Uptown Summer '16


07/05/2016 - 08/05/2016    
4:00 am

Now in our 6th year of collaboration with Rensselaer County Summer Youth Employment, Uptown Summer is a 5-week program that gives voice to North Troy’s teens.

For 2016, our Youth Media Sanctuary producers created four documentary portraits on the theme of abandoned buildings in their economically devastated neighborhoods. “Jerry’s House,” by Kai Griffin, Bryanna Mangual, Diajah Grier, Milan Miles, and Andrew Pintro, tells the story of a family forced out of a deteriorating rental “now abandoned”, with a happy ending of owning a home. “Safer than Yemen?” by Bryan Mangual, Rachel Lord, and Arianna Young, explores violence through the lens of a corner bodega, opened by 1920s Italian immigrants, now transferred to Yemeni owners. Orange and Lex,” by Shatora Buckman, Jahsendah Dann, and Ayisha Menko, shares a razed childhood neighborhood. “Sadie’s Grandma’s House,” by Sadie Anson, recounts restoring a vacant building into a loving home. “Abandoned Building Haikus” were also created, in collaboration with the “Breathing These Words” poetry workshop. Produced by Media Mentors Jamel Mosely, Kathy High, and Branda Miller.

Meet our ten summer youth employees!












Our ten students worked as Neighborhood Storytellers and Environmental Stewards. Each day, we held a planning meeting, then spent the morning working greening our block in the Collard City Growers gardens. At lunch we ate healthy meals that feature our urban homegrown harvest, and our afternoons were spent producing original media.

For many of our teens, Uptown Summer is their first workplace experience and they are confronted with adult professional expectations for the first time (arriving on time, working effectively, communicating clearly, etc.). Our youth work side-by-side with community leaders, media professionals, renowned artists, college professors, urban gardeners, nutritionists, local volunteers, and others. We work together to repair the environmental damage done to this block through years of neglect and industrial pollutants and to tell homegrown stories of hope and justice. We build confidence and broaden perspective. Our Uptown Summer participants are positive examples to their younger peers and able to invest what they learn back into their community.

This summer, Uptown Summer stories include:

  • Youth Media Sanctuary “Breathing Lights” workshop
  • Community PSAs (Drug Free Community Coalition)
  • North Troy People’s History Museum, with StoryCandles (NEA ARTWORKS “Urban Art Reclamations: Our Upper Hudson Heritage” with Brenda Ann Kenneally)
  • Public art works around environmental justice in North Troy
  • Spanish in the Gardens


Media Mentors:
Jamel Mosely
Kathy High
Branda Miller
Steve Pierce

Garden Mentors:
Christian Grigoraskos
Azure Keahi
Jillian Naveh

Sanctuary SYEP Coordinator: Alan Thorne

KitchenSanctuary Coordinator: Jonathan Segol 

Sanctuary Uptown Summer Interns:
Julia Cavicchi

Cleo Gordon

Eric Newton
Anton Nekhai

Jenna Kersten
Tae’sean Goodwin

Santuary TV:
Andrew Lynn
Troy Pohl