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Thursday, January 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Class Of The Academy Outreach Center Offers Kids The Chance To Proclaim ‘I Am Somebody’

By Rebecca Nappi Interactive Editor

Each year, the Martin Luther King Jr., Family Outreach Center in Spokane offers the “I Am Somebody” Summer Youth Academy. For nine weeks this summer, 78 children between the ages of 4 and 12 have come to the center Monday through Thursday. The children learn and play and go on some exciting field trips.

The academy’s seven teachers are helped out by teens from the center’s Teen Leadership Program.

The program is designed for children who might not have the opportunity to participate in other summer programs, such as camp. Some are from poor families. Some from well-to-do families. Others have special needs and learning disabilities. The academy stresses cultural and ethnic appreciation and is based on the seven principles of Kwanzaa - unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The cost is $400 per child, but many receive scholarships, thanks to donations by community members.

This summer, The Spokesman-Review’s Diversity Committee volunteered in the program once a week. We taught a class called “Writing for Your Life” to the fourth- through seventh-graders in Phillip High-Edward’s class. Or “Mr. Phil” as the children called him.

The students learned to be junior reporters, writers and photographers. Milt Priggee spent a morning session teaching them to be political cartoonists. And the children interviewed some community leaders. For instance, they interviewed Dorothy Webster, assistant city manager for the city of Spokane, and Stacey Cowles, publisher of The Spokesman-Review. (Two of their questions: “Do you have a cat or dog? Is it hard to fire people?”)

The students, along with Spokesman-Review photographers, spent another morning taking pictures of themselves, each other and the scenery at Lincoln Park. Some of their pictures are published here with their “I Am Somebody” essays.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: 4 Photos

MEMO: These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. GRADUATION The public is invited to attend the Summer Youth Academy graduation on Thursday Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar. For more information, call 455-8722.

2. I AM… Conquela, age 10: I am wearing a blue-flowered dress. I am pretty. I am scared of the dark. I am quiet because I am shy. I am shy because I want to be. I am going to be a doctor when I grow up because I like to help people. I am wishing I was at Laser Quest right now. I am a basketball fan.

Patrick, age 10: I am a boy. I am wearing black pants. I am a Libra. I am a big brother of three younger kids. I am a loud mouth in class. I am worried for my grandmother because she had a heart attack. I am a white person. I am a fast runner. I am a good climber. I am a good bike rider. I am a good Nintendo player. I am an A.D.D child. I am fine with it. I am a smart kid.

Mikaela, age 8: I am a girl. I am an owner of three cats and two dogs. I am the owner of a horse. I am hopeful that I am going home. I am hoping to be a doctor.

Michelet, teen aide, age 17: I am from Haiti. I am missing the most about Haiti the weather and my grandparents. I am remembering that when I first came to Spokane, it was very cold. I said to my parents, “I want to go back to Haiti.” I am now used to Spokane. It has been two years. I am not afraid anymore of the snow or cold. I am really liking my summer job at Martin Luther King Center. I am having fun working with the children. I am going to be in 12th grade at Joel. E. Ferris next year.

Dayneisha, age 9: I am a girl. I am pretty. I am wearing a dress. I am scared of the dark. I am a big sister. I am one of six kids. I am the smartest. I am going to be in the fourth grade. I am going to be a judge when I grow up. I am embarrassed when I have to talk in front of people. I am sad about my teddy bear being dirty. I am worried about my dad dying before I grow up. I am hopeful because I don’t have bad dreams anymore. I am proud of myself.

Tyson, age 9: I am a boy. I am wearing a Taz shirt. I am a fast runner. I am a basketball player. I am a Cowboys fan. I am a brother. I am a cousin. I am the owner of a dog named Lad. I am hopeful for a new home. I am going to be a basketball player when I grow up.

Satirhea, teen aide, age 16: I am an outgoing person. I am the youngest of three. I am a loving person. I am going to be a junior. I am a volleyball and basketball player. I am going to move out of this town because this city has nothing to do for people my age. I am hopeful that I will get a college scholarship. I am going to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. I am going to be a lawyer because I like to help people and I like to argue.

Jeana, age 10: I am wearing a pink-flowered blouse. I am a good kid in class. I am a foster child. I am sad about that. I am sad about my mom. I am going to go live with my aunt in Idaho. I am happy because she has a pool and trampoline. I am sad about my great-grandmother dying. I am worried about camp because I do not want to drown.

These 2 sidebars appeared with the story:

1. GRADUATION The public is invited to attend the Summer Youth Academy graduation on Thursday Aug. 21 at 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 318 S. Cedar. For more information, call 455-8722.

2. I AM… Conquela, age 10: I am wearing a blue-flowered dress. I am pretty. I am scared of the dark. I am quiet because I am shy. I am shy because I want to be. I am going to be a doctor when I grow up because I like to help people. I am wishing I was at Laser Quest right now. I am a basketball fan.

Patrick, age 10: I am a boy. I am wearing black pants. I am a Libra. I am a big brother of three younger kids. I am a loud mouth in class. I am worried for my grandmother because she had a heart attack. I am a white person. I am a fast runner. I am a good climber. I am a good bike rider. I am a good Nintendo player. I am an A.D.D child. I am fine with it. I am a smart kid.

Mikaela, age 8: I am a girl. I am an owner of three cats and two dogs. I am the owner of a horse. I am hopeful that I am going home. I am hoping to be a doctor.

Michelet, teen aide, age 17: I am from Haiti. I am missing the most about Haiti the weather and my grandparents. I am remembering that when I first came to Spokane, it was very cold. I said to my parents, “I want to go back to Haiti.” I am now used to Spokane. It has been two years. I am not afraid anymore of the snow or cold. I am really liking my summer job at Martin Luther King Center. I am having fun working with the children. I am going to be in 12th grade at Joel. E. Ferris next year.

Dayneisha, age 9: I am a girl. I am pretty. I am wearing a dress. I am scared of the dark. I am a big sister. I am one of six kids. I am the smartest. I am going to be in the fourth grade. I am going to be a judge when I grow up. I am embarrassed when I have to talk in front of people. I am sad about my teddy bear being dirty. I am worried about my dad dying before I grow up. I am hopeful because I don’t have bad dreams anymore. I am proud of myself.

Tyson, age 9: I am a boy. I am wearing a Taz shirt. I am a fast runner. I am a basketball player. I am a Cowboys fan. I am a brother. I am a cousin. I am the owner of a dog named Lad. I am hopeful for a new home. I am going to be a basketball player when I grow up.

Satirhea, teen aide, age 16: I am an outgoing person. I am the youngest of three. I am a loving person. I am going to be a junior. I am a volleyball and basketball player. I am going to move out of this town because this city has nothing to do for people my age. I am hopeful that I will get a college scholarship. I am going to Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia. I am going to be a lawyer because I like to help people and I like to argue.

Jeana, age 10: I am wearing a pink-flowered blouse. I am a good kid in class. I am a foster child. I am sad about that. I am sad about my mom. I am going to go live with my aunt in Idaho. I am happy because she has a pool and trampoline. I am sad about my great-grandmother dying. I am worried about camp because I do not want to drown.

Wordcount: 966

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