Youth Activities

Bring Your Students to The Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence

A transformative and inspiring place to engage with the real story of the Underground Railroad movement and its relevance for today. Funding to support bus transportation and admission costs is available through Ticket to Ride, a program of The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, and through Teaching the Hudson Valley Explore Awards. For a one hour experience, students are $5 each, with one free adult for every 10 students. Additional adults are $10 each.

Young Abolitionist Leadership Institute

This interdisciplinary learning experience creates a hands-on introduction to careers in a variety of fields, including but not limited to history, the arts, museum education, preservation, archaeology, photography, and horticulture. Through research and project based activities, students learn about the inspiring work of local abolitionists as they collaborate in the creation of professional public presentations showcasing what they have learned at The Leadership Institute. This innovative summer institute is an opportunity for teens to not simply learn about, but to re-create, a ‘sense’ for the past and its relevance today while becoming agents of change for a more equitable and just society.

 

Students create black history board game, graphic novel

The Albany Times Union – August 9, 2018 (updated August 14) – Lynda Edwards

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Y.S.U.R.E. – Teens bring awareness to social justice issues and inequalities.

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Past Events

Schuyler Flatts Civil War Encampment

Some of the youth from the URHPCR Young Abolitionists participated in the Civil War Encampment at Schuler Flatts this weekend. We also had a table at the event where we passed out lots of literature about the Underground Railroad and our organization. Our approach to the UGRR stresses documentation, local people, and African American abolitonists, which is different from what most others do. The young people joined in with the other re-enactors. We have been developing a unit re-enacting the 26th USCT Infantry. Our youths joined in with the NY 125th Infantry volunteers for this weekend.

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Bonnets And Bayonets – A Young Abolitionist Fundraiser for URHPCR

Young Abolitionists are enjoying an evening of Victorian dancing at the fundraising program they organized called Bonnets and Bayonets: an Evening of Victorian Dance. The event included dance instruction, live music, refreshments, lively conversation, and lots of laughter. The dance party was held in a 19th century ballroom which added a lovely ambiance to the event.

A special thanks go to our sponsors Troy Councilwoman Lynn Kopka, Dean Michael Baumgardner, Evan Ducreay, Mrs. Eleanor Aronstein, and Ms. Claudia Grossi. All teens are welcome to join in the fun!

More than one-hundred-twenty people turned out for the Young Abolitionist Teen Scholars Institute Open House. We are deeply thankful for the wonderful turnout. We also had some good press for the event. This was a summer youth employment assignment for the bulk of the young people but it was a different kind of work involvimng thinking and creativity. They still havd to show up on time, do the work required, and perform responsibly. But they were asked to decide what direction their projects would go in and then were held accountable for their results. Everyone had a good time and the program was a great success. Nealy all of the program was held outside with some sessions held inside the Myers Residence.

Sponsors included Times Union “Hope Fund” of The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, First Niagara Bank Foundation, M & T Bank Charitable Foundation, Citizens Bank Foundation, and KeyBank Foundation, in cooperation with the Siena College Summer Service Scholars Program.

A Greenhouse Meeting – St. Anne Institute and URHPCR Collaboration

Stephen and Harriet Myers would be overjoyed to see their principals still in action today. Born into slavery on or around 1800, Stephen Myers began his life a slave in Hoosick, NY. After gaining his freedom at 18 and beginning married life with Harriet (Johnson) Myers, Stephen quickly became active in assisting freedom seeking slaves at his residence and became very active in Albany’s African American community. Along with assisting hundreds with their journey to freedom, Stephen also was an outspoken proponent and advocate for work and education within the African American community. He was the first superintendent of the school at the Methodist Episcopal Church and started the Albany Suffrage Club, also serving for a time as the President of the New York Suffrage Association. Stephen wrote in several of the days Anti-Slavery papers, and for a time was responsible for publishing and contributing to The Northern Star and Freemans Advocate. Espousing education and job skills along with access to voting rights, Mr. Myers and his wife were dedicated to assisting the people of their community achieving fundamental human rights and access to education and employment.

The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region and Saint Anne Institute are partnering for a second year linking together both institutions’ long histories of being a bridge to personal freedom, education, and self-sufficiency. Using a greenhouse on Saint Anne’s property and the expertise of Master Gardeners who tend the garden on the Stephen and Harriet Myers Underground Railroad Historical Site, several young women are learning horticulture from experts. As they plant and tend the garden daily these young at-risk ladies see what hard work and determination yields and learn the invaluable skill and independence of growing their own fruits and vegetables.

Saint Anne Institute mirrors the principles of the Myers family in modern day practice. Established locally in 1887 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, Saint Anne has acted as a haven for young women in need for over 120 years. Beginning as a “school of industry and reformatory of the Good Shepherd” the mission of the time combined work and learning. Several trades including commercial and trade sewing, fine needlework, homemaking, and commerce were taught, and in 1945 a full high school was incorporated as the roles of women in America began to change. With the evolution and changing needs of young women Saint Anne has created programs to support and educate at-risk young people. Currently operating a Regents accredited High School, Saint Anne also offers a Day Services educational program for students who require a more supported school environment, along with an accredited pre-school for children ages 3-4 displaying speech and learning delays. Group therapy, sexual abuse counseling, drug addiction counseling, and grief and loss counseling are all available to the young people who come to Saint Anne in a time of need. An on-grounds Work Experience program is also active: placing young ladies in various departments throughout the agency supporting them in the acquisition of basic job skills. Clerical work, kitchen preparation, the campus clothing shop, and assisting in the pre-school are just a few of the many locations the young women have the opportunity to work.

Both institutions have throughout their histories held one common theme: to provide temporary help in a time of need through education and the building of skills leading to self-sufficiency and personal growth. In the words of Stephen Myers, “We devote all our time to the care of the oppressed who come among us. Our pay is small, but yet we are willing to continue to do what we can for them.” To see the young ladies work with the Master Gardeners, and then plant on the site that Stephen and Harriet Myers helped so many on is a testament to the richness of Albany’s long history and both institutes’ commitment to fundamental human dignity and freedom.

Saint Rose Reach Out Day

Mary Liz talks to the 24 students that came today as part of the Saint Rose Service Day. She told them about the Myers Residence, what their help meant, about their contribution to historic preservation and restoring the neighborhood as well as the history of the house. The young people worked on erecting a fence, planted fruit trees, did some general grounds work, planted flowers and many other tasks. It was a great day! Community volunteers Cecila and Seth also shared in the day and very importantly Daniel added critical know how in helping erect the fence! Thanks Dan!

Among the many projects done by the Reach Out Saint Rose crew on Saturday was the erection of a fence on area bordering the Myers Property from the 99 Third Street property also owned by URHPCR. The fence is to prevent people from using the Myers lot as a cross through to a local convenience store. An alternate path has been created through the Johnson Garden a coupl eo f lots over. The Saint Rose students involved in the fence installation all seemed to be members of the basketball team.

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