The Cosmopolitan Review: May 18 - May 24

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 5/18/2017, 11:50 a.m.
A torrential rainstorm one day a week and trees are in full bloom—and so is my hay fever.

A torrential rainstorm one day a week and trees are in full bloom—and so is my hay fever. But hey, it’s May. If it’s May then it must be time for Northside Center for Child Development’s annual gala. This year’s theme was “Unmasking Our Future,” and what better way to walk the walk than to raise beaucoup bucks for one of the worthiest causes known to mankind.

For seven decades, Northside Center has given children and their families the support they need to not only overcome adversity but also continue to thrive, dream and accomplish things they once thought were out of their reach. The event began with a Champagne reception and red carpet photo op in the reception hall at the Pierre Hotel, located at 61st Street and Fifth Avenue. Guests were then escorted up the grand staircase into the grand ballroom. Accommodations were easily arranged as 350 people were expected and 450 people showed up. Master of ceremonies was the effervescent Maurice DuBois, who introduced the Northside Center Afterschool Drummers, led by percussion instructor, Baba Don Eaton, in partnership with Harlem School of the Arts. The youngsters, who drummed with perfection, began the unmasking as the beats reached down into the depths of what Northside Center is all about.

Building on the inherent strengths of children and families, Northside Center’s rich history began with Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Phipps Clark in Harlem, in 1946. Their dedication and social science research ultimately changed education in America when one of their projects, known as the “Black/White Doll Study,” was admitted as evidence in the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education. The findings concluded that separate was not equal. The Clarks had unmasked the fact that poor self-esteem negatively affects the emotional and intellectual growth of children.

Today, Northside Center continues to unmask the layers that impede healthy growth, emotional stability and mental acumen. More than 4,000 children and families are served by Northside’s variety of programs, designed to meet the immediate needs and sustain future growth of all who pass through their doors. Speaking most eloquently was Thelma Dye, Ph.D., the Hilde L. Mosse executive director and CEO, who beams with pride about strides Northside has made over the years. First thanking her dedicated staff, she told of the myriad services that benefit children. From the Susan Patricof Head Start Center at East 111th Street, with centers also located in the Bronx and Brooklyn and at a new site on Allen Street, to the high-level enrichment programs partnered with American Ballet Theatre, to the 3- and 4-year-olds who are learning to code, Northside lives. Individual holistic services are provided for children from birth to age 5, unmasking the fact that nurturing makes a difference.

Gracing the stage was LaToya Tripp, a Northside parent from Brooklyn who brought her children to Northside at a very young age because of emotional and behavioral issues. She stated that after receiving the treatment, including nutrition for good mental health, her children are now thriving in mainstream classes and society. Being able to stand before a crowd and recount how she and her children went from hopelessness to fulfillment was the best Mother’s Day gift ever.