We at The Other Side hope you had a great summer! We are excited about the school year.

Here’s a recap of our summer:

Thank You to those who attended our Break the Branch screening on the 27th! We are incredibly grateful for your attention and donations, and a special thank you to Samantha Cornwell for sharing her art with us.


Melanie Closs and Samantha Cornwell celebrating the making and presentation of Break the Branch

Check out the Brooklyn Eagle’s article about our event!

Headshot6Meet Shae

Shantez Tolbut (aka Ms Shae) is our teaching artist for our Staten Island summer camp this August. She worked with middle and high school students from Napela and Park Hill, as well as created drama exchanges with BSPES, a school in Jattari, India. Shantez Marie Tolbut is an Educator, Performance Artist, Poet, Advocate and Activist. Born and raised on the South side of Chicago to a Vietnam veteran and physically handicapped mother with Autism, she is committed to social justice and changing the world through education and the performing arts. She received her B.A. in Communication, Media & Theater and Women’s and Gender Studies from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, IL.

Newly a New York City transplant, Shantez has worked within the urban education movement reaching over 600 children in the NYC/NJ surrounding areas. She also works a freelance stage manager for local and regional theaters and shows. You can find her singing and acting on NYC stages and performing her poetry at any open mic/showcase she can in NYC. With hopes to pursue a career in Broadway and to become a theater professor, she is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in Performance and Performance studies at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

Summer Camp in Staten Island

Director Melanie Closs and Napela founder Adama Kromah-Fassah, both grantees of the Citizens Committee of New York City.

This summer, The Other Side collaborated with Napela, a Liberian community program in Park Hill, Staten Island to create a one-week summer camp for girls aged 11-16. This camp fostered communication between girls from Napela and young women from the BSPES, an all girl’s school in Jattari, Uttar Pradesh, India. Both groups of girls participated in activities with experienced teaching artists, exploring the problems and lives of girls from their communities, in addition to learning about girls in their partnering community, and learned how to use drama, music, art and poetry to express the things that mean the most to them. The camp culminated in a performance at SI Makerspace on August 26th. Our camp in August is made possible by funding from the Citizens Committee of New York City and the Puffin Foundation.

img_6845“My goals for camp:

1.To meet new people

2.To meet the girls from India

3.Make friends with them and talk to them every day

4.I will like to make Preeti, Jyoti, Rubi as my sister.”

  • Barbra, age 19


“Now I learned how other people feel by their emotions and now I’ve learned that when people are upset you have 
to respect.”

  • Jada, age 11, right

img_6925“Hi my name is Massa Kamara. I am truly proud to be part of this program. This program has taught me and all of us that girls can do anything boys can do. It has taught us that if you believe in yourself you can become whoever you want to be. We have learned so much about the Indian girls and the other side that we can write  a book about them.”

  • Massa, age 11

Thank you Napela for a great collaboration! We can’t wait to work with these girls again in the future.

Radio Show

14051809_1126713100747196_2673053522839342573_nPlease make sure to check out our radio show exchange on Voice of Evolution Radio between two students this semester, Sapna Sharma (India) and Joanna Seifter (USA), HERE.

“You and I want the same thing!

What an amazing discovery when a young woman in India and a young woman in the United States realize that they have more in common than they ever expected, in spite of their very different cultural experiences.

Both women have prepared their “monologues”; both get to ask questions, discover connections, comment on the surprises and mark the differences that make each unique.

Pardada Pardadi Educational Society: http://www.education4change.org/

Linda Lombardo hosts. “

-From Voice of Evolution Radio


Stay tuned for more info about our fall partnerships, new international partners, and Winter Festival 2016!