All Stars Awards Gala

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[City Report]

The All Stars Project, Inc. recently celebrated its 13th annual Phyllis Hyman Phat Friend Awards Ceremony at the corporate offices of sponsor, Ann Taylor.

One hundred fifty business leaders, community leaders, young people and sponsors, and supporters of the All Stars attended the October 10th event in Times Square.

Named after All Stars’ first celebrity spokesperson, Phyllis Hyman, the 2007 awards ceremony honored 20 grassroots leaders and unsung heroes – adults who demonstrate their support of young people and work to improve the city.

“This program is another vital opportunity for inner city minority children and teenagers to have an outlet to express themselves,” said Adrienne Gonzalez, an attorney with the international law firm and awards honoree.

Fred Newman, a trained philosopher from Stanford University, and Dr. Lenora Fulani, founded the All Stars Project in 1981. The All Stars’ mission is to promote human development through the use of an innovative performance-based model, while creating out of school, educational and performing arts activities for tens of thousands of poor and minority young people, the organization says. Some of the innovative performance-based models include:

The All Stars Talent Show Network, a program that involves inner-city youth, ages 5 to 25, in creating developmental culture through producing and performing in weekend talent shows; Youth Onstage, an opportunity for youth, ages 13 to 21, to perform on stage in plays that have something to say about the world and its future; and The Production of Youth By Youth, the All Stars’ newest after-school program that focuses on teaching high school students how to be producers of youth culture.

Pam Lewis, director of youth programs for the All Stars Project, praised the success of this year’s awards ceremony, calling it the “biggest and best ever.” She also emphasized that the mission of the All Stars Project centers on youth development.

“Part of how you grow is if you’re part of building something,” she said. “Our main goal is to impact and ultimately eradicate poverty. Part of how we can do that is to develop our young people.”

President of the All Stars Project, Gabrielle Kurlander, also stressed the importance of molding today’s youth, calling development an under focused part of the solution to the problem that affects young people.

“We focus on helping them learn about the world – to go places they’ve never been before,” Kurlander said. “We’re all about helping young people to develop and grow. And that’s what all of our programs do.”

Gonzalez said the awards ceremony is a wonderful way to recognize those people who take time out of their schedules every day to help children who are not related to them. “It gives kids the opportunity to pay homage and say thank you in a very special way to people who’ve impacted their lives,” she said.

Other honorees included: Johnny Arias, founder of a baseball league in Washington Heights; Shawn Henry, the 20-year-old founder of “Garden Angels”, a mentoring program; and Kenneth Mannsman, assistant principal at John Browne High School in Flushing. Rafaela Madera, performing arts dance instructor at Stevenson High School in the South Bronx, and Kaye Scholer, who has played a leadership role with the Bronx School for Law & Government’s Mock Trial Team, were also honored.


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