On Aug. 9, the curtains came down on the Guyana Cultural Association (GCA) Caribbean Summer Heritage Workshop Series 2019, at St. Stephens Church Hall in Brooklyn, where students showcased their talents and artistic expressions learned over a six weeks.
One of the program’s biggest supporters, Council Member Mathieu Eugene, stopped by to look on as students, kicked up their heels in spirited choreography, drumming session, piano presentation, saxophone medley, and drama, depicting their cultural heritage.
The politician, in whose 40th District in Brooklyn the workshops were held, praised the organization, especially, board members, Claire Goring, Claire Patterson-Monah, Dr. Juliet Emanuel and Edgar Henry, for their steadfast commitment to providing programs to educate community youth.
“Thanks for the wonderful job you are doing in this organization to help to preserve the Guyanese culture,” said the politician, adding, that children are the most precious gifts from God, who need support in whatever they do.
Eugene, also complimented parents, whom he said worked hard to see their children succeed.
“I commend you for putting your children in this summer workshop. I will continue to support this great organization, the Guyana Cultural Association,” he said.
Patrons had a wonderful experience viewing the arts and craft exhibition, where the kids had on display beaded necklaces, handbags, scrap mats, straw hats, and tie dye tee shirts they designed and wore on stage during their performances.
“We come to play and grow, we want to be the best that we can be,” said the children who received musical instruction under the direction of volunteers, Edgar Henry, Hilton Hemerding, Dennis Kadan, Winston Jeggae Hoppie, Akoyaw Rudder, and Ron Bruce.
The choreographed pieces learned in Mr. Clive’s classes saw difference sequences that showcased Guyanese’s multicultural heritage in African, Indian and Chinese. The performers were decked out in costumes depicting each ethnic group.
Parents, friends, and sponsor representatives from Con Edison and Metro Plus, enjoyed an afternoon of lively entertainment by the youngsters who showed off what they had learned in various workshops.
Director of the Summer Series of workshops, Dr. Juliet Emanuel, hopes the program expands, to include more instruction, is specific areas.
Experts who volunteered their time to guide the students conducted literacy-based drama sessions, STEM, cooking demonstration, and the arts. Interns who come in from Guyana, Dr. Emanuel said, set the tone for a leadership strand that ran through the workshops.
The director proudly recalled the many campers who started the sessions, 11 years ago, and went on to attend prestigious learning, and musical institutions.
Some of them who came to the series from as young as 4 years old, still attend the program. She is confident that much more will be done, to inspire volunteers to join, since the program runs entirely on charity.
Patricia Jordan-Langford president of the Guyana tri-state alliance and GCA board member, said the programs are geared towards increasing the children’s thought process.
Sessions in math ematics and English, etiquette training, and dance, give the children a broader scope of learning.
Over the past 11 years, Tri-State Alliance has donated books to encourage the children to read.
“Our main thrust is if they don’t return they would have already had some growth in reading, writing, and robotics training. The small ones have grown over the years at the camp. We have seen a lot of progress,” said Langford.
Cultural Director, Claire Goring, said every year the Summer Workshop series ensures that programs are in place for the children to learn.
“We have a lot of volunteers who give of their time. It’s a collaborative effort and interns play a major role. They choreographed some of the dances for the program.”
She noted that it was also important to teach children about their cultural heritage. She thanked all persons who supported the six-week workshop that was attended by children of Haitian, Barbadian, and Bahamian heritage.
Counselors in-training received citations from city council members for their contributions made throughout the series.
GCA promised to continue its work to educate youngsters about their culture through programs such as this.
A music education workshop at CGA Cultural Center in St. Stephens Church, Newark Avenue and 28th Street, Brooklyn, is a yearlong program offered free of charge, and taught by musicians in the community.
“I encourage parents to take advantage of this program. It teaches, violin, piano, drumming, flute, and saxophone,” said Goring.
A Valarie Rodway Concert, Kwe Kwe Night, Awards Ceremony, Symposium, and Family Day, will celebrate Folk Festival 2019.
To learn more, go to www.guyfo