Great Kids Doing Great Things

by Heather Guerrero photos by Jason Taylor

The non profit organization “Impact” founded in 1997 by Voza Rivers and Jamal Joseph, provides young aspiring people from the ages of twelve to eighteen with the opportunity to take part in a professional training program in the arts. Moreover, not only does Impact provide a window of possibilities in the performing arts, it also allows for these young people to understand the meaning of responsibility, teamwork, and the importance of community through this leadership program. 

Impact holds their practices every Saturday at the Aaron Davis Hall in City College from 12 to 5. To become a member, one would have to attend auditions, which are held twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Those who want to apply should come prepared with a song and monologue. They should also be ready to learn a short dance and routine. New members are then required to attend a 6 week boot camp of intensive arts and leadership training. 

This competitive organization integrates drama, poetry, and dance. Not only does it provide members with professional training, but it also gives the members time to talk with each other and express their opinions about touchy subjects such as suicide. When there are discussions going on, everyone speaks freely and respects what each other says. Though some topics may be seen as sensitive, members respond to them in a very mature way.

Through the practice and study, members can cultivate an understanding and appreciation of the arts. Performances are a collaboration of song, spoken word, rap, and even ballet ; some deal with issues that go on in the community. Members of Impact contribute to the group through their original works of song, writing and choreography. For example, they created a song and dance where they asked, “ What would you do if that was your crew?” This dealt with what happened in Central Park last year at the Puerto Rican Day Parade. That question alone got people thinking about the incident. 

So far, Impact has accomplished making a c.d. of original music and were even the opening performers for the Maya Angelou tribute held at City College last month. Currently, their goals are to create a web site, establish a scholarship fund and publish a book of their original stories and poetry. Impact is like a family, they work together, teach each other and care for each other. As a result, these young, emerging artists have evidently shown a full understanding of the principles of dance and music and have formed a perfect alliance of purpose and unity.

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