The Great Give

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You can help us now by participating in The Great Give and giving to Guilford ABC!

Position Available for Resident Advisor/Academic Coordinator

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The Guilford ABC program seeks a Resident Advisor/Academic Coordinator (RA). The RA position would be appropriate for someone with daytime employment or enrolled in graduate school, but regular nights and weekends are required.

For more information, see the full position description.

Celebrating our 40th Anniversary

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Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier |
Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Courier | Guilford ABC students Kishundra King, Gabby Vargas, Jada Allison, Kymar Stewart, Katrina Green, Rebekah Calderon, and Cleo Adebyi got a chance to go backstage to meet multiple-Grammy-winner Roberta Flack on Oct. 25.

Nineteen Guilford ABC alumnae arrived in town on October 24 – 25th – many for the first time since they graduated from Guilford High School – to help celebrate our 40th anniversary.

Celebratory activities began with a Friday night gathering of long-time supporters, host families, board members, current students and alumnae. On Saturday the alums toured their old high school and got a glimpse of the new GHS, ate lunch with the current ABC students at the Guilford ABC residence, and visited Hole in the Wall (which contributes all its profits to this program) before attending a sold-out benefit concert at the high school featuring the GHS Jazz Ensemble, Guilford’s own Morris Pleasure and three talented jazz professionals, with a special guest appearance by legendary artist, Roberta Flack. The lucky standing-room-only audience was treated to a night of truly memorable music!

We are so grateful to the many supporters of this special weekend, and to all those in this caring community who continue to help us make Guilford ABC a life-changing experience for each of our young scholars.

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Photo credit: Judith Barbosa

 ABOUT THE PROGRAM

 tumblr_m61tfxe1mb1qek8f0o1_1280Roberta Flack is the legendary American singer and musician who was the first to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year two consecutive times. “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” won at the 1973 Grammys and “Killing Me Softly with His Song” won at the 1974 Grammys. She remains the only solo artist to have ever accomplished this honor.

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Photo credit: Judith Barbosa

Morris “Mo” Pleasure produced two sold-out concerts in 2009 and 2011 at his alma mater, Guilford High School, for the benefit of Guilford ABC where he met his wife, Lori, when they were teenagers living in Guilford. An American composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and touring musician, Pleasure plays piano, bass, trumpet, and guitar, in genres that include pop, funk, jazz, R&B, soul, Brazilian, and classical music. Pleasure recorded and performed with artists such as Roberta Flack, Ray Charles, Najee, George Duke, Earth Wind and Fire (also served as music director for the band), Natalie Cole, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, Peter Cetera, David Foster and many others.

Rohn Lawrence, widely acclaimed for his work with New Haven Funk bands such as “Good News” and “The Lift” (including saxophonist Marion Meadows), Lawrence continues to work with Meadows, George Duke, Diane Reeves, Jonathan Butler, Alex Bugñon, Freddie Jackson, Najee and many others.

David Livolsi is an accomplished bass player also from Connecticut whose diversity led him to work with many world renowned artists such as John Scofield, Bill Evans, Jazz Is Dead, T Lavitz & Rod Morgenstein (from The Dixie Dregs), Jerry Goodman, Chuck Loeb, Sam Rivers, John Tropea, and David Spinozza.

Marcus Finnie, the acclaimed drummer, more recently toured in Japan and South Africa with Kirk Whalum & Earl Klugh and shortly afterwards the group BWB (Rick Braun, Kirk Whalum, and Norman Brown). He also toured Australia with country group Lady Antebellum opening for Keith Urban. In addition, Finnie performed with Lalah Hathaway, Keiko Matsui, Nelson Rangell, Chuck Wicks, Gerald Veasly, Monty Montgomery, Gerald Albright, India Arie, Tamir Hendleman, Monte Montgomery, Larry Goldings, Aaron Neville, Donald Brown, Rodney Whittaker, CeCe Winans and several others.  Marcus worked with Kirk Whalum on his newest album, the fourth volume of The Gospel According to Jazz, featuring Whalum’s current band along with several special guest artists.

The Guilford High School Jazz Ensemble is a Level 1 class that meets daily, with the students, grades 9—12, selected by audition the previous school year. The Ensemble performs music from the libraries of such great bands as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, Gordon Goodwin, and Bob Mintzer. A four-time finalist at the Essentially Ellington Competition at Lincoln Center, the GHS Jazz Ensemble also competes at the Berklee College of Music High School Jazz Festival.

My Guilford ABC Experience: DR. MIRANDA NANCE, PhD, LCSW

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DR. MIRANDA NANCE, PhD, LCSW
DR. MIRANDA NANCE, PhD, LCSW

The Guilford ABC Program changed my life through exposure to people, places, and situations outside of my inner city community in the Washington, DC area. I was born to the loving parents of Haynes and Mattie Nance in Washington, DC – the sixth of eight children. While I don’t consider myself the brightest of the bunch, selection for Guilford ABC program confirmed I am the most blessed. As I reflect back, I am so thankful for the structure of the program especially the pairing of students with a Host Family from the community. My host family was the Kellogg’s and they lived off of Beaver Head Road in Guilford. Barbara and Gus became my 2nd parents and nurtured me by giving me the space to grow and guidance when needed. Being a smart teenager with a rebellious side, going away to school provided the opportunity for my parents to rest, yes-I was a handful. In turn, Guilford ABC Program provided me opportunities to grow my critical thinking skills. Barbara Kellogg, a teacher at the middle school, helped me to focus my energy, my talents and my mind to become a better person – clearly she loved me through some teenage moods. I am so thankful not just to Barbara and Gus but to their four children who willingly shared their parents with me.

When I arrived, I was a young, scared and selfish teenager entering Guilford High School but being a member of the basketball team quickly helped me to belong and understand the benefits of a team approach. The ABC Program and the entire Kellogg Family both have fond memories in my heart and contributed greatly to my successes. When I am scared I only have to remember the young scared teenager who was loved by strangers and became family. Guilford ABC and supporting community, you have made a difference in my life. I am now known as, Dr. Miranda Nance; I served over 20 years in the United States Navy as a uniform social worker before retiring in September 2009. Since my retirement, I started a non-profit organization, the We Scoop-n-Walk Foundation, Inc., a non-profit 501 (c) (3) tax exempt charitable organization focused on educating, training and creating awareness of the mental and emotional benefits of pet ownership. My source of hope and direction is my faith in God and my sense of self was formed by my loving family, Nance and Kellogg.

(Click here  to see Dr. Nance as member of the Guilford High School basketball team.)

 

18th Secret Gardens Tour a great success!

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Go here to see the event website. Go here to see all our wonderful sponsors!

Our wonderful volunteers!
Our wonderful volunteers!
The Marketplace
The Marketplace
Our signature flower!
Our signature flower!
Our wonderful volunteers!
Our wonderful volunteers!
ABC scholars Karolina and Gabby join ABC board members in making the day perfect!
ABC scholars Karolina and Gabby join ABC board members in making the day perfect!
ABC Scholars Katrina and Kymar
ABC Scholars Katrina and Kymar
Demonstrations!
Demonstrations!

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Patrons were young and older alike
Patrons were young and older alike

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Kitchen opening onto the garden
Kitchen opening onto the garden

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Tour buses to ease the journey
Tour buses to ease the journey

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Alumna Cynthia Banks shares her and her son’s story

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Cynthia and her son, Christian, in Italy
Cynthia and her son, Christian, in Italy

My personality/character is about wanting the best and achieving the best – not in any materialistic way, but moving toward spiritual and intellectual growth, towards happiness and contentment.

I am a child of the 60’s, and to me it seemed almost every time I turned around, some great person who wanted to achieve equality was jailed, or even worse, assassinated. With all these great public figures like JFK, Malcolm X, MLK and RFK being struck down in their prime, I learned at an early age life could not be taken for granted. Even as a child, I understood that “success waits for no one” and that no matter the situation, I needed to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself. That realization as a young person is what made the ABC experience such a pivotal part of my personal journey.

What I most appreciate about Guilford ABC is that I was able to gain a broader vision of what was possible for my life. While I attended a prestigious magnet elementary school in Philadelphia, where many of my friends were children of affluent parents, I rarely got a chance to discuss educational and career aspirations with them at their dinner table. Guilford gave me a boarder sense of success where it was not just about growing wealth in the career of my choice, but cultivating experience.  Being in Guilford, I had new visions of success – – a great house with the picket fence (I have since come to learn I do not like picket fences), traveling to foreign countries, getting a book published and getting into the best college.

I learned of greater possibilities at Guilford and I thank every person who took the time to care, support and contribute to my 000Cindy and Chris Italy2further education and the education of other young women. I have always marveled at the commitment and dedication needed to provide fulltime care for a group of young girls who leave home at such an early age.

I remember when my son, Christian, was applying for college, we met with the high school college advisor and I asked her how many students from the school attended Ivy league or Top 10 schools and she told me quite a few, but she did not think that my son would likely get into one. I thought “What is she talking about?” I knew that he was better than what she was advising. I was not going to let bad advice limit my son’s possibilities to achieve whatever I desired him to achieve. So I did what I knew to do and took my son on a road trip for a couple of days to see Cornell, University of Penn (my alma mater) and Harvard. He had personal interviews at all and he met with my old fencing coach at UPENN (UPENN has had only four fencing coaches in 227 years!). My son applied to Cornell and UPENN and got into both. He decided to go to UPENN, where he fenced. It happened that my ex-husband was also a UPENN graduate. As a family we remain active members of the broader UPENN network and give either both our money and time, hopefully paving the way for my future grandkids (which I plan to have in the next ten years or so) to graduate from UPENN!

At my son’s high school graduation, as I am seated with my ex-husband just beaming with pride, my ex-husband says to me, have you noticed that our son is one of the three Black male graduates who have the honor stripe. I looked around and said to him, “That just angers me!”  He asked me why and I told him that the teachers and leadership of the school systematically limited those children’s possibilities. It just does not make sense.  Statistically the school was pretty well distributed in terms of visible race across the graduation class. For me, the math was immediately and obviously off for the odds of only having three Black males graduate with high honors.

000Cindy and Chris ItalyAgain, thank you Guilford ABC for all that you do to teach young women what is possible for them. There are 77 of us who were in the program and lived in that house and attended GHS. We are the only 77 people in world who know that experience and I assure you that all of us can say that ABC changed our lives in some critical way.

I continue to keep up with many of my Guilford Sisters and for the 35th Guilford ABC reunion quite a few of us from graduation years 1977 through 1983 traveled across of the country to attend. Following the concert provided that night from our dear brother, Morris; we had a pajama party at the Guilford Inn. The funny thing is that some us had never met before, but that did not stop us from dancing in our pajamas with each other around the hotel room until the early morning as we knew to do. For the 40th, we want to reconnect with each woman who lived in the house.  Fundraising and establishing a mentor program is key for us.

Simply, thank you, Guilford ABC.

Cindy