On the southern end of Newport News, VA, the "other type" of black person isn't always welcome. Christa Green learned by experience during the summer of 2005 when she would venture into low-income neighborhoods seeking to make a difference in the communities that needed it the most. While gathering random groups of children to participate in choreography, art, and self-interests, she could feel the stares from behind the blinds coupled with mumbles of disdain of her presence. Who did she think she was, going in there to teach kids the necessary but unorthodox curriculum of hard knock life?
Known for her signature flower on the right side of her hair and an amazing smile that ejects frequent laughter, Christa can light up any room or situation. She studied child psychology, dance, and business and uses all of her formal education to inform the students in her program.
The founder of Groovin' Down the Yellow Brick Road, an anti-bullying community musical designed to teach kids to become great leaders by becoming great people, is driven by the knowledge that some parents are victims and don't always provide adequate protection. Children deserve environments that encourage them to become great. As an accountable member of the proverbial village, she is compelled to fill the voids of quality attention all kids need. It wasn't long before she would be accepted and praised by the local police departments and groups with similar ideologies of lifting the community.
The program consists of dancing and acting out scenarios that place the kids in the dangerous world of bullying. Good children that grow up in bad situations develop beautiful strengths and weaknesses that are improvable. When those kids are guided in their own direction, they become positive citizens. Ms. Green faced adversity throughout her upbringing and became determined to save the neglected of all ages by coaching them through performing arts and harvesting their self-expression. Those neglected children adapt self-bullying tendencies and must be prevented at all costs. She intervenes.
When I asked her for names of kids that had a profound impact on her life, she responded, "I can name at least 300 kids that had a profound impact on my life. Many of my kids still call me from their college dorms to voice appreciation for the life lessons learned by participating. Shaquita Barret's name comes to mind immediately as one that I really took interest in because she was living a hard life and I needed to show her a better way to make it through, brushing her shoulders off." Shaquita was only 13 years old when she joined the program in 2007. Unfortunately, she had family that prohibited her from succeeding in life by building unimpeachable walls around her aspirations. Several years later, Ms. Barret still leans on Christa for advise and support. Christa, dedicated to her cause, always answers. She is always there for her “kids” that never seem to leave her nest of cheerful exuberance.
For more information about Christa Green or her program, please visit http://bestkeptsecretstoptheviolencesandiegochapter.yolasite.com/