The overwhelming joy of graduation day

The overwhelming joy of graduation day

Each morning and each night I look at my journalism degree from Temple University, I remember the challenges I overcame to get it, including the fear of never receiving it at all. The overwhelming euphoria I felt when it finally arrived in the mail is something I still carry to this day. It can never really be replicated or taken away. In the beginning, I never saw myself attending college. I never saw it as the important factor it would become in my life. I grew up in and still live in North Philadelphia. A college graduate is something not often seen coming from a low income household or an impoverished neighborhood. I remember walking through my neighborhood on graduation day, a cool spring day, twiddling my fingers as my gown blew in the breeze. This would actually be my second degree. The first came from the Community College of Philadelphia just a few years prior. Though I was older, and some things...
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The Rooms Project: Recovery doesn’t have to be a struggle

The Rooms Project: Recovery doesn’t have to be a struggle

On a humid Tuesday morning in Bucks County, in the surrounding neighborhood, a cul-de-sac setting, the only noise that can be heard is a water fountain from across the street. A backpack slung over her shoulder and a folding chair in one hand, Jillian Bauer, creator of The Rooms Project, walks up the stairs of Independence Lodge Sober Living, a recovery house. The Rooms Project is a way that Bauer gives “recovery a voice” through the stories of experience, strength, and hope she often heard in “the rooms” of recovery support groups and meetings. After scrolling through her phone, checking to make sure that she has the right address and time, a man looking to be in his late 30s invites Bauer into the house. She sits in the kitchen, waiting for her interviewee Bryan Kennedy, the owner and founder of Independence Lodge Sober Living. Bauer started The Rooms Project just a few years ago, in March 2014 after celebrating a year of sobriety. She...
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Summer Teaching

Summer Teaching

Can't remember if I posted this or not, but I worked on the above video for the majority of the summer while assisting with Temple University's High School summer journalism program, otherwise known as Prime Movers and Shakers. It's led by Professor Maida Odom, former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and one of my former professors. The goal of the summer program is to teach the students, who are from different Philadelphia area high schools, about journalism and the different aspects of the field in a few short weeks. At the end they produced a newspaper that is printed by the Philadelphia Daily News. This was my second time working with the program and this time my main responsibility was putting together a video of the students experience with the program. It's not the best, but I was proud in the fact that I was able to put this together after not working with FinalCut Pro for a a few...
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Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Documenting The Faces Of Temple

Pramanik created “Humans of Temple University,” which she said tells a variety of stories through pictures and short interviews as a way to showcase how diverse her peers are. Her efforts started out as way to showcase some of her own work. Pramanik began taking pictures for Humans of Temple University in January of this year, but posted the photos later in February because of what she called her hectic schedule. “Just within two weeks, I think I had around 200 followers,” Pramanik said. “I was like, ‘Wow, that’s amazing.’” Pramanik said she has been interested in photography since high school when she took a black and white photography class. She said she loved being able to develop pictures in the school’s darkroom and manually manipulate the photos. Not being able to afford the equipment to have her own darkroom, Pramanik decided she would explore the digital realm of photography. She bought a camera and began taking pictures, posting them to her Flickr...
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Music Program Serves Philadelphia Youth

Music Program Serves Philadelphia Youth

Musicopia is a nonprofit after school program that works to ignite lifelong interest in music for youth. The program works to establish partnerships with school districts throughout the region, and is a leader in revitalizing in and after school music programs. Musicopia's mission is to bring a vibrant combination of music performance and education to both students and communities. The nonprofit provides musical opportunities for children from kindergarten through high school, and just last year worked with 25 Philadelphia area high schools. Musicopia concentrates on schools in the poorest of neighborhoods and offers different opportunities for those within those neighborhoods to work with music. Some of the schools that Musicopia has been able to work with so far include, Andrew Jackson School in South Philadelphia; St. Martin de Porres in North Philadelphia; and Eugenio Maria de Hostos Charter School in Hunting Park. You can read more about Musicopia and the awesome work that they do by visiting the sites below: Blending Jazz and Classical Music...
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The Transformation Of AJ Young

The Transformation Of AJ Young

There was never a particular moment when AJ Young felt that he was supposed to be a guy, but it was more of a continual questioning why it was he felt uncomfortable around friends and family. Not just generally, but socially. Young was born Catherine Rebecca Young. He grew up in Elgin, Illinois where he realized early that people didn't really recognize his gender identity the way that he wanted. AJ stands for Andrew James, a name Young would have been given had he been born a male.   "There was never one moment when I was like, of course I'm suppose to be a guy. It was more of figuring out why I had felt uncomfortable and off a little bit, not just in my body." It was around the time that Young was a sophomore in college at American University in Washington, D.C. and taking women's studies courses that he had become aware that trans people existed. Young started to realize that he...
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Tending To Community

Tending To Community

Tree Tenders is a city-wide program in Philadelphia developed by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. The primary mission of the program is to encourage people to volunteer and plant trees in their neighborhood. John Dobbs, coordinator for the Olney Tree Tenders, had always been a lover of trees and when first hearing about the Tree Tenders, had wanted to learn how to get more involved with the program. “We needed three people from our neighborhood in order to go to their training,” Dodds said.  “So it was me, my wife and another person. We were able to start the Olney program in 2011.” The main focus of the Olney Tree Tenders is planting what they call “street trees” in neighborhoods alongside the homes of Olney residents. Together with his staff of all volunteers, Dodds ventures out into the community to solicit people who may want trees planted by their home. Read the full story...
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