My name is James, I used be known by Ashley and I’m a 2009 New Urban Arts alumnus. I’m writing to ask you to support a place that’s made a big difference in my life.
I went through most of high school thinking I was unusual. I was shy and awkward. But as soon I as I walked into New Urban Arts I knew it was the space and the community I wanted to grow in. I joined two writing mentoring groups. The next year, I dove headfirst into photography and learned that I was actually pretty good at it.
New Urban Arts was the place I truly found myself.
Most importantly, I took away things here that school couldn’t teach me: like how to make friends with someone completely different than you, how never to give up on something even if all the doors are locked (because you can always build a new one), and how to build a fort to fit at least ten people in. I learned that sometimes, it’s okay not to know what’s going to happen, because finding out is really what life is about.
Now I’m a junior at Guilford College triple majoring in political science, gender studies, and philosophy with a minor in photography. I’ve spent my summers here at New Urban Arts as an intern, mentor and volunteer. I want to help more young people have the same opportunities I’ve had.
Growing up here in Providence, I know firsthand how hard it can be for young people. How few inspiring places there are for youth.
We need your support. Every gift, big or small, keeps our doors open. I hope you’ll join me in supporting New Urban Arts’ annual campaign before the year ends.
a. James Escobedo
New Urban Arts graduate, 2009