Volunteer Reflection: Emmett Phillips, Jr.

Name: Emmett Phillips Jr.
Age: 24

Where are you from, originally? I was born in Wichita, KS and raised in Des Moines, IA by two beautiful Liberian immigrants named Emmett and Marie.

How did you find out about ASTEP? After landing a lead role in the first play I’d ever done in my life during my sophomore year of college, I was invited to attend The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. I remember going into a workshop at KCACTF that sounded like something I would like and meeting Ali Dachis who told the group about ASTEP. I was so intrigued that I followed up with her afterwards to get more info about ASTEP and we exchanged contact information. About a year later, I got an invite to apply for the Artist as Citizen Conference in 2015 and I’ve been involved with ASTEP ever since.

Which programs have you been a part of? I have been apart of the Artist As Citizen Conference, I have lead an ASTEP Chapter, I am an active member of the ASTEP Leaders Network, and I have completed the ASTEP volunteer training.

Do you have a background in teaching, when you started? I started teaching the arts to youth when I was 19 and working at the Boys and Girls Club. I was really limited with what I could do with the kids there so I longed for opportunities to teach more freely. Once I became a Program Coordinator at Children and Family Urban Movement in 2015, I gained much more creative freedom to the weave arts into after school curriculum. I have gone on to facilitate Hip Hop Summer Camps, lead a poetry workshop within a local middle school, and guide the drama club.

What is your arts background? I am a Hip Hop Artist first and foremost. I started pursuing Hip Hop seriously in 2014. I am a poet and actor as well. I started acting during my sophomore year of college and have done a total of 5 plays (1 collegiate and 4 community).

What challenges did you overcome while on site? My first official ASTEP Volunteer site will be in Elaine Arkansas in July. I foresee that the challenges will be working in such close quarters with 3 other artists and adapting to the culture of a segregated southern town, being raised in the North. I look forward to the adversity though!

What victories did you achieve, while on site? I hope to achieve a deeper understanding of what it means to be a young African American growing up in Elaine. As a Black man myself, I’m excited to be able to be a real life example of artistic excellence that those youth might be able to relate to. If I can help empower, uplift, and inspire them to explore their own creative sides, I will consider my experience an overwhelming victory.

What did working with ASTEP teach you about yourself? Working with ASTEP has taught me the value of being a teaching artist. I grew up in a world that didn’t place much value on artists at all, let alone teaching artists, but ASTEP has opened me up to an entire culture that is committed to the development and proper placement of those who create art and also love to teach it to others. Thanks to ASTEP, I will always search for opportunities to live my truth through my art and teach as many young people everything I have to offer along the way.

What program is next for you? My assignment in Elaine is what’s immediately next for me, but afterwards I would love teach some poetry and Hip Hop in Brooklyn or travel abroad with ASTEP. Either way, the joy of teaching my crafts is a pleasure no matter what space I’m in. The real question is what does ASTEP have next for me?

 

 

 

Spend your spring at a Haven of Peace

Help us make a difference! This Spring, we are sending a team of Volunteer Artists to Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project in Southern India to deliver a multi-week arts camp that focuses on visual and performing arts including music, filmmaking, dance, and musical theatre.

Shanti Bhavan translates from Hindi to English to mean “Haven of Peace”, and we believe the work of our teaching artists will help to create just that. Join us in bringing arts education and application to these students from India’s lowest castes, where we are able to provide them with the space and time to practice communication, collaboration, empathy, and creativity. With ASTEP and Shanti Bhavan, your work will foster a symbol of hope, providing the students with the skills necessary to create and thrive in a brighter, better tomorrow.

Dates: May 23 – June 10, 2018
Application deadline: February 15, 2018
Location: Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project just outside of Bangalore
Who: You! All artists with a passion for making a difference!

** Room and board is provided by ASTEP and Shanti Bhavan for all Volunteer Artists
** Email Sami Manfredi at sami@asteponline.org or give us a ring at 212.921.1227 to learn more!

Save the Date: 9th Annual Benefit Concert

New York City Christmas: A Concert to Benefit ASTEP

Mon December 11 at 7PM at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater in New York City

 

MICHAEL BUCHANAN
CARLOS ENCINIAS
BECCA GOTTLIEB
CHESTER GREGORY
DAVID JOSEFSBERG
DEREK KLENA
LINDSAY MENDEZ
Tony Winner RUTHIE ANN MILES
CHEEYANG NG
ZACHARY NOAH PISER
LAUREN PRITCHARD
SHEA RENEE
GEORGE SALAZAR
ELIZABETH STANLEY
KAY TRINIDAD
and many more special guests!

 

NEW YORK, NY — Artists Striving to End Poverty ’s Ninth Annual New York City Christmas: A Concert to Benefit ASTEP , taking place on Monday, December 11 at 7:00 PM at Joe’s Pub at The Public in New York City. Additional exclusive experiences from Mean Girls, The Musical, SpongeBob SquarePants and Come From Away have been added to the special auction through Charitybuzz , which also features your personal voicemail recorded by Oscar Isaac, experiences with Hamilton , Phantom of the Opera, Bronx Tale, and so much more!

What better way to get into the holiday spirit than an evening featuring Broadway’s most sought-after talent singing new and classic holiday songs…with a twist! Along with your seasonal favorites, expect fresh, original approaches — pop, soul, R&B, rock and more — many of them captured on the Sh-KBoom/Ghostlight album “New York City Christmas,” available for purchase at the concert.

Conceived and produced by Drama Desk-nominated orchestrator Lynne Shankel (Allegiance, Cry-Baby, Altar Boyz), the concert will again boast an incredible line-up of artists, including Nick Blaemire (Tick Tick Boom, Godspell, Cry-Baby), Chester Gregory (Motown, Sister Act, Dreamgirls, Hairspray), David Josefsberg (Honeymoon In Vegas, The Wedding Singer, Altar Boyz), Derek Klena (Anastasia, Wicked), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked, Godspell, Everyday Rapture), Bonnie Milligan (Kinky Boots (tour) , Gigantic), Cheeyang Ng (K-Pop), Lauren Pritchard (Spring Awakening), Shea Renee (Allegiance), Elizabeth Stanley (On the Town, Million Dollar Quartet, Company) , and Kay Trinidad (The Little Mermaid, Bare) . The concert will be directed by Jenn Rapp-Pearl (The Illusionists TOTC).

Also appearing will be musicians Shankel (Piano), Frank Pagano (Drums), Randy Landau (Bass), Peter Calo (Guitar), Eric Davis (Guitar), Summer Boggess (Cello), Victoria Patterson (Violin), Colin Brigstocke (Trumpet), Jeff Schiller (Saxophone) & Scott Kreitzer (Saxophone)

Tickets are $100.00 each for premium seats, $75.00 each for general seating. ALL proceeds from tickets to the show and album sales go to supporting ASTEP’s mission to connect performing and visual artists with underserved kids, using the arts awakening their imaginations, fostering critical thinking, and helping them break the cycle of poverty. ASTEP places volunteer artists in India, South Africa, the Dominican Republic, New York and Florida and supports the efforts of ASTEP Chapters in more than a dozen communities around the U.S.

A special auction will also be featured during the concert, featuring sought-after items such as:

● 2 VIP Tickets to HAMILTON on Broadway with Exclusive Backstage Tour
● 2 VIP Tickets to a preview of MEAN GIRLS when it moves to Broadway, with
Exclusive Backstage Tour with Mary-Mitchell Campbell
● 2 VIP Tickets to a performance of MEAN GIRLS (post opening) or when it moves to
Broadway, with Exclusive Backstage Tour with Mary-Mitchell Campbell
● 2 VIP Tickets to a performance of SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS on Broadway with
Exclusive Backstage Tour
● As well as MANY MORE!

Tickets are available for purchase online through the Joe’s Pub website or at the box office at The Public Theater, 425 Lafayette Street. Seating is extremely limited.

For more information about ASTEP visit www.astep.org or e-mail Katherine Nolan Brown at katherine@asteponline.org

# # # #
New York City Christmas: A Benefit Album for ASTEP, on the Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight label, is a special labor of love created by the incomparable music director, orchestrator and arranger Lynne Shankel (Allegiance, Bare, Altar Boyz, Cry-Baby). Over the years, in several venues in Manhattan, Lynne brought together some of the best musicians and singers in the Broadway community, including Tony Nominee Raul Esparza (Company, Speed the Plow), Tony nominee Orfeh (Legally Blonde, Saturday Night Fever), Sierra Boggess (Love Never Dies, Master Class, The Little Mermaid), Chester Gregory (Sister Act, Dreamgirls, Cry-Baby), Lindsay Mendez (Wicked, Godspell, Everyday Rapture), Andy Karl (Groundhog Day, Wicked, Altar Boyz, 9 to 5), Sally Wilfert (Make Me A Song, Assassins, Tom Sawyer), recording artist Anya Singleton, David Josefsberg (The Wedding Singer, Altar Boyz), Tony nominee and “American Idol” star Constantine Maroulis (Rock of Ages), Drama Desk nominee Tyler Maynard (Altar Boyz, Mamma Mia) and many more!

The album is available for purchase through iTunes, Amazon.com, and sh-k-boom.com.

# # # #

 

Volunteer Reflection: Rosco Spears

Name: Rosco Spears

Age: 30

Where are you from, originally? Detroit, MI

How did you find out about ASTEP? A good friend of mine referred me to the program. She is a performing artist and she told me about the amazing things she heard about ASTEP.  After a bit of research, it didn’t take much to sell me on the organization.

Which programs have you been a part of? ASTEP on STAGE! at WIN and CHOICES Alternative to Detention as well as ASTEP Arts at Shanti Bhavan.

Did you have a background in teaching when you started? I did have a background in teaching when I started volunteering with ASTEP. I taught business technology for 2 years at a high school in Grand Rapids, MI and I also led an after school, art enrichment program in Newark, NJ for a year.

What is your arts background? I do not have any formal training in art. I began sketching as a kid, and I created a signature design at the age of 13. During college, I brought some of those drawings that I created during middle and high school to a local art gallery.  The owner, Reb Roberts, practically forced my hand into painting after I told him that I was not interested. He was able to convince me to create a piece with him and the rest is history. I fell in love with painting.

What did working with ASTEP teach you about yourself? Working with ASTEP taught me that there is so much that you can learn while working as a teaching artist. I’m pretty certain that I’ve learned more from the children than they’ve learned from me.  I’ve learned how to move through adversity. How to excel through rough circumstances. How to creatively work in a group with others. How to take risks and try new things. I’ve learned how to communicate without words. Working with ASTEP showed me what I should be doing for my life’s work. Nothing on this earth makes me happier than working with children as a teaching artist. Especially working with kids who are impoverished in any way.

What victories did you achieve, while on site? On occasion, I’ve worked with kids who were in a program as a form of punishment, and they did not want to do any of the activities that were placed in front of them. These are the kids that are most interesting and challenging to me (also my favorite to work with). At the end of both experiences, even if it was just getting a kid to take their hood off during class or to pick their head up off of the table, I felt accomplished. If they actually participated in an activity, I felt like I won a million dollars.

What program is next for you? As I have recently relocated to Los Angeles, I am unsure! I would love to get back to Shanti Bhavan in the near future. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.






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