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#188: Little Haiti youth encouraged to get involved (fwd)


Little Haiti youth encouraged to get involved
 Music, motivational speakers featured at event in park
July 18 1999
 By HANS MARDY Herald Writer 

 They danced to the sounds of DJ Smooth Touch Tuesday as they ate,
drank, played and listened to speakers under the glare of a hot summer
day. More than 200 teens attended the Little Haiti Youth Day activities
at Buena Vista Park, 5250 NW Second Ave. The event was sponsored by the
Haitian American Foundation and several other local organizations to
urge children to get more involved in the community.
 Kids attended a basketball clinic and listened to advice from community
leaders and speakers, including State Sen. Kendrick Meek, D-Miami, and
Wali Jones, vice president for community relations for the Miami Heat.
 ``It was a good feeling to be together with Sen. Meek and Wali Jones,''
said John Wenski Orelhomme, 17, a student at Edison Senior High. ``We
learned the importance of being involved in our community by
volunteering our time to help.'' Meek, who has challenged traffic stops
of minority motorists, gave the teens tips on handling so-called
``Driving While Black'' stops. ``When you have been stopped by an
officer, be wise,'' Meek told the youth. ``If you think you were right,
do not take it up [with the officer]. Report it to your parents, your
teachers. So many times young kids have started a lifetime record
 that could be avoided.'' Meek encouraged the kids to get involved in
their community, including volunteering their time. The Haitian
foundation is making an effort to reach out to kids in the Little Haiti
 area. At the group's office, at 6700 Biscayne Blvd., they offer several
programs geared toward positive youth activity, including crime
prevention, after-school programs, summer jobs and community clean up
campaigns. ``We hope these kids get the message,'' said Alix Desulme,
the HAFI youth coordinator. ``We would like to see our young kids
volunteer their time in civil affairs.''