Sketchpad
"I Cannot go a Single Day Without Drawing"
Drawing has long been a way for me to express the things that I couldn’t explain in words. Through drawing, I am able to see my thoughts, emotions, ideas -- and improvement. The visualization of what manifests inside me provides coherent examples of what I need to do to make myself a better person -- like the time I drew a character who represented being a good friend. I also draw as a way to cope with the many stresses that I encounter. I’ve used drawing to help deal with the loss of important family members and friends, my insecurities, and other negative thoughts. Drawing alleviates the harrowing pain I sometimes feel -- like ice would on a burn. I cannot go a single day without drawing. At this point, it has become a part of me and I can’t imagine holding onto my sanity without it. My very existence has become adhered to the concept of art, and I can verily say that I am grateful for a dear friend who inspired me to start drawing again after I lost interest for about a year.
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As a teenager, my mind is still trying to differentiate reality from fantasy. To me, every day is like a journey in which dreams and hopes come together to create a soul. That soul is who we are. We are who we choose to be -- not what we’re told to be. Our journeys are often different from those of our parents. In this chapter of my life, I have discovered my true passion: I want to be a fashion designer. I don’t know if it’s the way the designs look on the clothing or how lovely it feels to see my imagination on paper, but I truly enjoy creating my own designs. I also like seeing famous designers’ masterpieces. They inspire me to make my designs even better. Drawing isn’t my forte but I can manage to draw what I love. That’s why I can draw clothing but not actual people. Designing has become my way of escaping reality. It helps me release my worries. Everything is reflected in my designs. I waste a lot of money on clothing, especially dresses, for their cute or unique styles. These clothes are all locked away in my huge closet because I have no use for them other than looking at their designs.
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At the age of 17, Dorchester resident Reginald R. Fils is already making his mark in the fashion world. He has his own brand – Urban Inspired – that also comes with a message: Being inspired by your community in a positive way creates positive changes. Fils started at the age of 14 with help from his mom, Cheryl Jean, described on Fils’ website (urbaninspired.co) as “an influential Boston-based fashion stylist.” Fils says he keeps up his style sense by being aware of his surroundings. “When I take public transportation, that’s a big thing I look at. I am always analyzing the new styles that are emerging and the ones that are disappearing,” he says. “Everything comes back, so it’s just a matter of what trend is here right now.” Fils says his favorite designer is Tom Ford and that he likes to shop at Sault and H&M. Between going to school and staging fashion events on weekends, Fils says, it can be a hectic life. For example, Fils says preparing for a show – like a recent one at a hall in Dorchester – can entail attending meetings; traveling to pick up and drop off clothes; and having conversations with makeup artists, photographers, and hair stylists so his looks can be cohesive on the runway. His advice to upcoming designers and stylists: Don’t give up. Work hard and your enterprise will be seen sooner or later.
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School
"I have gone a long way to discover who I am"
While staring at my geography teacher, I took a quick glance at the clock: 10 more minutes before class ends. I was feeling dizzy. So I could hardly resist the temptation of opening the romance book that I was hiding under my notebook. In this class in Haiti, I was surrounded by nearly 50 students. But I couldn’t feel more isolated. I counted every single minute that I spent in school. I could already envision myself changing out of my white and red uniform. Then I would grab my diary and start to write while slipping into my personal bubble until I felt blood running through my veins again. Now, here I am as part of a new community, surrounded by a new crowd of people, living in a new city, trying to learn a new language. After the first day of school, I returned home in tears, desperately whimpering to my mom about how stressful it was to be trapped in your mind for nearly seven hours straight, incapable of expressing one single word among the race of thoughts that crossed your mind. However, walking down the street, I could almost read through people’s eyes: “Welcome to the land of opportunity; here is the guideline to great achievement” as they handed me an education. I am now confident in the years to come. I have gone a long way to discover who I am, and why I belong. Every day, I go to school, eat some breakfast, and long to learn new notions that I can incorporate into my general knowledge. I imagine that I am carefully placing each brick that is going to construct my future. And when I raise my hand, I take a triumphant stand over all feeling of inferiority. I speak to make my voice heard. I speak to let people know that what I think matters. And foremost, I speak because it’s the only way to remain faithful to who I am.
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One issue you may not have heard about in the constant conversation about climate change is the gas leak crisis we currently face. According to environmental activists, there are over 3,000 such leaks in Boston. They can have a serious effect on many fronts:
  • Wasting money;
  • Sending potent greenhouse gases into the atmosphere;
  • Increasing the risk of explosions;
  • Aggravating asthma and other respiratory issues;
  • Harming city trees.
As part of the Boston Student Advisory Council’s growing concern about green issues that can hinder teens’ futures, BSAC recently testified in support of two legislative bills relating to the problem: one would transfer the financial load of paying for the leaks from residents to the utility companies. The second would push the utilities to better repair the leakage from underground pipes. If you would like to be involved with BSAC, Steering Committee meetings occur two Mondays a month at the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Roxbury, located next to Dudley Station at 2300 Washington Street. For more information, feel free to contact Caitlin Donnelly (caitlin@ youthonboard.org).
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