My sister, Soiyete, volunteers at least once every week to mentor to teenagers in liberal arts; that is, vocal coaching, singing, acting, and at the same time, teaches them life skills. As a result, she and the kids she mentors have a lot of fun and learn a lot about life–and each other.

At the end of the program each year, they all participate in an annual production. Usually, this is a play: a series of skits and songs (and sometimes, even video) that shows how far the kids have developed their talent and emerged from their shells. This year was special, since three of the kids were turning 18, and therefore aged out of the program after 3-4 years of dedication and hard work. The production was held at Hyattsville’s Busboys and Poets on Sunday, July 8th.

My niece, Ariana, and nephew, Terin, were both part of the production. Most of my family showed up to support.

My brothers, Umer and Ashte, and my mom

Ariana’s grandfather, Reginald, and cousin Sanjay

Ariana’s grandmother, Min. Higgenbotham, and aunt, Nischka


My sister, Jossame, and her daughter, Yasmeen

My mom and I

Part of the Teens Express production with one of the graduates, Shanetta, and my very own nephew, Terin

I have to admit, my niece, Ariana, stole most of the show. She’s such a terrific performer, and I’m not just saying that!

The kids performed skits about saying No to drugs and alcohol, teenage sex, and relationship values.

This skit was about learning to trust one another.

This skit was about teamwork.

Part of this skit was about a silly grasshopper named George. It was pretty funny though.

The three graduates received their certificates. Awwwww.

A few poignant words by the programs administrator, Kepa.

Yep, almost all of my brothers and sisters were there. Guess who is missing?

Amelia and my sister, Soiyete. My sister did such a great job on the production!

Terin was great too! And to think, he started the program talking too fast and mumbling. He was perfect!

We’re all so proud of Soiyete, Ariana, Terin, and all of the kids in the program. Money raised from the program will hopefully send them on a trip to celebrate. They did such a great job, and I can’t wait until next year!