"We've carved out a niche that needs to be addressed. We're focused on under-served youth that sometimes fall through the cracks," said Ray Dancy, Executive Director of Serving All Vessels Equally (S.A.V.E).
Since 2002, Serving All Vessels Equally has been helping Norwalk's under-privileged youth stay off the streets and reach their full potential.
Olivia Dardy is a mentor with S.A.V.E. "It's about being attentive to those youth and not letting them slip through the cracks whether it be in education or where they are incarcerated."
Last month,the organization, which is an affiliate of the National Alliance of Faith & Justice, traveled to Florida with the largest group of mentors and mentees for a leadership summit.
Before joining S.A.V.E, Hazell Robinson had very been to Florida. "They had laterns and they would speak to you. Famous people had recorded their voices for the laterns and they spoke about hope and determination and it was really cool."
While at the summit, mentees and their mentors were able to get an up close look to the Kinsey Collection on display in the American Heritage Gallery at Epcot, Walt Disney World. The Kinsey Collection is a national touring exhibit of authentic and rare art, artifacts, books, documents and manuscripts that tell the untold story of African American achievement and contribution.
The guest-activated lanterns helped bring the history to life, with narration provided by Academy Award-winner Whoopi Goldberg ("The View"), Diane Sawyer ("ABC World News with Diane Sawyer"), and actors Chandra Wilson & James Pickens, Jr. ("Grey's Anatomy"), Kerry Washington ("Scandal"), Zendaya Coleman & Roshon Fegan ("Shake It Up"), China Anne McClain ("A.N.T. Farm"), Tyrel Jackson Williams ("Lab Rats").
"We experienced the Civil Rights Movement and we learned new things they haven't taught us in school," said Talana Thomas, one of the mentees.
"You met people from all over, you were educated especially about black history and you were able to identify some of the leaders and inventors that we had no clue existed because we don't learn that every day,"added Dardy.
The organization hopes to use their experience to reach more in the community.
"I have seen a lot of kids go down the wrong path. They either skip school or they are asleep during school and they aren't doing what they should be doing. I think that people need to come and learn more about this program and be involved so they can achieve and excel in school," said Cedric Thigpen, a mentee.
To learn more about the Kinsey Collection visit http://www.thekinseycollection.com
For more information about Serving All Vessels Equally contact: Ray Dancy, Executive Director (203) 979-1489 / firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them on Facebook.