Happy Birthday Mr. Nelson!

On behalf of Sesame Flyers Board of Directors, the Chairman Mr. Luke, the Membership, and Staff we would like to extend warm wishes to our Executive Director, Mr. Curtis Nelson, on the occasion of his birthday. We appreciate his leadership, dedication, and hard work in advancing the organization's mission and goals. Mr. Nelson's commitment to serving the community, particularly young people, has made a significant impact and inspired many.

We wish him good health, happiness, and continued success in his personal and professional endeavors. Sesame Flyers International, Inc. looks forward to celebrating many more birthdays with Mr. Nelson and working together to create positive change in the community. Happy birthday, Mr. Nelson!

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Cultural Center / Saturday Program
3510 Church Avenue . Brooklyn . NY 11203
Phone: 718-693-0500 | Fax: 718-693-2007
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Winthrop Beacon
905 Winthrop Street . Brooklyn . NY 11203
Phone: 718-221-8880 | Fax: 718-693-2007 
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Center Of Family Support

1060 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11212
Phone: 718-221-8881 | Fax: 718-693-2007 
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Bildersee Beacon
956 East 82nd Street . Brooklyn . NY 11203
Phone: 718-241-3847 | Fax: 718-693-2007 
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Clarkson Compass
1060 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11212
Phone: 718-693-0500 | Fax: 718-693-2007
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Newsletter Issue #73
MARCH 2023



Congratulations to Sesame Flyers International Youth Dance Ensemble.

Sesame Flyers International Youth Dance Ensemble is presently competing in the SEMI-FINALS of the DYCD STEP IT UP COMPETITION.  DYCD's Step It Up NYC initiative began in 2009 as a youth engagement program focused on fusing the passion to move with the drive to create change. The aim of the initiative is to leverage the performing arts to build community leadership capacity in young people ages 10-20.


Executive Director's Message

March is here and I’m thrilled to celebrate Women’s History Month in this edition of the newsletter. We want to take a moment to recognize and celebrate the essential role that women have played in shaping Sesame Flyers International and our communities at large. We are committed to highlighting the contributions of women and creating spaces that uplift and empower them.

We also have exciting updates about our upcoming programs and events. The Summer Youth Employment program is now open and planning for our annual Caribbean Essence Awards and Showcase is well underway! Recently we had the honor of participating in the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic, and Asian legislative caucus in Albany. As part of our representation, we provided Steel Pan entertainment for Caribbean night. It was an incredible opportunity for us to connect with other community advocates and promote our shared mission for our youth and community.

March is also a time that I can reflect and be in gratitude for another year of life. I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to continue serving our community. Your support and dedication to Sesame Flyers have been instrumental in helping us create a positive impact on the lives of those around us. I look forward to continuing this journey with you and working towards a better future for us all.

Women's History Month

The Women’s History theme for March 2023 is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories.” Some of us can recall the earliest female story tellers in our families as our grandmothers, mothers, and aunts. They often beamed with pride while passing down the traditional beliefs and practices of our ancestors. We who have benefited from these priceless teachings are now passing them on to future generations.

In our professional lives, we too have the ability to help women and girls tell their stories. At Sesame Flyers International, Inc., staff with direct client contact are certainly performing the latter. The Beacon and Compass programs’ participants are learning to tell their stories via the arts: dance, poetry, painting and music to name a few. The Center for Family Support clients are learning to tell their own stories, some for a positive outcome, via counseling and other supportive case management services.

According to the National History Women’s Alliance, “Women’s stories, and the larger human story, expand our understanding and strengthen our connections with each other”. Sesame Flyers International, Inc., remains committed to strengthening those connections within the communities and families we serve. Happy Women’s History Month to all women everywhere. May we continue to use our voices to tell our stories and pass on those priceless traditions!

Ms. Janet Cummings: A Living Legend of Sesame Flyers International, Inc.

We recently had the privilege of interviewing Ms. Janet Cummings, a founding member and current board member who introduced the idea of incorporating Calypso music and culture into Sesame Flyers’ programming. The interview is part of a larger project in celebration of our 40th anniversary and will be released soon. With the support of the organization's leadership, Ms. Cummings developed a Calypso program that included workshops, performances, and educational components, which quickly gained popularity and became a signature feature of Sesame Flyers' offerings.

Ms. Cummings' vision and dedication in bringing Calypso to Sesame Flyers had a significant impact, providing a platform for cultural expression and helping to bridge gaps between different communities, promoting understanding and appreciation for diverse cultures. As we celebrate four decades of serving the community, we want to express our deepest gratitude to you, Ms. Cummings. Your unwavering dedication to Sesame Flyers International has been invaluable, and your vision and leadership have been instrumental in our success.

Meet Michelle Sixto: The Heart of Gold Volunteer Making a Difference"

Meet Michelle Sixto, a true superhero with a heart of gold! This inspiring mother of three has fought and conquered breast cancer, and now uses her experiences to help others. Not content with simply surviving, Michelle is also a dedicated youth leader who is passionate about community involvement and youth development.

Last year, Michelle joined our volunteer group, team Sunshine and since then, Michelle has been an active volunteer at community events such as the Breast Cancer Walk, the Holiday Toy Drive and Giveaway, and the youth leadership events. She understands the importance of role models in shaping the lives of young people and is proud to be part of organizations like Sesame Flyers.

With a heart full of love and a determination to serve, Michelle is an inspiration to all those around her. Her story is a powerful reminder that anything is possible with the right attitude and support system. We can all learn something from her example and strive to make a difference in our own communities.

Don't Miss Your Chance: Apply for the Summer Youth Employment Program 2023!

It is that time once again! Applications are open for New York’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), the nation’s largest youth employment program. New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 receive the opportunity to gain paid work experience while exploring various career paths. Sesame Flyers, one of SYEP’s providers, is hoping to gain motivated, talented, and inquisitive young people to join their Summer Youth cohort! It's essential to act quickly, as the application period closes on March 31, and spots fill up fast. If you or you know of someone who may be interested, please contact Keisha Sydney - ksydney@sesameflyers.org 

The application to become an SYEP 2023 Worksite is available. Please get started using the link https://worksitepreapp.nycsyep.com/

Clarkson Compass Black History Showcase

On Thursday February 16th Clarkson Compass rocked the Lamad Academy charter school Black History Showcase. The community of East Flatbush is still talking about the magnificent performances showcased by Sesame Flyers Clarkson Compass after-school program. From poems, to cultural dances, songs sung by brave Sesame Flyers participants and stage props created by our skillful middle schoolers, this show was nothing less than amazing. Led by our patient and passionate instructors we can say “One in the history books” Great Job Clarkson Compass!!!

Bildersee Beacon Black History Extravaganza

On Friday February 17, 2023 we had our Black History show case at Beacon Bildersee Program. Our kids worked hard to put on an amazing show to display different dances from our culture from all over the world. We also had drummers and dancers showcasing sweet sound and dances from Africa with Endless Vibrationz.

Mr. Shawndy's Dance Group did an amazing Jazz dance incorporated with some 70’s hip hop and tiktok moves. We had powerful and inspirational speeches from both our boys and girls. Not to mention our boys step team that made a statement in every step they took.

Our younger students sang songs to acknowledge our ancestors who’ve paved the way for us today. I am so proud of all the hard work our instructors, students and our counselors in training put in when it comes to “making things happen” and pulling of an amazing show.


Black Excellence Showcase

To highlight Black History & Women’s History months, the Sesame Flyers International Winthrop Beacon presented Black Excellence on Saturday, March 4, 2023. The show featured performances by Beacon after-school, evening & Saturday participants. Not only did the participants show up and show out, but they were also able to learn & show their history in their own way.

One of the main highlights of the Black Excellence showcase was the SFI Youth Dance Ensemble. These young ladies recently auditioned for DYCDs Step It Up competition. The focus for this year is celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop & Social Change. We are delighted to say that out of 53 teams, the SFI Youth Dance Ensemble is 1 of 25 teams to make it to the semi-finals.

SFI Winthrop Beacon’s Black Excellence showcase truly exemplified what our children can do when given the platform.

Build your Business and Serve the Community - Be a 2023 SYEP Worksite

Do your part to give a young person the experience of a lifetime. Entrepreneurs, small and large have an opportunity to show youth ages 16-24 how to establish good work habits and learn what it means to run a business. Hosting a young person this summer for six weeks from July 5 to August 12 for 25 hours per week can make a life changing impact.

Participants who are randomly selected by a lottery are matched with a worksite for the summer in a variety of industries from health care to finance. The SYEP program is a success because local businesses have shared their knowledge and wisdom while connecting our young people to the benefits of a good work ethic.

Last summer 100,000 young people across the City were able to participate and receive a stipend or earn minimum wage during the six-week program. 36 per cent of all participants were Brooklyn residents and 56 per cent of all participants were between the ages of 16 to 19. Over 900 youth aged 14-21 submitted applications to Sesame Flyers. Youth from the East Flatbush, Crown Heights, Canarsie, and East New York neighborhoods selected our agency as their provider for this very special summer.

The 610 Participants enrolled by Sesame Flyers International engaged in a combination of in person, hybrid, and virtual work readiness assignments or, synchronous and asynchronous career exploration exercises. Special attention was given to providing teens with the tools necessary to cultivate healthy social and emotional relationships and bolster mental health awareness.

Sponsored by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, under the leadership of its new Commissioner, Keith Howard, the SYEP program is known for its innovative web based application and payroll systems for the participants which are accessible through mobile devices. SYEP Participants are issued payroll cards and those who have bank accounts are paid through direct deposit. The digital resources of Hats and Ladders for career exploration, YDI for the Project Based Learning and Workplace Challenge curricula complement the work based experience. Last summer participants had access to Metro cards for the first time in the program’s history. 94 per cent of participants enjoyed their SYEP experience and would recommend it to a friend or relative. We acknowledge the agency’s extraordinary efforts in creating the climate that supports our youth as they build their careers. We look forward to working with DYCD as it continues to innovate and deliver quality work opportunities for the youth of our City.

This summer we hope to provide our Older Youth with a variety of work readiness experiences that include in person, virtual, and hybrid assignments in the community as well as opportunities to complete Professional Training and Development though the Hats & Ladders portal.

Youth aged 14 and 15 participate in Project Based Learning experiences related to growing industries. Here they develop the soft skills required for success including team work, creativity, time management, and customer service. Youth who participate in the Project Based experiences may earn up to $700 in stipends.

If you own a local business, you can provide an in person, virtual, or hybrid work experience to a young person that will last a lifetime. Worksite applications are available now, you may get started with the online pre app here. Contact sfisyep@sesameflyers.org  for a hardcopy application. The worksite application deadline is May 26, 2023. For more information, click the DYCD link.


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