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Inside the Purpose Lounge Model


The Purpose Lounge education through the arts, media literacy and mentoring model was created in 2003 to provide alternative social models to those presented by mainstream advertising and media, which is the primary media diet that influences the character of our young people, young adults and many others throughout the society. We present the inner-workings of multi-ethnic, multicultural, multi-generational historical models that explore people, groups and cultures who have made a way for themselves out of troubling, difficult, or seemingly insurmountable situations. Since it seems that society often presents limited options for overcoming adversity, especially for those who may not be easily adaptable to traditional means of self-empowerment, we believe that anyone could benefit from having better models for personal, familial and/or community development.

We have been instituting our program in a classroom workshop format at the Queens Satellite High School for Opportunity since early 2011, in a classroom setting during the school day. In 2008, it was originally added to the curricula on a limited basis for a year at the Urban Assembly School for Music and Art, Brooklyn. It was moved to Jamaica, Queens, NY, for two years as a stand alone workshop and had generated a number of dedicated students. During its final year as a workshop, in 2011, it transformed into more of a "big brother" and "finishing school model" that was a weekly 90-minute program to give focused attention to educate a small group of young adults, ranging in age from late teens to early twenties.

The program evolved in 2017 when we began working with the Bronx Academy of Letters teaching a theater / performance design class. It was originally co-taught with Lidia Ramirez, theater acting teacher. In 2018 it became a stand-alone class and has developed a number of programs including the BAL A/V Team that now has the responsibility to technically undergird all of the school assemblies as well as functioning as a media production arm for the school. Through media production the students learn to document the efforts and achievements of the student body. All of this, in addition to having the primary task of working with the theater acting class, provides multiple avenues for the students to explore academic and personal growth through the arts.

Developing peer-to-peer mentors is the underpinning of our guiding philosophy. We charge all of our students and program participants with the philosophy of empowering themselves to empower others. Our peer-to-peer mentor trainees thoroughly inhabit this philosophical premise. They proved their dedication to the program when they led an outreach effort at the Jamaica YMCA Teen Expo in 2011. The Purpose Lounge "P-Hut" was one of the most popular exhibits and was crowded with people until the expo closed. Only two other organizational booths out of over 20 had that distinction.

We are working to take the Purpose Lounge model everywhere that can use new ideas of how to utilize the untapped resources in their communities and to help remove the barriers that
have traditionally thwarted collaborative efforts. Purpose Lounge is a community grown organization that is designed to augment the ongoing efforts of entities already working in communities that are trying to bring the true potential of their communities to fruition. Our model works to bring community forces together to help them be more effective and responsive to the needs of the people they have dedicated themselves to serve.


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