of baseball. The clinics happen every Monday and Thursday at Union Settlement’s gym on 104th Street for an hour and a half in the evenings. This is when all the fun begins! Starting the practice with a quick warm-up lap, the high school youth then have the kids circle up and stretch out before beginning the drills. After the stretches, we split the kids up into three groups and start the drills. Some of these drills include ground balls, fly balls, hitting, throwing and pitching. We also have a few special drills that we do with the kids, including the fourcorner drill, suicides, circle drill and others that we create. After a hard day of drills, we cool down and begin an activity that we think the kids would have fun with. We have played run down, freeze tag and a few other fun games. After completing all of this, we round the kids up and ask each child if they had fun and what certain part of the day they liked the most. Finally, we all come together and shout out “Teamwork!” which ends our day. CIT is a great program that we enjoy being part of. Yes, the children can cause some stress at times, but it is all worth it at the end. We hope that CIT this year will have one of its most successful years.
Steven Padilla and Jason Perez are members of the Harlem RBI Pride. They are freshmen honor roll students at All Hallows High School in the Bronx and are true student athletes.

Admiring an Author: Sister Soulja
By Sade Henderson Sister Soulja was born in the Bronx, New York in 1964. She grew up with her mother in the projects but soon broke out of the vicious cycle of poverty by focusing on her education. Sister Soulja always had good grades and throughout her school years was awarded several honors. She studied American history, especially African-American studies which were sometimes left out of her school’s curriculum. She attended the Cornell University Advanced Placement Program. She also studied at the University of Salamanca in Europe. As a global student, Sister Soulja traveled throughout her college years to Spain, Portugal, Finland, Russia and England. The accomplishments she made academically were reinforced by her experience working first hand in a medical center in Zimbabwe. Sister Soulja also created, financed and implemented the African American Youth Survival Camp. It was successful for three consecutive years. She rallied against police brutality, racially motivated crimes and the lack of strong education for urban youth. Sister Soulja promoted and produced several outdoor rallies and concerts. Each of these concerts drew nearly 30,000 youth. The rallies took place in Harlem, New York. Popular bands and hip-hop artists performed at these events. Sister Soulja is the author of national Book Award winner The Coldest Winter Ever, which was also a New York Times bestseller. In addition to being a writer, Sister Soulja has spoken from many platforms, including television and the radio, in order to reach the hip-hop audience about culture, business, social organization and politics. In conclusion, Sister Soulja is an activist, rapper, author, organizer and a community servant.
Sade Henderson is currently playing, learning and growing with the Ravens softball team after several strong years with the REAL Kids program. She is an incredibly diligent and inquisitive 7th grade student at Central Park East Middle School who is working hard to achieve her goal of someday attending an excellent college.

Jasmine Ortiz and Leeann Rosa facilitate a CIT workshop.


Harlem RBI

Volume 16 Issue 1

Stocks are Not Only Traded on Wall Street
By Aminata Sesay and Stephanie Negron In New York City, people are all about money and making sure their time isn’t being wasted. Way up yonder in Manhattan is a group of aspiring businessmen and businesswomen who are part of a group called the Young Entrepreneur Program. They are the same way. In this Harlem RBI TeamWorks program, we learn about the basics of investing, stocks and how to make a profit. Recently, we took a trip to the New York Mercantile Exchange and got to see how it looks on the floor of a real stock exchange. The floor of the exchange is where the investors buy and sell shares of commodities from 9 am to 2:30 pm. It was very hectic on the floor with lots of people, excitement and more noise than you would expect. Can you imagine that even to get a seat at the floor you have to pay millions of dollars? But, it is all part of a much bigger investment. In the TYE Program we are making investments of our own as part of the New York City Stock Market Game. There are four Harlem RBI investment teams with the names: Harlem RBI Investors, Coach Investments, Universal Investors, and 2 MUCH. Currently, Universal Investors is in first place out of 74 teams in the New York City Stock Market Game. We learned that big business is very risky because you could either make or lose profit quickly. The keys to being successful in business are: knowing about the business that you are in, having a positive attitude, paying attention to details and being able to multi-task. Through this program, we have learned a lot about the careers we want when we grow up. Be on the lookout for the future movers and shakers in business!
Aminata Sesay and Stephanie Negron are both 14 years old and play for the Harlem RBI Angels. Aminata is a freshman at Manhattan Village Academy and is interested in the business of the fashion industry. Stephanie is a freshman at Martin Luther King High with career aspirations in law or medicine.
Youth in Harlem RBI's TYE Program visiting the New York Mercantile Exchange.

TeamWorks Creates the “Gang Prevention for Youth” Group
By Orleny Silverio “No. I’m irresponsible, lazy, shy…plus I’m not interested.” This was my answer when Harlem RBI Program Coordinator Saran Shields was trying to convince me to join a program this summer. The program was all about developing facilitation skills. Saran wanted to help us with our writing and speaking skills. The fact that facilitating is the art of speaking in front of an audience (that most of the time will be strangers) intimidates me. But on the other hand, this was a great opportunity to develop my skills that will help improve my performance in school. So I gave it a try. The first week, I was very nervous, but some of my teammates were there too, which to be honest, made me feel more comfortable. The first week, Saran gave us activities so we could get to know each other better. We started working on our group identity. The fun thing about working on our group identity was that we had the freedom to choose our topic and group name. G.P. 4.Y. was the group name we chose. It stands for Gang Prevention for Youth. We chose to be identified as a group of youth facilitators that organizes meetings and workshops to educate other youth about the consequences of affiliating with a gang. I felt great. I felt that I was making a difference in my community and actually doing something that would benefit my

Running a Workshop Is Not So Wack
By Daniel Ramos Yo! At first, I thought that Facilitator’s Corner was going to be wack. All we were going to do was go to this TeamWorks activity and pick a topic we want to talk about and an age group to explain the topic to. Fortunately, I did not quit this program because it turned out that the topic we are working on is of interest to me. There are a lot of kids out there who do not know anything about STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). My group is creating a Workshop that explains to youth about STDs—their symptoms, where to go for testing and how to use condoms. I feel that youth, many not even in their teens yet, are having sex without all the facts. I feel that it is important to share the knowledge that I have with others. Actually, talking about this topic is more enjoyable than me staying home to watch Sponge Bob. There are lots of youth who are misinformed and I want to be able to give these youth more information. I have a younger brother and it is important to me that he is able to come to me for information on this subject rather than just going out there and making misinformed decisions. In starting off, it was difficult for me to learn how to walk into a room and make my presence known. This was difficult because I was not used to making formal appearances. It is not every day that I have to present myself while being aware that all eyes are on me. It was helpful for me to see how my hand gestures, body language, facial expressions and eye contact affected the audience. Before, I would walk into a room without giving much thought about how my presence could impact a room full of people. Now that I have been a part of Facilitator’s Corner, I came into the room and make a statement about my abilities. I also learned how to create an agenda, which to me was like creating a checklist of the activities that needed to happen during my workshop. This was helpful because without an agenda, I would be lost. I would be left with several questions. What happens in the beginning? What must I do after a break? How should I end the workshop? With an agenda, not only will I have a written plan but it will also help me to stay on task and run a smooth workshop. Agendas are also helpful when there is a specific time frame which must be followed. Now that I am aware of the power of presence and have learned the importance of having an agenda, not to mention that repetition helps, I feel that I am ready to present in front of a live audience. I anticipate that I will feel a bit nervous, but I tend to think about public speaking the same way I would think about my track meets. Whenever I get ready to compete, I get nervous. Even though I have competed in these meets many times, I still feel tense. So I’m sure I will feel the same way while facilitating my very first workshop. Luckily for me, I will not only have my agenda prepared, but I will also have my co-facilitators to help me. Even though learning how to be a facilitator is not the most exciting thing, it is helpful and has allowed me to better present myself as a respectful young man and not just some street kid.
Daniel Ramos is a 15-year-old player for the Monarchs. He attends Norman Thomas High School.

Johanna Branagan practices her facilitation skills.

peers. My teammates and I studied indepth the gangs, not only in New York but in the country. We also read interesting books about gang members’ lives and watched documentaries. Saran invited police officers to increase our knowledge of gangs. By the time the programs came to an end, I noticed a big difference in myself. I was not only able to express myself better, but I had more confidence to go with it. The Facilitators Program had reached its goal. I improved my writing, speaking and overall presence. I cannot get enough of this program. That’s why I signed up again this school year. Now we are working on developing workshops on peer pressure and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The workshop will be for our peers as well as junior high school students. I am looking forward to presenting at least two activities in the peer pressure workshop. I’m still nervous about speaking in front of an audience, but I have experience and have learned how to deal with it. This year I would like my facilitation skills to improve a lot more. I feel this will be possible since I have a slight edge over the other students in this year’s program. Too bad they didn’t know about this program last year.
Orleny Silverio is 16 years old and attends LaGuardia High School

Saran Shields, a Harlem RBI Program Coordinator, helps Ariel Pena with his presentation.

Spring 2007

Harlem RBI


Narcisa Nunez Learns There Is No Better Way How To Succeed at College To Learn Than Experience
By Narcisa Núñez What will I do for the rest of my life? That is how my senior year in high school started at Richard R. Green High School of Teaching. I figured I would go to college, work and get good grades. I didn’t realize how difficult this would be without help. My freshman year in college, I learned enough to know that I didn’t know much. I found myself struggling to stay in school, and I did not have much help there. With the help of one organization and a few people, I was able to make the changes needed to get my education and my life back on track. As a child, I always looked forward to going to college. While in high school, I decided I wanted to choose a career that would mean something more to me than money. After thinking about it thoroughly, I decided that I wanted to become a lawyer. I became very focused in school and on my goals. I was the first in my family to graduate high school and the first to attend college. This was no longer just about me; I was representing everyone’s dream of success and I was living for my grandmother’s purpose of immigrating to the USA from the Dominican Republic years ago. Education was more than a degree to me; it was a way of life. I knew I couldn’t let my family down, and I also had to meet my own expectations. I planned on going to college however and wherever I could. Applying for college was exciting. There were so many options to choose from. It seemed the opportunities were endless. Everyone in high school had a counselor assigned to them who helped them out with their school applications and financial aid forms. We were taught to apply to local schools that would accept us by default, state schools and our dream school. Everything was done in one month and we waited for our results as we planned our senior trip. Eventually I was excited to find out that I was accepted into my dream school, St. John’s University. During our meetings, my counselor must have forgotten to mention private loans. My dream school turned out to be a nightmare. In between commuting and struggling to pay the rest of my tuition, I couldn’t find the fun in being a first-year student. Not aware of my options, I chose to remain another semester. This only made things worse. My grades began to suffer and I began to lose my thirst for knowledge. In search of an escape, I chose to join Harlem RBI and play my favorite game—softball. Little did I know this was going to be more than a ballgame. Joining Harlem RBI gave me the feeling of belonging I didn’t experience in school. Playing ball helped me release stress and I began to feel positive. I slowly discovered the many advantages of being a part of Harlem RBI aside from great coaching. I got great advice from the program staff. They helped me see the many options available to me in terms of my education and in life. Thanks to their help, I was able to decide to leave St. John’s University and look into more affordable state schools. I began my transfer application with the help of former Senior Program Coordinator, Ain Grooms. I was eventually accepted to Buffalo State College, where I am currently attending as a Criminal Justice major. I am now gaining the college experience I was hoping to get my freshman year. Without the stress of struggling to pay my tuition, I can now fully enjoy my college career. Harlem RBI played a major role in this part of my life. Harlem RBI has not just helped me with my education. It has also helped me grow as a person and has taught me to be a professional. The coaches at Harlem RBI helped me become a better person by helping me reach my goals. Harlem RBI’s Baseball/Softball Director Vince Coleman taught me to not give up—on and off the field. His commitment to all the players and his advice helped me stay focused despite all the obstacles. Senior Program Coordinator Kyle Helm was another great influence. From him, I learned how to prepare for job interviews and to prepare the perfect resume. Kyle helped me gain the opportunity to work for Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, one of the best law firms in the world. This was something I only dreamed about. I am now able to see what my chosen profession is going to be. Harlem RBI believed in me and helped me gain the motivation I had lost and the confidence I never knew I had— and for that I am truly grateful. I am still employed with Skadden, Arps during breaks from school and I continue to learn more about myself and my future goals. I now know that I can not plan the rest of my college life, but I can live it day by day and take advantage of all the opportunities presented to me. I owe much of my success to Harlem RBI and all the great staff. Their determination and passion has helped me get to where I am today. I can only hope that somewhere down the road I can do the same for someone else.
Narcisa Nunez is a 19-year-old sophomore enrolled at Buffalo State University, where she is majoring in Criminal Justice. She also works in the records department of Skadden, Arps. She is a Mets fan although she grew up in the Bronx. She likes to listen to Rascal Flats and Nickelback.

By Sandra Martinez I am currently a freshman at St. John’s University in Queens. I am also part of Harlem RBI’s externship program placed at Cantor Fitzgerald working in the Human Resource Department. In November of 2005, I was a senior in high school at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy. I had attended Harlem RBI for three years and I was provided with an externship opportunity at Cantor Fitzgerald. I had never worked in an office environment. In my previous jobs, I worked with young children at an after-school program assisting them with their homework. I decided to accept the externship opportunity at Cantor Fitzgerald to try something new. I am still working there today. Cantor Fitzgerald has provided me with much more than just an externship. It has opened my eyes to what the real world is really about and the many jobs that exist for those who work really hard. Besides filing papers, making new hire kits for new employees and data entry, I have had the opportunity to listen and hear how businesses really run. Every week, I become

fascinated to see my fellow co-workers working together to accomplish a goal. I learned through my experiences working at Cantor that it takes a team to succeed, much like the teams at Harlem RBI. Not just one individual can make a company or team run. Cantor Fitzgerald has definitely been a plus in changing me as an individual for the better. Never in my life would I have imagined myself working as an intern in a company well known by so many people throughout the world. Harlem RBI has helped me obtain this externship in which I am still working, and without a doubt, I would definitely recommend other Harlem RBI youth do the same. There is no better way to learn than from experience. Working at Cantor Fitzgerald has provided me with a real job in the real world and I know other Harlem RBI youth would enjoy it and learn a lot from it as well.
Sandra Martinez is an 18-year-old graduate of the Young Women’s Leadership Academy and is currently a freshman at St. John’s University. She is a Mets fan and likes to listen to Salsa and Merengue music.

Eagles Take The Field with Angel Perez

Angel Perez has been a volunteer coach with Harlem RBI since 2004. He is energetic, positive and a true role model for Harlem RBI's youth.

By Lee Johnson It was the first day of Eagles baseball practice. I was so nervous. I didn’t know what to expect from our coach, Angel Perez. I knew him from my summers in the REAL Kids Program as a relaxed kind of guy. But the moment he stepped onto the field this year, it was all about business. He talked about what he expected from the team and the ways he wanted us to meet those expectations. One of the things he taught us was the five stages of development that we need to go through to be a strong team. He said that the moment we walked on to the field together, we began stage one of development: Fundamentals. Baseball practices with Angel Perez are intense. He always pushes us to be successful, especially with things that are challenging for us. Angel encourages us to do well, not just at our practices but also during all programming at Harlem RBI. He says that

we need to be strong and focused in programming like we are at practice. Angel Perez is not just an average coach to our team. He is like our friend, but in a tough, gets-you-to-work-hard kind of way. He is unique and clever when it comes to teaching us about the ins and outs of baseball. Angel is always working with youth. If he is not with us at practice, he is in the office working or teaching other kids at the Boys Harbor Charter School. You could probably call Angel the Energizer Bunny of Harlem RBI. I am confident the Eagles’ future will be successful because we have a coach who believes we have potential.
Lee Johnson is 13 years old and has been a member of Harlem RBI for the past five years. He started off with the Rookie League and is now going strong as a member of the Eagles. Lee plans to go away to college like his older brother and hopes to be a writer and a baseball player when he grows up.


Harlem RBI

Volume 16 Issue 1

Street, Home or Harlem RBI?
By Shalaya Ford These days, kids have three choices of how to spend their afternoons when school gets out at 3 pm. 1. They can go home and be lazy. 2. They can be on the street and be bad. 3. They can go to Harlem RBI After-School where they play, learn and grow with people who care about them. Around here, the streets are a place where people can get killed or end up in jail. If that’s the life kids choose rather than going to Harlem RBI, then I think they are crazy. Staying inside might be more safe than being outside, but it won’t keep your brain active. I choose Harlem RBI over the streets or staying at home because I want to do something good for myself and because I feel like being on this earth is a gift. I’m not going to waste my life. My point is that REAL Kids After-School at Harlem RBI is fun and safe and it challenges your mind. We are safe at After-School because the staff teaches us how to be healthy and because we all care for each other like a family. Okay, I know I have been saying make is from West Africa. Another program we have is baseball class in the gym. I know you are probably thinking gym is a time where we just run around and burn off energy. At Harlem RBI, that is actually not true. During baseball class, we have real organized games with real professional coaches. During the week, we play baseball games but not until we stretch, warm up and practice our skills as a team. In Clubhouse, we are expected to work hard with our team to resolve our conflicts and build up our team identity. Last month we wrote team cheers that were kind of like raps or spoken word poems. We also wrote poems about our life which helped us express ourselves and helped our teammates to get to know us better. We also play a lot of team games where we have to practice our communication skills. I plan on being in Harlem RBI for a long time!
Shalaya Ford is a 5th grader at P.S. 50. She has been with Harlem RBI for 3 years. She plans to be with Harlem RBI until she graduates high school and goes to college out of state. Shalaya plans to be a prosecutor one day because she likes to be in charge and make decisions.

Davantay Solano poses in front of his team’s banner.

Harlem RBI is so great, but I haven’t really told you about any of the programs yet. Well, one of the programs we have in AfterSchool is called Drum Power. Drum Power is a class where we learn to use our hands in

a good way, instead of using our hands to fight like we might on the street. In Drum Power, we use our hands in a way that is almost like exercise for our hands. We make music and are creative. The music we

Express Yourself at REAL Kids!
By Nasseer Ogbourne and Jorge Reyes The Mighty Pythons (at the Harlem RBI REAL Kids After-School Program) have been working on a collage for Black History Month. They have cut pictures of inspiring African-Americans and placed the pictures on a poster to display in the lobby at P.S. 38. Some of the players learned about African-Americans that they had never heard of before and were impressed by the great things they did. One of my favorite pictures was of Martin Luther King Jr. giving his “I Have A Dream” speech in Washington, DC. Martin Luther King helped end segregation in America. We put pictures of historical African-Americans together with present-day African-American heroes. For example, we put Queen Latifah next to Oprah Winfrey to show that there are many kinds of African-American heroes and heroines throughout the ages. At Harlem RBI REAL Kids AfterSchool, we express ourselves not only through visual arts like collage but also through music. We have a class called Drum Power where we get to make our own music with drums called Djembe. In our opinion, art is a way we can be creative and feel proud of the things we produce. We think that the reason we like doing art at Harlem RBI is because the staff and our teammates encourage us to be ourselves and we don’t have to be afraid that other people will judge us. One 6th grader at the After-School program said, “If I wasn’t able to express myself, my head would explode.” While we are expressing ourselves, we are creating a healthy mind for ourselves. We hope that we get to do some more arts activities at After-School and plan to ask Megan Demarkis, the Program Director, if we can add Tap Dancing classes. That would be cool!
Nasseer Ogbourne is a 5th grader at P.S. 171 and a player on the Black Hawks. This is his first year in After-School but he plans to play with Harlem RBI this summer. He wants to go to a good college like Yale to study science. His mom hopes that he gets a full scholarship. Jorge Reyes is a 4th grader at P.S. 38 and a player on the Mighty Pythons. He wants to go away to college someday to study ecology because he thinks nature is fascinating.

Together Everyone Achieves More
By Sheonna Gonzalez You would not believe what Harlem RBI teaches us in the REAL Kids AfterSchool program. They show us a way that is different from the violence on the streets. The staff at After-School teaches us about being a TEAM. At Harlem RBI, TEAM means Together Everyone Achieves More. I have learned that “team” is about working together and helping each other learn more. On my team, the Black Hawks, we do not put each other down. Instead, we lift each other up, all the way up high, up into the sky by praising and encouraging each other. In Harlem RBI, we do not hurt each other. We help each other—even when we get on each other’s nerves. Now that I am in Harlem RBI, I treat people more like family by learning to work with my teammates more. A long time ago, I had a reputation for being a troublemaker and a bully. Now, when I get into arguments with my teammates, I take the time to talk it out and resolve the problems. I love Harlem RBI because it offers me healthy programs such as Nutrition and Baseball. In Nutrition, we learn how to keep our bodies healthy by making the right food choices. We have made smoothies, fruit salads, yogurt parfaits and healthy soda. Healthy soda is nothing more than fruit juice and seltzer water. But it tastes better than sugar sodas from the bodega. Now I even make my own healthy soda at home, though I haven’t convinced my family to try it yet. In the gym we run, exercise and play baseball. Just like the healthy recipes in Nutrition, these activities are great for your body and help keep you in good shape. One last thing I love about this AfterSchool Program is that we have a Runs Rally at the end of every week to celebrate our teamwork and dedication. At every rally we cheer, “Harlem RBI How you feel? WE FEEL GOOD! OH WE FEEL SO GOOD! HAH!” And we really mean it.
Sheonna Gonzalez is a 6th grader at PS 50. This is her first year in REAL Kids After-School but she plans to join the summer program. When Sheonna grows up, she would like to be a dancer, model and a basketball player for the WNBA.

My Blue Day
Wahkeen Thomas’ Workshop group read a book about the different things that can make people sad and how to handle sad emotions. In response to the read-aloud, Wahkeen wrote the following journal entry for which he has granted Harlem RBI permission to publish.

By Wahkeen Thomas I had a Blue Day at the beginning of the school year when my brother was very late to pick me up from school. My teacher brought me by the cafeteria and told me to look there for my brother. He wasn’t in there and when I went to the door to tell my teacher, she was gone too! So, I went back into the cafeteria and sat down and started to cry. Then Megan Demarkis, the REAL Kids

Director, came over to me and asked why I was sad. So I told her about how my teacher had left me. And then she asked if I wanted to be a part of Harlem RBI and I said, “Yes!” Now I am a part of Harlem RBI. That day when I joined, I started having fun right away because I was able to put my troubles aside and play baseball and be happy.
Wahkeen Thomas is in the third grade at P.S. 38. He plays for the team El Sol Del Barrio.
Wahkeen Thomas

Spring 2007

Harlem RBI


Getting To Know Jeff Samberg, A Harlem RBI Board Member
Q: How did you become involved with Harlem RBI? A: I actually met Rich Berlin through a friend of mine who worked for my family’s foundation [Samberg Family Foundation] in Washington, DC. I kept in touch with him over the years and really liked the work he was doing. I had the chance to spend a day with the REAL Kids Program one summer and was impressed by everything I saw. Q: How long have you been involved in Harlem RBI? A: I have been on the Board for about two years. Q: What do you do for a living? A: I am an Investment Manager, actually it’s more of a Venture Capital Firm. We provide seed money for businesses. This company is completely separate from the family foundation. Q: How many children do you have? A: I have two children; Heather is 5 and Josh is almost 3. Q: Where do you currently live? A: We currently live in Chappaqua, which also happens to be the town I grew up in. In fact my daughter attends the same elementary school that I did, and the same principal is there after all these years. Q: Where did you meet your wife? How long have you been married? A: I met my wife Debbie in San Francisco. We got married on New Year’s Eve 2000, and have been married for a little more than 6 years. Q: How did you end up back in New York? A: My wife is from the Bay area and after she graduated from medical school, she had the opportunity to do her residency here. She had always thought it would be exciting to live in New York, so we made the move, driving across the country with our then six-month-old daughter in the back seat. Q: Do you like baseball? What’s your favorite team? A: I LOVE baseball. My favorite team is the New York Yankees. It’s hard to be a Yankee fan around my office because there are so many Mets fans. Q: What has been your best experience since joining the Board? A: My best experience so far has to be the opening of the Field of Dreams. That was a great day. I also enjoy spending time with the REAL Kids Program in the summer. Q: What has been your worst experience, if any? A: The fact that there are so many New York Mets fans at Harlem RBI and on the Board. Q: What do you think of Harlem RBI? A: I think Harlem RBI is at a critical stage

Jeff Samberg joined the Harlem RBI Board of Directors in 2005.

of development. I see that it is going from a small organization to one that has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the community, not only from a grassroots standpoint but one that will reach far beyond East Harlem. Q: What goals have you set for Harlem RBI?

A: I would like to extend the reach of Harlem RBI, if possible. I would like to establish a strategic outreach plan, so that we may reach a larger audience. I would also like to expand our scope. I have a special interest in the academics potential at Harlem RBI. I am a member of the Scholarship Committee, so education is important to me.

The Soul of Harlem RBI

Moving On Up… To TeamBuilders

By Louise Phillips
Here in Harlem RBI We’re here for one another Like sister to brother Always working together Here in Harlem RBI We work to the fullest I admit, the staff here are the coolest Sometimes we act a little foolish But they always have our backs And help us with our work front and back Here in Harlem RBI We learn a ton We learn what we need for life Communication, leadership, sportsmanship They prepare us for college and make sure we reach our goals Here in Harlem RBI We have so much fun We go on trips We learn new tricks They buy us pizza, just add music and we have ourselves a fiesta Here in Harlem RBI We play baseball and softball We try to believe That if we succeed We can achieve anything and win a championship Here in Harlem RBI Our coaches have high expectations for us They make sure we’re on point And don’t slack off on our work We treat our coaches like family Here in Harlem RBI We play We learn We grow And we know we can achieve anything

Louise is a 14-year-old Comets player and a 9th grader at the Young Women’s Leadership School. She has an avid interest in music and hopes to one day make a career by writing lyrics.

Tamika McGrier and Tatiana Rosario work on their 8th grade exit projects.

By Kelly Hernandez Harlem RBI has taught me how to be a respectful and mature young lady. The first time I walked in the door of Harlem RBI, I was extremely scared because I didn’t know if people were going to like my attitude or my style. I quickly learned to love the feeling here because I always feel welcome and supported. The players, coaches and staff have come to feel like friends and family. I feel like I have grown up here with

Harlem RBI during my four years as a REAL Kid. I loved my long, hot, fun summers with the program. This summer, I finally had the chance to try out to become a Raven and I am now a part of the TeamBuilders Program. The Ravens team has come a long way in a really short time. We are learning a lot about each other and beginning to grow as sisters. This is important to us because as a team, we need to have each other’s back

both on and off the field until we go to college. Now that I am a part of TeamBuilders, I have a bigger responsibility. Every day, after school, I travel, even through the snow and rain, to come to after-school programming at Harlem RBI. We’re learning a lot so we can do better in school and be a stronger team. We have even started our first service learning project to help a program for abused women and children.

Softball practices on Saturday are hard but in the end it is worth it. Our coaches, staff, teammates and fans are always there to help and support us.
Kelly Hernandez is a 7th grader at St. Ann’s School. She is currently serving as a representative for her Ravens team on the TeamBuilders’ Leadership Council. She is looking forward to taking the mound as a pitcher this season.


Harlem RBI

Volume 16 Issue 1

Thank you to our 2006 Supporters!
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Stevens Mr. John Storey Mr. Robert Strougo Ms. Carol Stubblefield Mr. Joe Sultan and Ms. Sandy Chilewich Mr. Jonathan Taqqu Mr.Thayer Taylor Mr. Ronald Taylor Mr. Daniel Tedesco Mr. Ronald Temple Ms. Amanda Tepper and Mr. Jeffrey Kiker Mr. and Mrs. Richard Thomas Ms. Angela D.Thomas Mr.William Thomas Ms. Katherine Tignor Ms. Robin Tilp Mr. Kevin T.Timmons Mr. Joe Tracy Dr. and Mrs. Robert Tranbaugh Mr. Bill Tsevdos Mr.Vernon Tracy Turner Mr. Matthew Tyson Mr. David Unger Mr. Jeffrey Unger Mr. Carlos Vaamonde Ms. Jenny Valdez Mr. and Mrs. James Valla Mr. and Mrs. Richard Van De Berghe Mr. Derek van Straaten Mr. Brett Vankoski Ms. Anastasia Vassos Mr. and Mrs. Shyam Venkitesh Mr.Thomas Vitiello Mr. John Von Sothen Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Walsh Mr. Matthew Wang Ms. Cynthia Watkins Mr. Mark Webb Mr. Boaz Weinstein Mr. and Mrs. Len Weintraub Mr. Robert C.Welch Ms. Sarah Wendt Ms. Arleen West Ms. Risa Wexler and Ms. Dellechiaie Mr. Elliot WIlliams Mr. Richard Winslow Mr. and Mrs. Robert Wittenstein Ms.Wendy Wolf Mr. Matthew Wolpert Ms. Elizabeth Wong Ms. Alicia Woodley Mr. Earle Yaffa Mr. Derrick Yarbrough Mr. Bob Yee Mr. and Mrs. George H.Young III Mr. Michael Zaccagnino Ms. Cori Zacharius Mr. Steven Zacharius Mr.Walter Zacharius Mr. Camillo Zamora Ms. Claudia Zeldin and Mr. Daniel Katzner Mr. and Mrs. John Zelechoski Ms.Yilu Zhao Mr. Robert Zibelli Mr. Mark Zumwalt

AllianceBernstein Foundation Fund Altman Foundation Lily Auchincloss Foundation AXA Foundation Bill Bartholomay Foundation Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation The Robert Bowne Foundation The Louis Calder Foundation Carol and Howard Anderson Family Fund Citigroup Foundation The Clark Foundation Columbia Community Service Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation Dollar General Corporation The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation Educational Foundation of America Fannie Mae Foundation The Carl and Sylvia Freyer Family Foundation Gannett Foundation The Gilder Foundation Edward and Marjorie Goldberger Foundation William T. Grant Foundation John A. Griffin Foundation Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation Guys with Ties Charles Hayden Foundation R & H Healy Family Foundation The Heckscher Foundation for Children The Howard Gilman Foundation The Hyde & Watson Foundation I Do Foundation Jewish Communal Fund Ruth and Seymour Klein Foundation Lee and Cynthia Vance Foundation Linus Foundation Theodore Luce Charitable Trust Lumina Foundation for Education The McCann Family Fund The Ambrose Monell Foundation New York City Center for Charter School Excellence The New York Community Trust New York Life Foundation The New York Mets Foundation Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation PepsiCo Foundation Prudential Foundation Matching Gifts Reebok Human Rights Foundation The Reso Foundation Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation The Robertson Foundation The Robin Hood Foundation Helena Rubinstein Foundation The Rust Foundation Samberg Family Foundation Adolph and Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation The Juju Chang & Neal Shapiro Charitable Fund Peter Jay Sharp Foundation Valentine Perry Snyder Fund Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation Starbucks Foundation Abbey Kissel Starr Charitable Trust The Starr Foundation The Tiger Foundation The Jonathan M.Tisch Foundation The Vermont Community Foundation Wachovia Foundation Matching Gifts Program Fredrick & Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Foundation Zeldin Family Foundation

21 Federal Adidas Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater American Seasons Enrique Ball Mr. Stephen Bellwood Blue Smoke Bluegreen Bouley International BR Guest Bradford Renaissance Portraits Brooklyn Brewery Ms. Christine Bove Cipriani Ms. Holly Cole Craft and Craftbar Mr. Bruce Davidson Ms. Xanthe J. Alban Davis Empire Events Group Mr. Eric Studesville Mr. Joseph H. Flom Mr. Hank Forsyth Grand Hyatt New York Ms.Terry Groll Mr. Rocky Halsey Ms. Hana Kim Mr. Kevin Healy Ms. Lindsay Howard Jamba Juice Mr. James Petersen Kiehl’s Mr. Michael Klein L.A. Dodgers L’Absinthe Major League Baseball Ms. Anne Martignoni Mr. Stuart Miller MoMA Nat Sherman, Inc. Nobu Omni Hotels Oscar Bond Salon Spa Ms. Jana Perry Rothmann’s Steakhouse Saks Fifth Avenue Mr. Sam Walker Ms. Antonia Santiago Staten Island Yankees Strip House The Fireman Group The Glazier Group Ms. Janet Wolf Ms. Nora Wood Xanthe Bags

a+i design AIG Ambac American Express Apple Bank ARC Excess and Surplus Assured Guaranty Corporation Avalon Bay Communities Baker and McKenzie Bank of America Bank of Scotland Berdon LLP Bloomberg LP Boys & Girls Club of America Bradhurst Associates BRT Realty Brunswick Group Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP Capital One Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman LLP CIT Citigroup

Mr. Roger Aaron Mr. and Mrs. Luis Acevedo Ms. Michelle Ackaki Mr. JJ Acosta Ms. Elizabeth Adams Ms. Mary Adams Ms. Marci Alboher Mr. Alex Ross Mr. Mark Allen Ms. Ana Vazquez Ms. Catherine Angus and Mr. Paul Ledgett

a Shalaya Ford a Sheonna Gonzalez a Sade Henderson a Kelly Hernandez a Lee Johnson a Chantell Love a Sandra Martinez a Stephanie Moody a Stephanie Negron a Narcisa Núñez a Nasseer Ogbourne a Valerie Salas a Steven Padilla a Jason Perez a Louise Phillips a Daniel Ramos a Jorge Reyes a Aminata Sesay a Orleny Silverio a Wahkeen Thomas a
Spring 2007 Harlem RBI 7

The Harlem RBI Report Staff a Clement Butler

Harlem RBI Board of Directors
David Cohen, Chairman New York Mets Michael Buckley Brunswick Group Charlie Butler Runner’s World Magazine Stacey Cooper Capital One Katherine DeFoyd Hudson Heights Partners Stuart A. Fraser Cantor Fitzgerald Daniel M. Healy North Fork Bank Marc Jaffe PixFusion LLC Chris Leonard Alphadyne Asset Management Gilbert Liu Baker & McKenzie Vidya Rajarao PriceWaterhouseCoopers Kenneth Rosh Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson Jeff Samberg Campfire, LLC Robert Sheehan Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom Jamie Stecher Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP Ronald Taylor KPMG LLP Jenny Valdez Harlem RBI Alumna Carmen Vega-Rivera Say Yes to Education, Columbia University Gregg Walker Viacom Claudia Zeldin Richard Berlin Executive Director Coral Graphic Services, Inc. 840 South Broadway, Hicksville, 11801 (516) 576-2100 | (212) 874-6060 Fax: (516) 576-2153

Harlem RBI thanks Random House for its Sponsorship of the Harlem RBI Report.

Become a Friend of Harlem RBI Today!
I would like to contribute $ to support sports and educational programs at Harlem RBI. (Please make checks payable to Harlem RBI.) I am interested in volunteering. Please contact me:

Home Run Leadership Council
Bill Bartholomay Willis Group Holdings Ken Burns Documentarian Roberto Clemente, Jr. WFAN Robert Costas NBC Sports/HBO Sports Francis X. Farrell National Geographic Adventurer Jim Flanigan General Mills Corporation Keith Hernandez New York Mets Jeff Idelson National Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum Omar Minaya New York Mets Sharon Robinson Major League Baseball Arleen West Parachute Properties Walter Zacharius Kensington Publishing Corporation

Name: Address: City: Phone (day): Email:
Harlem RBI 333 East 100th Street, Ground Floor, New York, NY 10029 Tel: 212.722.1608. Fax: 212.722.1862. Email: info@harlemrbi.org.Web: http://www.harlemrbi.org.

State: (eve):


Harlem RBI is a unique, year-round youth development organization located in East Harlem, New York. Harlem RBI uses baseball, softball, and the power of teams to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to play, to learn, and to grow, inspiring them to recognize their potential and realize their dreams. Harlem RBI is a private, not-for-profit entity registered as a 501(c)3 corporation and is supported almost exclusively through private contributions.

Founded in 1989 by former Major Leaguer John Young, RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) is a youth baseball and softball program managed by Major League Baseball in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of America. RBI is a grassroots outreach program designed to promote youth interest in baseball, increase the self-esteem of disadvantaged children and encourage kids to stay in school. RBI reaches more than 110,000 boys and girls in 120 cities worldwide.

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Lansdale, PA Permit No. 177

Scenes from the Harlem RBI Coaches-in Training program. See page 2 for article.

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Harlem RBI 333 East 100th Street New York, NY 10029

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