West Harlem Youth Funded by WHDC Meet President Obama

April 28, 2016

President Barack Obama with winners from the 2nd Annual White House Student Film Festival. Pictured with the president are West Harlem students Chazz Johnson (glasses), Janaya Nicholson (pink blouse), David Maxwell (lavender tie) and Jared Collazo (no tie).


WHDC funded the Digital Media Training Program in Harlem, led by Columbia University’s Adjunct Professor, Melvin McCray. Twelve youth living in West Harlem/Community District 9, many in public housing complexes, participated in the program where they produced a video “Harlem Through My Eyes” for the White House’s Student Film Festival competition.

They earned honorable mention. With this motivation, the youth took advantage of Professor McCray’s continuing initiative to introduce them to Engineering and African–American/Latino scientists in the summer of 2014.

The participants reentered the second-annual White House Student Film Festival with an entry called “Mentoring in Harlem.” This time they won and were invited to the White House to meet the President!

Some of the teens even made it onto the Melissa Harris-Perry show!