Amazing list of honorees at the Robert Stephens, Jr. Awards ceremony

Awards winnerss June 20, 2015 Seattle’s Central District came together to celebrate long time advocates for youth, arts, social justice, and stronger neighborhoods; honoring some of Seattle’s most legendary names.

“We selected men who personally impacted us. The men in the room are the ledges whose shoulder we stand on.” Said Garfield Community Center Director Andre Franklin. Another member of the advisory committee stated that seeing so many true community leaders in one place left them “in awe”.

The event was birthed from a partnership between B.U.I.L.D. (Brothers United In Leadership Development), Unified Outreach, and the Garfield Community Center Advisory Board; along with Seattle Parks, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and 4Culture.

The event featured a full buffet spread with home style chicken, macaroni, greens, and corn bread. An incredible meal that in itself was worthy of celebration.pic food

Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle2
Vicious Puppies aka Dog Pound

Music and MC duties were provided by DJ Surreal (aka George Yasutake), and guests were treated to a gravity defying performance from one of Seattle’s hottest breakdance groups, the Vicious Puppies (aka Dog Pound). Last month the Vicious Puppies brought their dramatic stage presentation of “Black and Blue” to the Neptune Theatre. The play brings social conscience and race relations to the front lines with a true-to-life story based on actual events. The play has received great reviews and the group is looking to expand the touring calendar throughout the summer. The Puppies have also played the main stage at the Sasquatch tour and other large venue events and are quickly becoming one of Seattle’s most in-demand groups.

Award Hampton
James Hampton receives his award.

Award honorees included well known community leaders who have served the people of Seattle for decades; as well as shining stars actively making a difference today.

The event recognized Mike Yasutake, John Yasutake, Gregory Davis, Aaron Dixon, Elmer Dixon, Bishop Ray Rogers, Steve Sneed, James Hampton, Reco Bembry, Guy Davis, and Larry Evans.

Each award recipient was introduced by someone who had a personal story of how the award winner had impacted their life.  The microphone was then handed to the award winner who then shared their own story about who had most impacted them.  The ceremony was full of humor and laughter, as well as somber moments and tears of gratitude.

IMG_20150620_115319 The afternoon culminated with the honoring and awarding of the new Robert Stephens, Jr. Community Service plaque which will hang in the Garfield Community Center.

Robert Stephens, Jr. has been a fixture in Seattle’s Central District for over 35 years. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Mr. Stephens, Jr. began serving the community after completing his tour in 1968. Mr. Stephens, Jr. has a Masters Degree in Education Psychology, is a K-12 teacher and school counselor, and has worked with Seattle Public Schools, Langston Hughes Cultural Art Center, Neighborhoods House, and Washington State Reformatory.

RSJ award
Robert Stephens, Jr.

Mr. Stephens, Jr. has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations and governmental advisory committees over the years; and has had a hand in the establishment of Odessa Brown Health Clinic, Madrona Dance Studio (now Spectrum), Medgar Evers Swimming Pool, and dozens of other programs that are now an established part of the community.

Mr. Stephens, Jr. has served as the President of the Central Area Neighborhood District Council; founded the Seattle Central Area Cultural Arts Commission, and helped in the creation of Homer Harris Park.IMG_20150620_115407

When presenting the award, Garfield Community Center Advisory Council Member David Toledo stated “When we began searching for someone that exemplified the community spirit; someone who was a true advocate for our youth, for the arts, and for the neighborhood; we all knew right away that it was time to honor Robert Stephens, Jr.”

-JP Scratches

Dramatic Leap for Local Dance Crew as “Black & Blue” Debuts at the Historic Neptune Theatre

Black and Blue Dan Haile Vicious Puppies Seattle  June 11th, 2015 Writer/Director Maximilian Meador-Stockstill brings the real-life police/teen interactions of Seattle residents to the stage in an entertaining combination of drama, suspense, humor, and dance.

Sammy Tekle shines as the main character who (although recently deceased) walks the audience through a series of emotional flashbacks which start with him hanging with his crew (which include some spectacular dance performances) and end with him being shot during a routine traffic stop.Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle2

Dan Haile has the audience in tears as he delivers the eulogy for his fallen friend; and Vicious Puppy (aka Dog Pound) members (Jonathan Higuchi, Binh Nguyen, Robert Eyerman, Justin Law, John Pham, Quan Nguyen) deliver a passionate back-and-forth debate regarding the role of police and how we as citizens should interact with them.Vicious Puppies Black and Blue Sammy Tekle Seattle

Black & Blue received a standing ovation and extremely positive feedback during the question & answer period following the performance. Writer/Director Maximilian Meador-Stockstill stated he would be interested in expanding the tour and all actors showed an interest in an extended run.

The Vicious Puppies (aka Dog Pound) continue their meteoric rise to celebrity status by expanding their already impressive resume which includes performances at the Paramount’s “Dance This!” and main stage performances at this Summer’s “Sasquatch” tour.

vpcrew

Seattle’s Dancing Dad is Artistic Dynamo!

Dance Point

October 2014 Seattle, WA – Recently a new Facebook challenge has caught fire, the “Daddy Daughter Dance Challenge” posted by David Toledo a few weeks ago has already received over 125K views and seems to be everywhere.  (see the video here: https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152736162737440&set=vb.683457439&type=2&theater

Daddy Daughter Challenge

In the video David Toledo and his 7-year old daughter Kiki match dance moves in an attempt to one-up each other and win the dance challenge.

The video is a great example of the love shared between a father and daughter and reminds us all to make time to do fun things with our kids, and as David’s Facebook post says, “Make memories with your children.”

David Toledo is from Seattle, Washington and was raised in North Seattle.  Due to Seattle Public School’s busing program of the 1980’s David attended Garfield High School in Seattle’s Central District his freshman-Junior year ~ to which David says was a blessing as it allowed him to grow artistically in such a arts-rich environment which was also home to Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix, and most recently Macklemore.

“I loved my time at Garfield.  I made some life-long friends and really grew as a person.  It was while at Garfield that I was introduced to the hip hop culture and most notably for me, the hip hop style of letter and character design.  I returned to the north end my senior year and graduated from Ingraham High School, but I am so thankful that I was able to attend Garfield for those crucial years.” David said.

The style of lettering and character design has played a large part in David’s adult life as he has become well known for his cartoon animation and comic book design classes.  A published artist, writer, and director, David splits his time between his professional career and volunteer services working with low income and at-risk youth through the Unified Outreach youth arts program. (www.UnifiedOutreach.com)

“My mother was a great example of a giving heart.  She actually started a food bank and emergency services hub from our home in North Seattle back in the early 1980’s.  She would prepare and deliver care packages, volunteer at soup kitchens, take in families that needed temporary housing…. She poured her heart into our neighborhood.  She showed us that love is an action word.”

Mom Closes 2   David’s mother (Alice) food bank article 1984.

“I try to live up to that.  God has blessed me with some artistic ability, and I try to use that to the best of my ability to inspire kids.  I came from a single mother household so I know some of the struggles they are going through.  Drawing, painting, music, acting… all of these things help to break down barriers and build self esteem that is so crucial in healthy emotional development.”

David Toledo and Daughter Laughing  David and daughter (Kiki)

David says that he and his daughter have been dancing together (and against each other) for years and that it was actually his daughter’s idea to post the video which is actually a few years old.  When they came across it on an old computer disc they thought it was so funny that they just had to post it.   They never expected that the video would go viral.

“We’re glad that it has touched so many people.  The feedback has been so positive and it’s wonderful to see how it has inspired others to get a little silly with their kids.  The window for making lasting memories is so short, we have to cherish that time with our children.”

Article by Bubi Dumas 11/4/14

David Toledo Seattle daddy daughter dance challenge council

Kaleidoscope Casting Coming Soon!

Kaleidoscope Casting Coming Soon!

In response to the overwhelming inquiries into the 2013 MAC Fashion House Youth Expose’ and the future of the Kaleidoscope work-training catalog; Unified Outreach is expanding the training in 2014 and reaching out to the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture to once again partner with Unified Outreach in order to provide an even larger program this year. Stay tuned for more information!

Kids, Diversity, Prejudice, and Jerks

2012 David Toledo
 
Don’t be fooled; fear can inspire hatred. Teaching children (who are born with no bias) that they have to be worried that certain groups “might” not like them, “might” treat them unfairly, “might” hate them… Plants in our children an unintended bias, paranoia, and insecurity. As a nation we must allow our children to live unhindered… Free to live and love without fear. And to deal with issues…. as (or “if”) they arise with confidence knowing that the experience does not define the child nor does it define the entire race of the person who offends them. We must not place our insecurities on the child’s shoulders. Nothing sadder than unintentionally teaching our children to preemptively hate others under the false notion that they have to be “aware” that at some point in life they may be treated unfairly. The universal truth is that no one goes through life without experiencing some sort of prejudice, discrimination, or unfair treatment – But don’t let that possibility stop our children from being kids.