Categories
Uncategorized

Elon Fyfield is Making a Change in the Community

Elon Fyfield is Making a Change in the Community
http://www.neighbormedia.org/news/elon-fyfield-making-change-community

For years the city of Cambridge was lacking a basketball league for men. This changed earlier this Spring when the Elon Fyfield decided run a league called “Ballin’ In the Bridge”.  With this men’s league, current & former residents of Cambridge were given a chance to reconnect with each other while playing a game that they love. The inaugural season came to end late last month.

“Ballin In the Bridge was amazing for our first time trying something like this”, says the longtime Cantabrigian. “There were basketball leagues all over Boston and that my friends and I were playing in & it got to a point were I hated traveling 45 minutes for a basketball game. I decided to work along side the FMA principal, & start up our own league. Those who participated in the league believe Elon was successful operating a basketball league  for the ver first time.“Overall the league was well put together, insists Ta’keame Gomes, longtime friend of Fyfield. “Everything ran smoothly with minimal issues. It was exactly what was missing for the adult men in the city of Cambridge.”  The league will start back up in August and will consist of an expansion.

Outside of “Ballin in The Bridge, Elon also works at Fletcher Maynard Academy. He serves as the program director of The Qualls Academy.  This program consists of 3rd-5th graders, a majority of whom are black. Children in the academy are provided with academic support . Since the new year, students’ grades have significantly improved.  “It’s amazing what can do when they have someone backing them up 100% and that’s my job To be that person in the school that these young men can depend on to help them academically, but also play that big brother role to let them know what to expect in the real world. “ With Fyfield’s guidance these children will be able to overcome any roadblocks that that may run into down the road.  The future for the students in the Qualls Academy is certainly bright.

In addition to playing a role with the development of the youth, Elon is a rapper who takes pride in his music.  In the early stages of his adolescence, he was able to identify his talent and made an honest effort to perfect his craft. “At an early age I had had the ability to write, especially poetry”, explains the college graduate.  Initially Fyfield was influenced to by the content of the music he absorbed.  He then had an epiphany and decided to create music that is true to him.  No longer was he following trends. To his delight, his peers positively received the new direction he was taking his music. “ When people heard it, the response I got back was so positive and I felt the appreciation for creating good content , and that was with the movement I decided to stick with,”, confesses the Qualls Academy Director. He is set to release a project in June.

Change appears to be a theme with Elon, and that is what he plans to do by running for school committee. He hopes that those in the community will take into consideration his contributions when it is time to vote. “I really hope that by me continuing to make power moves in the community that people will recognize my worth & recognize and understand I am a great candidate for this reason.” While vying for position, Fyfield knows to change cannot occur solely through his efforts. Instead, it was be an effort from the community. “We need to protect our own people, stop going to surrounding cities and bringing in strangers to tell us what to do & how to live our lives. The same thing needs to be done in the school system. “  Fyfield’s passion of making change for the better is evident and it displayed in his contributions.

Elon Fyfield truly loves Cambridge, as it has played a role in shaping the individual that he is today. Giving back to the community for him is simply an honor.

Categories
Uncategorized

Cambridge man creates ‘temple of learning’ for Area 4 youth

https://cambridge.wickedlocal.com/article/20140821/NEWS/140829519

Cambridge man creates ‘temple of learning’ for Area 4 youth

Pape “Pops” Loum stood outside his modest gray Windsor Street home on Monday between a mob of young men and women, whom he calls his children.
For a passerby, Loum’s home is just like any other in Area Four, but for these young adults, it’s a nurturing place, where they find acceptance and are able to foster knowledge.
“He just taught me about being a man and what that means, making your own decisions and that is a lifelong lesson,“Trinidad Ramkissoon, 20, said Monday in between chatting with neighborhood friends. “I think that’s applicable to any situation that you can take with you moving forward.“
For kids who grew up in Area Four, all roads lead to “Pops.” Ramkissoon was just one of many who grew up visiting the house, where Loum would teach them about technology, including computers, and give them chores. The goal, Loum said, is to keep children off the streets.
“This is a temple of learning, a safe house and a welcoming home for not just my children here, but for all of their brothers and their sisters who have the hunger for learning and actualizing the dream that preceding generations had,” Loum said seconds before greeting and hugging a young man walking on Windsor Street.
Loum, who is originally from West Africa, started working with children in the early 1980s at Camp Mah-Kee-Nac in Lenox where he served as a soccer coach and a translator for young kids from Canada.
He was working with Just-A-Start Corporation, a nonprofit in Cambridge whose mission is to create opportunity and strengthen the community, when he moved to Cambridge in 1989. But it was in Boston, where he lived for 10 years, that he first realized there was a need to help the community, he said.
“Mothers would ask to be accompanied to go and find kids at 2 and 3 o’clock in the morning,” Loum said. “So, that’s how I knew that the need existed in the community and I had to make myself available in the community.“ Loum, an intellectual and philosopher at heart, started shopping for computers at Salvation Army and checking books out of the public library as soon as he realized that kids growing up in Area Four, a lower-income section of Cambridge, were hungry to learn.
“They were bright and they had questions, and intelligent conversations that they started, led to suggesting some feelings of exploration that they might be interested in,” Loum said. “They have a challenge of an environment that is not an easy one.”
“I used to go to the Salvation Army down the street on Mass. Ave. and pick up some XT computers, and I would bring them here,” he added. “I would get some books from the library that would explain and describe what the different parts were so that they could not only know what these things were, but that they could learn to fix them and find value in all the discarded computers.“Cultivating the learning center

But Loum still has a dream to be fulfilled. He hopes to turn his humble house at 155-157 Windsor St. into a designated learning center for all children. He said he wants the young adults of Area Four, whom he watched over as they were growing up, to do it. Loum wants to start a movement, he said.
“I feel blessed to have them, and hopefully to have been a part of something positive in their lives that they can benefit from and return to the community from which they got it, as I’m a part of it,” Loum said.
However, Loum is much more than a teacher for the young men and women who grew up walking in and out of his home. He’s their father, they say.
“He’s just inspirational,” said Tasheena Betts-Scott, 26. “He’s all about the community. He has always encouraged everybody to do better, and he’s a great cook.“
For Erin Higgins, 30, Loum played an instrumental role when she was at a crossroads in her life.
“I used to be a cop here in Cambridge, and I resigned. But I wasn’t really sure about my decision, and he helped me come to terms with my decision,” Higgins said. “He made me realize that if it wasn’t the job that I wanted to do for the rest of my life, to follow my dreams and just be happy.“
Higgins met Loum when she was just 12 years old and when her father died in 2008, Loum was a “good fit-in,” she said. Ramkissoon, who is an actor, called Loum one of his heroes, along with Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Mahatma Gandhi.
“Just growing up and witnessing a person building a house and not waiting for someone to give it to him or feeling like someone else has the power, but understanding that he had the power,” Ramkissoon said. “It helped me realize that I had the power (too). … So, in a way we got to grow together and that’s really cool.“
Ramkissoon said Loum gave meaning to the famous Spanish phrase: “Mi casa es su casa,” which means my house is your house.
“There have been times that I was bored around the neighborhood and I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want necessarily to be around anybody, but he always opened up his doors and he really gave meaning to that,” Ramkissoon said. “There’re a lot of sayings and phrases, but unless someone gives meaning to that, it doesn’t mean anything.“
And Loum’s daughter, Ami Loum, added, “Not only does he do it for me, but he does it for everybody. He’s everybody’s dad.“
Loum’s biggest reward, he said, is watching the many children he helped raise become successful and graduate from college. He said they welcomed him into their lives and gave him the opportunity to be their father.
“This is not something I did, something I accomplished,” he said. “No, this is something that they gave me.”
“I’m looking forward to seeing them climb the highest mountains, and they will,” Loum added. “They have the good fortune of being born and raised between MIT and Harvard. It is a wonderful exercise to humbly remind them that they can attend and they can succeed.“
Contact Chronicle reporter Sara Feijo at sfeijo@wickedlocal.com or follow her on Twitter at @s_fjo.

Categories
Uncategorized

Kensley Project Party Celebrates Neighborhood Strength

Kensley Project Party Celebrates Neighborhood Strength

Kensley Project Party Celebrates Neighborhood Strength

 

This past Saturday, hundreds of people from Area 4 and across the city of Cambridge came to celebrate neighborhood strength at a block party in our backyard.

DSCN1729

The half-day event featured musical performances and face painting, basketball playing and water dunking—all of it thanks to a new community group called the Kensley Project, and the many people who support it.

The Kensley Project formed earlier this summer to honor the memory of Kensley David, a 22-year-old father shot and killed on Windsor Street in July. In the aftermath of that tragedy, several of his friends committed to strengthening the quality of life for residents of Area 4/The Port—and they’ve been adding members to the group ever since.

DSCN1797

We’ll bring you some of their voices in later posts, but for now, enjoy some photographs of the block party below. Thanks to all who organized it, supported it, attended it, and cleaned up after it—and see you next Saturday, Sept. 6, for Area 4 Pride Day!

To learn more about the Kensley Project, email kensleyproject@gmail.com.