Sunday, July 24, 2011

Trenton Youth Learn The Art of Business From Magician

LAWRENCE-- Local students from Trenton area schools learn the fundamentals of business and entrepreneurship from magician during Rider University's summer program Minding Our Business (MOB). Thursday afternoon, around 30 students from Hedgepeth Williams, Trenton Charter, Dunn, and other schools came together as magician and motivational speaker Frank Kennedy shared his tricks and pearls of wisdom.

From reaching your potential to doing what you love and using your imagination, Kennedy made entrepreneurship come alive to these youngsters with his magic. During his presentation, Kennedy said that despite what  conventional wisdom says,  money can grow on trees. Students in the audience saw his point and said that money does indeed grow on trees because there are many people out there that can and do make money by selling fruits that grow on trees or by selling paper, which comes from trees.

During the 14 day summer program, MOB students take part in coaching sessions, entrepreneurship classes, book club meetings, and math groups with the purpose of training Trenton youth to be tomorrow's business leaders. The program has been in existence for 15 years and is run by Dr. Sigfredo Hernandez, MOB's founder and director.

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Dr. Sigfredo Hernandez at (609) 895-5509.

Please see videos below:

Trentonians March To The Beat of A Different DRUMM

TRENTON-- Hometown musicians perform at Cadwalader Park during Trenton's Fifth Annual Musicians Reunion this Saturday. Families, friends, and music lovers were on hand to take in this free event sponsored by the Developmental Roundtable for the Upward Mobility of Musicians other wise known as DRUMM. In a city plagued with crime and violence, members of DRUMM have visions of having Trenton youth play musical instruments instead of wielding guns. Funds raised by the reunion will go toward the opening a music school and raising music awareness. 

During the reunion, event goers had their choice of funnel cake, hot dogs, fish, and much more from local vendors. The Trenton Jazz Ensemble, Kim Miller of Instant Funk, along with Trenton native Clifford Adams of Kool And The Gang fame were just a few of the many that performed Saturday. Renditions of feel good songs like Celebrate Good Times by Kool And The Gang and Let's Get It On by Motown's Marvin Gaye were there for people to listen and dance to.

Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate--  was on hand to take in the atmosphere and talk to event goers. One performer, The Truth, said that the reunion is important because it brings entertainment back to the city. Gregory Dixon, a city man, said that it was great to see all the people he grew up with performing on stage. Ms. Washington, a vendor at the reunion said the event was beautiful, she received a lot of business. Brenda Evans-Jackson, committee member for the Trenton African American Pride Festival, said that she enjoyed the show because the music was refreshing to hear. Another vendor, Allen Harrison, said that despite the low turnout, he would come out to the event just for the music. Many event attendees reported that the low turnout was due to the heat.

Please see videos below:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

MOB Kicks Off Summer Session II

LAWRENCE-- Rider University's enrichment program Minding Our Business (MOB) held its second parent/student orientation for the summer this past Sunday. Families came in droves to learn more about the 14 day spring and summer program designed to train Mercer County youth to be tomorrow's business leaders. 
Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- was on hand to get input from the parents in the audience. One parent, Toby Sanders, said that he wanted his son, Aaron, in the MOB program because he found that summer programs like MOB are both fun and enriching. 

Another parent, Angela Lea, said her daughter Arleana, participated in the MOB program last year and was back to learn and have fun. Last year, Tatiyana won second place in the business plan competition. Her business idea was to sell cosmetics.

William Tabron said his son Will is coming back for his second year in the summer program because he loves it. As a past participant in the MOB program, Will created a business where barbecue sauce is sold. 

Another parent, Antoinese Bethea said her youngest daughter, Kyara, is participating in the summer program this year. Bethea's older daughter also took part in the program five years ago. She is currently a junior in high school that has plans to go to college.

Students from Trenton Charter, Hedgepeth Williams, Dunn, and other schools were selected to be in the program. MOB's first session ended two weeks ago. During that session, Patience, a Liberian girl, ended up walking away with first prize in the program's business plan competition. She won $150. Her business plan revolved around fashion and clothing. 

The program's director, Dr. Sigfredo Hernandez, said MOB is important because it helps inner city youth close the achievement gap in education. The achievement gap in education refers to a disparity in reading and math levels between inner city kids and suburbanites. During the orientation, math teacher and Rider student Mike Wallenburg made it a point to mention how challenging the program is due to the great amount of homework each student would have to do. However, he also said that with a little effort and commitment each student can succeed in the program. 

For more information on how to get involved, please contact Dr. Sigfrido Hernandez at (609) 895-5509.

Please see videos below:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Poetry Goes Spiritual At Trenton Bookstore

TRENTON-- Area residents head to Classics Bookstore located on Warren Street in Downtown Trenton Saturday afternoon to take in and enjoy spiritual spoken word from Camden native and spoken word artist Tracey Fluellen. During her talk, Fluellen told her gripping story or childhood rape and incest. 

The spoken word artist said that her father raped her at the age of 12 and went on to have his child when she was only 16 years old. She also said one of her sons was sexually assaulted as an infant. However, Fluellen shows no sign of bitterness and resentment. She said that were it not for what happened to her, she would have never been in the position to help others gain their freedom. 

The event also speaks to a larger issue of incest in mainstream society. Fluellen points out that incest is rarely, if ever, discussed openly because so many people are fearful about coming forward. Victims think they will be disbelieved, blamed, or punished if they report the abuse. Moreover, the perpetrator involved may hold a position of power and authority which influences the victim to remain silent despite the pain and suffering they experience. However, Fluellen hopes to reverse that trend by sharing with others her incredible story of breakthrough and triumph. 

According to a study done by leading researcher, David Finckelhor, 1,000,000 Americans are victims of father-daughter incest. However, cases of incest often go under-reported. 

Event attendees were invited to share poetry of their own. One city man, Todd Evans, recited two of his pieces. Topics ranging from hip hop to inner city struggles were on display Saturday afternoon at the local bookstore. Children and adults alike were in attendance. 

Classics Bookstore owner, Laurice Reynolds, said, events like these are important because they bring a lot of people downtown. Classics has regular community events, to learn more about them feel free to contact Eric Maywar at (609) 394-8000.

Please see videos below:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trenton's MOB Kids Have Plans To Win

LAWRENCE-- Trenton youth head to Rider University to engage in a business plan competition Thursday evening. These local teenagers are part of Rider University's College of Business Administration program called Minding Our Business (MOB). During this summer program, middle school aged Trenton youth are taught the importance of entrepreneurship and business. This is the program's fifteenth year in existence. 

During the competition, one student, Patience, showed the audience of parents, friends, and family her fashion business. Another student, Tyrek Ware, had a rib and kabob business plan. Another student, Sierra, sold tutu dresses for young ladies. Another student, Ryan, was in the business of selling candied apples for those with a sweet tooth. While yet another student, Wilmarilys, was all about providing customers with all sorts of unique jewelry. 

One by one, Trenton youngsters went on stage to demonstrate their presentations skills and articulate their business plans. Each MOB student took questions from the panel of judges on hand Thursday evening. Judges represented companies all the way from Sam's Club, Wal Mart to Capitol City Contracting. During the Q&A session, one student was asked what was in his secret sauce, but he responded that he was sworn to secrecy because he didn't want to lose his competitive advantage.

This year, the program received its largest donation from Wal-Mart in the amount of $43,000. 

A Liberian girl by the name of Patience eventually walked away with the first prize of $125, other MOB students walked away with $50 gift cards. 
For more information on how to get involved please contact Dr. Sigfrido Hernandez at 609-895-5509.

Please see videos below:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trentonians Show Their Heritage This Weekend

TRENTON-- Tourists and Trentonians alike head to the city's annual Heritage Day Festival for music, food, and fellowship this past weekend. The funnel cake was smelling good, the fish was freshly fried, and the music soothed the soul. Children were playing and couples were dancing Sunday afternoon as there were live bands, inflatable playgrounds, and African drums.

 The event was sponsored and coordinated by the city's Office of Cultural Affairs. The festival was held in the city's Mill Hill Park Sunday afternoon. A cultural highlight for the state's capital city, the Heritage Day Festival started this weekend and ended today. However, Heritage Day did not start off this way. It originally began 33 years ago as a pot luck run by local civic organizations. The city's mayor Tony Mack said Heritage Day is a time of fun and a time to showcase your heritage.

Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- was on hand to receive festival goer feedback.

James Royale, a local musician, said this Heritage Day was better than other years because there was a greater variety of entertainment available. However, Baye Kemet, head of Trenton's Marcus Garvey School, said the event was seriously lacking the energy Heritage Days have had in the past. Tyrone Riley, a city man, said that despite the event being smaller than previous Heritage Day Festivals, it was just as enjoyable as years past. Ballsey, a city man and musician, said that he enjoyed this year's event because it wasn't cramped up as previous years. Monique, a Bordentown resident, said she just so happened to stumble upon the event as she was driving by and said that she enjoyed the festival because she liked seeing all the kids and families together in a positive atmosphere. 

Please see videos below:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kool And The Gang's Trombonist Clifford Adams Plays At Downtown Trenton Cafe

TRENTON-- Well-known trombonist Clifford Adams of Kool and The Gang performed at Cafe International in Downtown Trenton Friday night. Yesterday, Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- visited the Cafe's Jazz Night hosted by the Unknown Poet, a popular spoken word artist and performer from the Trenton community.

Both Adams and the Unknown Poet hit the stage in what would turn out to be a very cool and jazz-like experience. The setting embodied the very essence of jazz with its smooth yet upbeat atmosphere. The aroma of freshly cooked fish and baked macaroni and cheese were simmering in the air. From firsthand experience, I can tell you the vibe was incredible, you couldn't help but bob your head and tap your feet as Adams and the Unknown Poet performed. Adams was assisted by James Stewart on the saxophone, Dan Kestelink on the the organ, and Joe Brown on drums.

During the show, audience members were also invited to come to the stage and perform a song, make an announcement, or recite a poem. Members of the audience also won prizes. For a fun and entertaining night out on the town, head on over to Cafe International Friday, August 5th for their next Jazz Night and you will surely experience great jazz music, spoken word, food, and positive vibrations.. Fun, safe, and positive vibes, you can't go wrong.

Sandy, an area resident, came with her friend and said that she enjoyed the show because the saxophonist Johnny Stewart was amazing. Hassan Abdullah, a city man, said the show was great because he loves "grown folks music". Karen Seals, a Bordentown resident, said she had a ball at the show and that she loved Clifford Adams and the Unknown Poet because she has followed them for years.

Please see videos of the event below:

A Day In The Life of Trenton's MOB Program

LAWRENCE-- Trenton area youth meet at Rider University this summer to learn more about the world of business. Wednesday morning, Anwar's Reflections-- a Trentonian affiliate-- sat in on the summer program, Minding Our Business (MOB), sponsored by Rider University's College of Business Administration. The purpose of the program is to give inner city youth the opportunity to learn business and entrepreneurial skills.

To start the day off, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from Trenton Public Schools were asked to convene for the morning roll call and snack at 8:30 am. From there, the youngsters were given their morning quiz. Once the quiz ended, students were split up into teams and sent off to either their entrepreneurship class, their math course, or the reading class. The kids that completed all their assignments were then given the chance to play and have fun in the university's pool.

During the program, one student, Jordan, said he planned on creating a toy business. Another student, Paris, said she was going to create a business where you can get affordable socks and headbands. Another student said that she had thoughts of creating a business where you customers can get a taste of homemade cookies and milkshakes.

Entrepreneurship coach Kevin Wortham challenged yet encouraged the students to create a business plan that would grabs people's attention and give them a competitive advantage. Math teacher, Mr. Mike, spoke to students about the importance of good record keeping and organization. Reading specialist Martha Higginbotham encouraged students to open up and share their experiences being an inner city youth.

The program is still in process. They are having a market fair at PJ Hill School Saturday, July 9th. The school is located at 1010 East State Street, Trenton, New Jersey. If you would like to get involved, feel free to contact Dr. Sigfrido Hernandez at 609-896-5509.

Please see videos of what I observed Wednesday during the program:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Recall Supporters Say It’s not racial, It’s not personal, It’s business

TRENTON— In light of recent events surrounding racial epithets being uttered at a signature gathering event in the West Ward, the Committee to Recall Mayor Tony F. Mack decided to convene Wednesday evening at the Turning Point Church in Trenton.

The committee decided to meet in direct response to a recent video recorded incident involving Kevin Moriarty, a volunteer for the Committee to Recall Tony F. Mack that was verbally threatened by Mack supporters while attempting to gather signatures Fourth of July weekend at a West Ward convenience store.  Racial slurs were also lodged at Moriarty. He has subsequently filed a harassment claim against the three individuals involved and requested an apology from the mayor by email.

In light of Saturday’s event, recall supporter Aida Winbush stated that the committee is not afraid and that they will not be stopped by what happened at the petition drive. She said, “The drive was successful and we will continue to proceed with all the recall duties. Intimidation will not be tolerated”.

Community activist Darren Freedom Green said what happened this past Saturday was an “atrocity”. He went on to take the mayor to task for not publicly repudiating the racial comments made by Mack supporters. Throughout the meeting, the point was made to dispel any notion once and for all that this recall effort is based on race, and not the mayor's poor track record and inability to lead.

Recall committee member, Joann Caroline Dent Clark, said the mayor’s “missteps and bad decisions have the potential to cost the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawsuits, fines, and other charges, so when people say the recall is too expensive, not recalling is more expensive”.

She went on to say that, “it’s not racial, it’s not personal, it’s business”.

Committee members have voiced concerns that Mayor Mack's leadership decisions have caused property taxes to rise and worsened Trenton’s already negative image. The committee was asked how many signatures they currently have. Craig Shofed, a committee spokesperson, said they don't have exact numbers as of yet because they are still validating the signatures, making sure they are registered voters.

Recall opponents suggest that Mayor Mack was duly elected into office and should be given a full term (4 years) to turn the city around. They insist that the recall effort is a purely personal matter led by disgruntled residents that have been slighted in some way by this administration.

Please see videos below: