Kenneth is in many ways a typical fifth grader. He is ten years old, but is quick to point out that he will be eleven in a month. His favorite subject at school is math, favorite food is pizza and favorite sport is basketball. Favorite player? Kevin Durant. Also, like so many other kids who live in urban areas, he attends an after-school program. What sets Kenneth apart from many kids his age is the fact that he lives in what is considered by many to be one of the most challenging neighborhoods in New York City. Kenneth has always lived in Mott Haven in the South Bronx and attends an after-school program at Graffiti 2 Community Ministries. While Kenneth doesn’t give very high marks to his school, he says he loves attending G2 during the week and on Sunday mornings. His favorite part of the after-school program is when missionaries come from different parts of the country to help him and his friends with their homework and his favorite on Sundays is participating in Bible Study with other kids his age with Miss Jo Ann.
This is good news to Kenneth’s mom, Diega Cordova. Having been born in Honduras, she moved to this neighborhood twenty-four years ago and recalls, “When I moved here, it was like a Vietnam. I had never lived in an environment like that before. There was a lot of drugs and killing and crazy things like that.” She expresses gratitude that, for the sake of her son, the neighborhood is not as bad as it was in those days.
One of the first things Diega purchased after arriving in New York City was a sewing machine. In Honduras, she says she always had a machine and made a lot of clothes. Her first job in the neighborhood was as a seamstress on the second floor of what is now the Opera House Hotel on 149th Street. After leaving there, she continued to sew from her home.
About five years ago, Diega first began trying to get Kenneth into the after-school program at Graffiti 2. The program was already filled the first two years of trying but she successfully got him into the program when Kenneth was entering the third grade. She remembers that at first he was very shy and didn’t want to attend, but fell in love with G2 once he started making friends.
Two years ago, her life took a different turn when she attended a farmer’s market with her friend Kerri Johnson and began learning about G2 Works. Ever since, she has enjoyed her time as a seamstress there and adds that working at Graffiti 2 is a blessing and that she has learned many things about God that she didn’t know before. She is thankful that Kenneth is in the after-school program and that she has her job.
“It is a good, family-oriented environment. We all get along very well. We respect each other. The best thing about it is we are in God’s house. I feel like I’m home.”
Kenneth would say, #iamG2Kids
What will your write in the blank? #iamG2_____________
Graffiti 2 can’t provide a place to belong without the help of many people. Will you consider being a G2Ambassador and mobilize your group or church for our Week of Giving (May 1–7)?
Here are some things you can do:
1. Participate in Graffiti 2’s Spirit Week and pray for our ministry. Download here.
2. Lead your group in the Week of Giving Bible study. Download it here.
3. Get your people to participate in the Buy a Box Fundraiser. Download it here.
4. Collect an offering for Graffiti 2 at the end of Spirit Week on May 7.
Graffiti 2 can’t provide a place to belong without the help of many people. Will you consider being a G2Giver and making a special donation towards our Week of Giving (May 1–7)?
Here are ways you can give:
1. Send a donation to Graffiti 2–Week of Giving, PO Box 541559, Bronx, NY 10454.
2. Donate online by clicking here.
3. Text 2 Give—It’s easy. Text “give” to 347-282-2612. A text response will send you a link to create your profile and make a donation. Save G2’s Text 2 Give number in your contacts. Future donations can be made simply by texting an amount to this number.
In the coming weeks Graffiti 2 will share more ways you can help. Check out our website, subscribe to our e-newsletter, and follow us on social media.