Luke Goes Full Circle

“OMG I’m the lead of a Shakespeare play!”

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Luke, center, with his class from PS/IS 127 Aerospace Science Magnet School at the 2012 Festival

Hi, my name is Luke Domond and I am 20 years old. When I was 14 years old, in middle school, I starred in my very first play. Once my teacher, Ms. Nicolson, told us that we would be in a play at the end of the year for the Shakespeare Festival hosted by the Creative Art Team, I couldn’t control my excitement, so that day I ran home to let my family know about the good news. I always wanted to be a part of play and this was my opportunity to be in one. Not only was I able to finally be in one, I was the lead role! The play was “Much Ado About Nothing,” a comedy by William Shakespeare. The day finally came, after days of rehearsing, it was finally go time. Walking into the building where we was about to perform was terrifying. Seeing the stage, seeing all the seats that will soon be filled with people, it was just a rush. Once it was our turn to go on stage and perform all I could think of was, what if I forget my line or say the wrong thing, all these things was just clouding my head. So, I decide to close my eyes, take a deep breath, and just do what I was doing for the last few months, having fun. To my amazement, we were a hit, everyone loved our performance! We won the award for best comedy.

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Luke’s scene, “Love Can Make You Do Some Crazy Things”

Thinking this would be the last time I would ever hear about this program and this wonderful festival they host every year since, I would be going to high school the following year, I was devastated. I would never have another experience like that again. To my surprise, 6 years later I was giving the opportunity to intern for them through an internship program called CUNY Service Corps. This was my chance to finally get connected with the people who created this wonder festival and made my middle school experience the best experience I ever had. Interning for the Creative Art Team was a blast, I got to work with a lot of great people who taught me so much like Krista, Rachel, David and so many others. Then it finally happened, I got directly connected to the people behind the Shakespeare Festival! Not only did I get to meet the people who brought me so much happiness as a child, but got the chance to be a part of the magic and help out with the Festival this year!

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Luke, center, on Sixth Avenue, with CAT’s 2017-18 CUNY Service Corps crew, Service Corps alumni who are current CAT staffers, and three CAT administrators

Going from being in the Shakespeare Festival as a child to interning for the company as a young adult and being able to be a part of making this year’s festival as amazing for the kids this year as it was for me 6 years ago is really a blessing.

Lucille Lortel Theatre, here I come again! Can’t wait!

Luke-Domond

Luke Domond
CUNY Service Corps Member
Student, New York City College of Technology

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The Impact of Project CHANGE

In September 2015, I began working with the Creative Arts Team (Project CHANGE) and it has truly had a life-changing impact on me. At first I was not entirely sure about what the program would entail, but after doing research, I was eager to work with the other Agents to teach adolescences about sexual health. Project CHANGE is such an outstanding program that has a great impact on the lives of many, by using a more creative approach to educate and grasp the attention of adolescents in current issues pertaining to sexual health.

Over the course of the year, I noticed various changes which have improved my personal and academic skills. Project CHANGE has allowed me to better mold my time management skills. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to handle working at my full potential. Once I found a balance, where I was able to successfully plan and execute dates and events prior, I realized it was smooth sailing. I am now more efficient in balancing my academic and social life, while being able to successfully meet my responsibilities. Before working at Project CHANGE, I found it difficult at times to balance school, work, sports, and my social life; but now I am able to find a balance where I manage to complete various tasks that are required and not feel overwhelmed.

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Chloe, circled, with Project CHANGE Agents and Staff

Project CHANGE is a family. I was welcomed with opened arms and included in all aspects. We have all grown together as a unit to make this project impactful. Each Agent supports one another and gives great reviews and advice on how we can all achieve our goals.  Project CHANGE has been a great support system, where everyone looks out for one another. We have supported each other in various plays, readings, and remarkable events. I did not know I would be entering into a caring, loving family that cares of the well being of each individual. When you are feeling overwhelmed or discouraged, you can confide in anyone there. Project CHANGE is a safe haven for the Agents.

While working with the Project CHANGE I am able to take the skills I have gained and use them even outside of Project CHANGE. One skill I have acquired is proper facilitation, which is beneficial when working with children. Outside of Project CHANGE I direct a drum corps, and the facilitation skills have allowed me to better teach my drum line. I noticed that I am better able to express various routines, and styles of playing, and that my students have a better grasp of what I explaining. Being at Project CHANGE allows me to not only be a better educator, but to place myself in the mindset of a student so I am able to give specific and clear instructions that everyone understands.

Not only has Project CHANGE educated me, it has encouraged me to educate my family and friends on their sexual health. I found myself being in school and stating statistics and important need-to-know tips on STDs, STIs and HIV/AIDS. I would then have my peers asking me questions and I was properly educated and able to answer. I’m able to derive the truth from a myth. Project CHANGE has given me knowledge that I believe all youths should be informed about, and it was a great pleasure to be able to share the knowledge.

Project CHANGE has allowed me to find a balance where I am able to complete various task without feeling overwhelmed. I am better at explaining various task and assignments. Project CHANGE has truly left an impact on my academic and social life that I will continue to carry with me. I am able to plan out a week or weeks of events in advance, and manage to balance classes, work, and everything else in between. As my Project Director Carmen Kelly would tell her agents, you have to find that balance. It isn’t easy and may be one of the most challenging aspect of college, but after being at Project CHANGE, it is a lot easier to find.

Chloe with CAT Executive Director, Lynda Zimmerman (left), and Project CHANGE Director, Carmen Kelly (right)

Chloe with CAT Executive Director, Lynda Zimmerman (left), and Project CHANGE Director, Carmen Kelly (right), at the CUNY Service Corps culminating event

Chloe Thomas-Bedeau
CUNY Service Corps Member
Assigned to CUNY/CAT: Project CHANGE

My CUNY Service Corps Experience

This school year, being a CUNY Service Corps member has been a whirlwind. With everything we had to do, from the interview process to the monthly workshops we have to attend, it took a lot of commitment to fulfill my duties as a Service Corps Member. The best part of being a Service Corps member this year was being placed with the Creative Arts Team for my service site.

Nya (center) with Helen and Lexy

Nya (center) with Helen and Lexy

Working at CAT was good work experience for me. Even though I am in school to be a dental hygienist and the program I worked with at CAT is an after-school program teaching literacy through drama, I was able to learn a lot that I can take with me in my career as a hygienist. This was my first office job, so I learned a lot of skills that one should know if they’re going to be working in an office setting, such as, working with Excel, and filing (I did a lot of this!). I also learned how to send professional emails and that you should email everything, even if it’s small (wrote plenty of these too). I was also able to join in on a couple of sessions of one of CAT’s many programs, Project CHANGE. Those sessions were a good way for me to break out of my shyness a little bit, with exercises like Pantomime. Other than that, the staff at CAT made it really easy for me to feel like I’ve been working there forever. They’re all very silly and down-to-earth, with personalities through the roof that made me feel really comfortable and at home. I guess it comes with being “creative individuals” or just plain ol’ happy people (feel free to start singing R. Kelly’s Happy People anthem).

Nya-2I am very grateful for all that I have learned and the relationships that have formed while working here. My supervisor, Lexy, has taught me the most while I’ve been at CAT. My other supervisor, Helen, who is the biggest kid at the office (I mean it in the best way possible), has a larger-than-life personality and always keeps the energy in the room. I am certainly going to miss those two saying my full name every other minute. I will also miss Carmen, the Director of Project CHANGE and the reason why I had hoped to be placed with CAT, for being so nice while I’ve been here and welcoming me into Project CHANGE; my office buddy Nicole showing me tons of pictures of cats; and my fellow Service Corps member, Natalie, sharing the experience with me. And to the rest of the CAT staff members, it was nice getting to know you and working alongside all of you, and it was my pleasure to be of some help to you all. I am going to miss being a part of this organization (I am starting to get a little teary-eyed as I write this blog) but I will come back to visit very soon!

Nya Jackson
CUNY Service Corps Member
Placed with CAT’s Early Learning & Adolescent Literacy Programs