WHDC Hosts Positive Hip-hop Musical for Youth of Grant and Manhattanville Houses

Almost 200 youth and their parents attended West Harlem Development Corporation’s first event for the youth of Grant and Manhattanville Houses, aimed at bringing the complexes together in a peaceful and enriching environment.

WHDC hosted IMPACT Repertory Theatre for a performance of the Hip-hop musical Peace Warriors at the Manhattanville Community Center on October 2, 2014. The performance elicited animated reactions from the audience as it touched bluntly on gun violence, teen sex and respect for women.

Parents and children related to the story line about incarcerated relatives and gun violence fatalities. The serious story lines were interspersed with rousing songs and dance routines that got the audience moving.

WHDC served pizza and water and held a free raffle for two Mini iPads and a Kindle Fire.

New York City Council Member Mark Levine attended and said, “It was great to see youth and children from both Grant and Manhattanville Houses come together to share food, fun and their futures in peace. Well done, Kofi and the WHDC staff.”

WHDC held the event as a followup gathering to the meeting for Grant and Manhattanville residents, mostly adults, on September 13, 2014. At that meeting, residents told WHDC what programs they would like to be funded as permanent solutions for ongoing quality of life issues.

“These meetings are the beginnings in the path to nonviolence and better quality of life for the youth and other residents at Grant and Manhattanville Houses,” said WHDC Executive Director Kofi A. Boateng, PhD. “We do not pretend to have the answers, so we sought them from the residents themselves. We will now take these ideas and form them into realistic benefits.”

WHDC plans to hold more events for the youth of the complexes quarterly.

WHDC is charged with implementing the Community Benefits Agreement signed with Columbia University in 2009. WHDC has granted $4 million to 119 nonprofits that serve West Harlem/Community District 9 with programs in education, housing, workforce development and other important areas.

WHDC has also contributed $2 million in funding to youth and senior summer employment programs. WHDC’s mission is to promote increased economic opportunities and quality of life to sustain a vibrant West Harlem community.

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