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Bronx school uses ‘kid rock’ after-school program to share lessons about foster care

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan — An 11-year-old Bronx student is singing about what it’s like to be a foster child.

It’s something Awa Sow may not know about firsthand, but more than a third of her classmates  at Mott Haven Academy are familiar with it.

"These aren’t my shoes, these aren’t my socks,” she sang.

The charter school she goes to in the South Bronx was created by the New York Foundling. Its after-school music program, Haven Kids Rock, is putting on an original show all about their students’ lives called "Unstoppable, the Musical."

Nefertiti Jones and her husband Jimi K. Bones wrote the musical.

“When we wrote the music, I don’t want to say we were shocked, but there were heart wrenching moments when this kid who you adored was going through this and you might not have been aware,” Jones said.

Bones said it was a chance to teach people what foster care entails.

“Kids in foster care, most don’t know what that means, but with music, these kids get to have fun with it, lift them up, what’s up," he said.

These 20 students up on stage range in age from 9 to 15, and if they are not telling their own personal stories, it may be their best friend’s story.

“My character, I’m the daughter of illegal immigrants and I am not sure where I will live,” 9th grader Melanie Madrigal said. “I actually voiced this problem to Nef and Jimi and now we’re here performing it.”

Many of these performers say this musical is a chance to give a voice to the voiceless.

“I’d like to hope that I am making them proud," Adrian Acosta, 15 , said/ “I am telling their stories and letting people hear them."

The show has another message for 9th grade student Marangelic Glasthal.

“It’s a good way to see nothing’s impossible,” Glastha said. “You lost your parent, but you can still dream."

"Unstoppable, the Musical" will be playing Wednesday through Friday nights at the Sheen Center with tickets starting.at $32.  Producer Dan Stone is hoping this show can go to other schools, regional theaters and even Broadway.

For tickets, go to Sheencenter.org.