A short time ago, someone asked me if I considered my Creating Comics Workshops as literacy programs.The answer I gave could easily be the death knell for someone who actively takes these programs into school systems all over the country, and abroad. Still, I paused a beat or twp before replying, “No. They are not.”True, comics contain both words and pictures, and they are perfect to help reluctant readers, and those who tackle English-as-a-second-language challenges. They also make major novels and historical chronicles far more digestible when all that verbiage is broken down into images, dialog balloons, and caption boxes.No argument.But the goal I strive for in my workshops is far more valuable – in my eyes. I work to simulate and validate a young person’s imagination.Picture this: a pudgy, chestnut hued boy, muddling his way through life. He is the product of a loving but impoverished home. And because of his mind, he is in classes with middle and upper middle classed children. Youngsters with two parents, and little or no financial woes … at least none that he can see.The world promises he will not achieve much because of his background and skin color, and financial limitations. But his mind tells him otherwise.Despite poor health, and social welfare status, his mother encourages him, “If you work for it.” His grandmother, raised in the south, during times when back of the bus was not the cool place to be, when everyone knew the “N” word meant something less than human. She told him otherwise – and had proved it with the accomplishments she was able to make despite the era that had surrounded her. “We built the platform this high” she’d said metaphorically, “ You stand on it and go further.”And the comics he read promised fascinating possibilities, and incredible discoveries. His mind soared like the birds and the rocket ships. He rode the plains, he explored the ocean depths; and in his mind all things were possible.So he dreamed and imagined and planned for the day he would become … somebody.And in doing all of that, he found a use for literacy, mathematics, science, and so much more.See, if a child cannot imagine a future, their future, then much of life becomes meaningless. For many it is hard to find the reasons to work towards tomorrow, if they don’t start believing in themselves today. If they don’t believe their actions now can make tomorrow even better.My programs are about imagination, outside the box thinking, creating something out of nothing!And often, that makes it possible even for an adult to get up and face the morning with hope.
SIMMONS IS A MAN ON THE MOVE
This year my adventures in teaching artistry started off with a bang! There were classes of twenty-five kids in Brooklyn, thirty in East Manhattan, and ninety-six in NJ … and that’s just three schools in three months!
Christopher was only nine when he died from leukemia in 2007 but during those nine years, he lived life fully. Now without him physically in our lives, we must continue to find a way to live life. We do so in part by helping other children.
Now without him physically in our lives, we must continue to find a way to live life. We do so in part by helping other children.
To instill Christopher’s compassion & zest for life by offering underserved children unique opportunities to live life and pursue interests of which Christopher was most passionate.
Equally important, the Foundation seeks to empower children by encouraging them to earn such opportunities through dedication and hard work.
CALLING ALL COMIC BOOK CREATORS FROM THE NEW YORK-NEW JERSEY AREA!
We’re looking for pro comics writers & artists to donate time to appear at the next SUPERHEROES FOR HOSPICE CHARITY COMIC BOOK SALE. You can sell & autograph comics, books, sketches, art – we just ask that you donate a portion of your choosing toward the charity, which helps fund the work of the volunteers at the St. Barnabas Hospice. Please send me a message for more info and look at my comment below for specific details.
The sale will take place Saturday, July 16th, from 10AM to 5PM. You can choose a shift that works best for you. The hospice offices are on 95 Old Short Hills Road in West Orange, New Jersey.