By Tanya Pinto
This month’s Quaker Youth Leadership Conference (QYLC) hosted by Brooklyn Friends School and Mary McDowell Friends School, was yet again a successful, enlightening and memorable experience. This year’s theme was Bridging Communities. On Thursday, February 2nd thru Saturday, February 4th 2017, 140 Students and 45 Faculty from 21 Friends Schools from around the country and Ontario gathered together for 3 days of learning, service, worship and fun. The students participated in field trips around New York City, such as visits to The 9/11 Memorial and Tribute Center, The Brooklyn Historical Society, The New York City Transit Museum, The Museum of Jewish Heritage and The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts just to name a few.
A significant part of the QYLC involves community service outreach. In a diverse city like New York, students were able to participate in an array of Community outreach efforts including programs that address the environment, like the Gowanus Canal Conservancy; gun control, like Moms Against Gun Violence; protecting the LGBT community, with a visit to the Brooklyn Pride Center; the rights of the poor, with visits to Equality for Flatbush and The Metropolitan Council on Housing, among other service programs.
It was such an honor to be present for Niyonu Spann who was this year’s Keynote speaker. Ms. Spann is a compelling and sought-after speaker at conferences and commencement ceremonies. She has a gift for engaging her audience and started us off with teaching us a song about seeing through illusions. What an icebreaker! Connecting with the conference theme, she made us think about how we can help bridge that gap. Please click the link http://niyonuspann.com/ to learn more about Niyonu Spann and her many accomplishments.
Later that evening Andy Cohen, Director and Founder of the Bridge Film Festival presented to two short films from former Bridge Film festival winners who have gone on to become professional filmmakers, recognized by the Industry. Garrett Bradley, who entered the BFF in 2001 and won the Judges Choice Award for her film, “Be-Bop Fidelity.” Also, recent Emmy Award winner and former BFS alum, Matthew Gentile, who entered the BFF in 2008 with his film, “Twenty-Four-Hundred.” The QYLC were treated to “Field of Vision - Like” and “Heart of Sword” respectively and both short films were well received by all in attendance.
For more information about the QYLC2017 watch this BFS ENEWS Podcast (enhanced)