Creative Kids Publishes The Franconian

Introducing The Franconian, produced by HarlemLIVE

Where did we get the name? Franconia, a place in Germany, is etched in stone over the doorway. It is currently hidden by scaffolding.  We made it a noun by adding an ’n’. However, we’re open to a name change based on feedback.  Many of the area’s pre-war buildings have names. Take a look. 

Creative Kids of HarlemLIVEbegan with the help of a former school teacher and youth living in our building, 19 – 25  St Nicholas 

This is a trial run of our newsletter. We’re welcoming anyone  to contribute to this occasional publication produced by the building’s youth.

Feel free to suggest or offer any stories. recipes, poems, artwork, adventures, for future issues

Suggestions can be directed to Djeneba Ballo of the 5th Floor or Abdoulaye and Muhammed Diop of the 3rd floor.

Creative Kids

Editor: Djeneba Ballo

Contributors: Abdoulaye and Muhammed Diop and Mamady, Mawa, and Aboulaye Ballo.

What’s Up with the Cat Downstairs?

In spring 2013, an outgoing tenant abandoned a female kitten to the basement. For many weeks, it hid in the shadows. Then she timidly befriended the super and other tenants.  Not long after that, a large grey alley cat made friends with her, too, and by summer’s end, she was a very young mother.

After successfully nursing three females and one male for two months with the help of the super and tenants, the mother was taken to get her shots and spayed.  

Attention was given to make sure the kittens were people friendly. The super’s daughter and a former tenant each adopted one of the females, while the other two found homes with the help of a posting on the website, Craigslist.   

 The proud mother cat now patrols her territory, greeting those doing laundry and doing her part in keeping mice away. The occurrence of mice dropped dramatically once she took up residence downstairs 2 ½ years ago. 

Feel free to say hi. She’s very friendly. She was never given a name. Try “Here Kitty, Kitty.” 

Scaffolding, Fresh Paint, New Store Front

2015 – A change in the building’s management over a year ago brought about several developments. Scaffolding was put up last fall. Many apartments changed hands. The halls went from white and green to shades of brown and beige around Labor Day. What looks like a fancy coffee shop in the corner store front, is actually a real estate broker. The hair salon is gone.

Ballo Family’s West African Summer

by Djeneba and Mamady Ballo

 This summer, we went with our mother and older sister, Mawa, to the west African country, Cote D’Ivoire. Our parents were born and raised there. 

On our way to Cote D‘Ivoire , we were so nervous. I, Djeneba hadn’t been there for 13 years. I kept asking myself if my relatives would remember me and if they would like me. 

Once we got there it was a total shock, We were expecting there to be no supermarkets, that we’d be staying in an apartment, and to only have outdoor showers. Instead we stayed in a beautiful house that had a shower, supermarkets, and much more.  

What really shocked us was the cultural differences and how, wherever we went, people treated us like we always lived there. Even if they did not know you, they were willing to help you.

We learned a lot about the government and the school systems.  

This trip was fun. We got to know more about our family, and met some we never knew. The Ivory Coast is a very special place to us. The stereotype that all the people are poor is not true. 

Overall we had an amazing time learning and understanding the world better.

Brief Description of HarlemLIVE

HarlemLive’s operating philosophy is to provide its youth with an environment of trust, creative license, and the technological tools for documenting and expressing their realities. The online journal is the tangible outcome of their work. It is an evolving vehicle for learning and sharing perspectives on important news issues of the day. Producing the journal drives the students to consider the world around them and their place in it, with new eyes, as they participate in telling their own stories. 

Angel Colon interviewing

Sending the students out on stories where they meet a wide range of people engaged in various professions, broadens the youths’ outlook and understanding of what possibilities and opportunities exist. Furthermore, by using cutting-edge information technologies to publish and broadcast their stories to the world, they gain valuable skills that have helped scores of HarlemLive graduates to get jobs and admission to colleges. 

The online journal, with a diverse and global readership is a recognized website by the Daily News, USA Today, Parade, The New York Times and Yahoo!. The site was honored at the 1999 Computerworld Smithsonian Awards in Washington, D.C. and it took first place in the Media and Culture category in the 1999 Global Bangemann Challenge, an international information technology competition held in Stockholm, Sweden. HarlemLive was also featured on the CNN news programs, Newsstand and DotCom. 

The site receives letters of praise from readers located in countries as far away as Nigeria, Japan, Australia, Saudi Arabia, Italy, and Brazil. The students have made presentations in Washington, Stockholm, Senegal, Costa Rica, California, and various Universities and High Schools across the country. 

HarlemLIVE receives some in kind support from the Institute for Learning Technologies at Teachers College. However, we receive minimal direct financial support. In order to ensure continued success, HarlemLive seeks funding from the private sector. 

HarlemLive is a pioneer in the effort to bridge the digital divide. We ask for your support to allow us to empower inner city youth.

Michael Puchades


My name is Michael Puchades [Soon to be Romero], I am14. I live in East Harlem with my mother [Patricia Puchades], my father ,[Ralph Romero] my little sister [Elsa Rosalia Romero] and my older brother [Louis Anthony Rodriguez].

March 1997

My favorite type of music is R&B [Boyz 2 Men, Marvin Gaye, Soul for Real…] .I also like Rap and Hip Hop. I like playing baseball, basketball, and my favorite sport, football. Over most of this year [1996] my brother and I got together a few of our friends and played softball. 

I’ve lived in “The Big Apple” all my life and most of it has been good with a few rough spots. There are a lot of beautiful females in New york. To all you gorgeous girls that want to kick it with a homey, look me up.

Matthew Martin


Hi, my name is Matthew Martin. I was born January 2nd, 1983. I’m currently 5 feet, 51/2 inches. I weigh 116 pounds. The school I go to is New York Prep. It’s on 113th Street and Second Avenue. 

I’m a nice young man that’s willing to put in a lot of effort for my work, so I can be the best that I can be. I will add more later.