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Thomas Mercer

Thomas Mercer and his nephew Randy Higgins“Gets kids off the streets and educates them in a lot of different stuff. Teaches them how to work as a team and in a group, how to express themselves and go beyond the image. Randy wants his independence and the program allows him to interact with different people and ideas getting away from the stereotypes about the ghetto.”

Mrs. Morales

Mrs. Morales with her daughter Lynette

“It makes her [Lynette] more relaxed, happy, and at ease. I am very glad she can have these experiences and that she has Ms. Siegel and Ms. Kymbali to speak to.”

Lynette Morales

“At first I thought it was just an acting group but then when we went to visit with elders I knew it was much more.  When you learn more about the past, you think more about the future.  We get to connect to an elder and I saw myself there. It makes me happy.  I love being around everyone at Bailey’s Café.”

Anival Barrett

Anival BarretBailey’s Café is important to the community because the older vets can only get the message so far…gives kids the opportunity to be a part of a positive change. It takes kids to relate to other kids. The inter-generational aspect brings it all together – young people have to be the ones to bring the message forward. Needed to take the message to other communities wherever children are the cannon fodder for the military our youth have to take the message forward.”

Michael Palo

Michael Palo

“Wonderful experience to work with youth…this experience has been one of the best I have ever had – I love theater and young people and educating young people. We learn from them just like they learn from us – we share our stories and they take them into their own lives.”

Herbert Sweat

Herbert SweatBailey’s Café is a life giving force of my tomorrows. Re-generation of ourselves portraying the truth of the whole matter – the veteran is not going to return from war and tell his story – it has to be “released” from him and Bailey’s Café is an agent for that release – we told our stories in our own words and they related them back to us. We have adopted Bailey’s Café into the Black Veterans for Social Justice to the depths of our souls and all that comes from a soul-they gave us a new temperance on how we are to live our lives. Bailey’s Café is embedded in the Black Veteran’s soul and we hope to never lose sight of their dream.”

Julian Jeremiah

Julian JeremiahBailey’s Café freed me to my self expression; helped me become comfortable with other people; helped me to be considerate of other people and what they have been through. Standing in the elder’s stories, understanding their struggle, things are much easier for us – I no longer so quickly take things for granted. Bailey’s Café is a life changing experience great for everyone, any age group or race.”

Yvonnette Fleming

Yvonette Fleming“When I started working with the youth of Bailey’s there was a certain brilliance – a communication-the problems of food, media, differences in our culture-we were able to share a connection to these things…it gave me hope that all of the work on these issues being done in the community could be moved on and they are receiving it; they are willing to deal with these issues on their own level.”

Aubrey Semple

Aubrey SempleBailey’s Café is not all about community growth but also about personal growth. Bailey’s taught me how to believe in myself, like when I played in the band. It was so long since I picked up a drum stick and suddenly there I was playing in front of an audience. This taught me not to forget the things I have done…Bailey’s needs a home so I can go to that place to learn to be a better cook, speak with elders, work on community issues, make music and share stories.”

Lydia Baird

Lydia Baird“More than after school – we got paid but I am not there for that – it is life changing. You may not know your talent until you come to Bailey’s Café where it will be brought out of you.”

James Beca

James BecaBailey’s has changed my life. Now I think before I act. I get to learn new things – once you learn new things, you have to step up. I take Bailey’s as my career. I am in a safer place. The elders like to see us doing something positive – reach one, teach one – from that learning you can start a lot of things. Helps us to build a better relationship. More experience in dealing with elders has helped with my relationship with my parents.”

Julia Johnson Peterkin

Julia Johnson Peterkin

“When they learn about what our lives were like and compare it to what their lives are like today, they can learn from it – we had to grow and they will have to grow and they will grow with it.”

Leonora Clarke

Leonora Clark“James didn’t smile (when I first met him); he was very serious. He told me different things about his home life. I thought to myself its kind of tough…Now he has that great smile; it is a pleasure to see him. Very important the seniors with the young people – see how intertwined it can be. James has leadership qualities now. He knows his job and what he needs to do.”

Tabitha Cadet

Tabitha Cadet“We are pushing to meet somewhere in the middle (youth and elders) so we can just become one community…we have drifted as a people…we are pushing for something better in the community”

Rudolph Thomas

Rudolph Thomas“This is my second time being with this group and I never expected i would have been doing what I was doing – thought I would just come and observe-here i am acting. It is like therapy, like group therapy it fits in there somewhere. It is a great opportunity to work with young people.”

Emmanuel Kolajo

Emmanuel KolajoBailey’s helps the young people develop discipline, a sense of respect and a sense of understanding. The door is open for them to walk through.”

Erick Pericles

Erick Pericles“Now I am more connected and more decisive. I want to be strong and have my voice heard, to be more articulate and stand up for myself.”

Cory Primo

Cory Primo“I did not know anything about theater and the arts until I met Ms. Kymbali.  Now I have picked up some of her attributes and I am able to lead the group in warm ups and other theater games.  Bailey’s Café is more than an arts program in that it helps you further your growth emotionally, spiritually, and every way.”