-Gregangelo & Velocity Circus’ “Ms GG Bridges” at a Kids’ Turn event
Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity and pleasure to contribute meaningful entertainment customized to raise visibility and entertain guests and patrons at several San Francisco Kids Turn fund raisers. In doing so, I have grown to learn of and value the organizers, the organization, the programs, the mission, and the evolving clientele of Kids Turn.
I grew up as an inner city kid in San Francisco during the seventies in a divorced home and though I did not have the opportunity of any officially organized after school, weekend, or family programming…life was good.
The seventies in San Francisco was a time of both Female & Gay Liberation, the Hippie Revolution was still lingering, the Zodiac Killer was active and on the loose, The Peoples Temple massacre occurred, The SLA kidnapped Patty Hearst and terrorized The City, the Mayor (to me a family friend as he was the father of our classmates at school) was killed, Drugs were rampant in the streets, and China Town Gangs were at their peak. In fact, in addition to our usual fire and earthquake drills at our elementary school on the fringe of Chinatown, we had sniper drills to learn how to avoid the occasional gunmen who used our schoolyard as a thoroughfare.
The school was comprised of diverse and responsible families whose parents worked hard to support their families and community. Therefore, we kids usually traveled independently in packs through the city on public transport with our antennae and awareness raised high as we traversed through the thick of the social climate of the time. Today, such a scene would be perceived as ‘disenfranchised” and perhaps even unlawful, but back than we were just a bunch of ambitious brats learning our way. Though we would get an occasional ride here or there by a parent, there were no soccer moms in sight to cater to our every need, or at least none in my peripheral vision.
Despite all of this, I never felt fear and quite the contrary felt allot of love. In fact, I would go as far to say that the experience taught me wisdom and planted the seed which grew (is still growing) in becoming a giving mentor today.
In my youth, the after school programs often consisted of going to the loving homes of family friends and/or my grand parents, who cooked for us, taught us to cook and other life skills, encouraged us to do our homework, pushed us to continue towards higher education, instilled notions of discipline and hard work in order to realize our dreams and convictions, and inspired us though their own accomplishments and contributions to the world. We were given freedom and independence to play outside with our friends and foes and get into innocent (sometimes not so innocent) trouble which consequently was our own responsibility to resolve…and resolved it was! Profound experiences were had, confidence was built. My single mother would join in the parenting when she could and partake in the life lessons (sometimes life lesions) of the day…
Without knowing it, I suppose I did have a Kids Turn. I was one of the lucky ones.
Velocity Arts & Entertainment