Jasiah Lewis, Arryan Faulk, Trinity Johnson, Steve Lewis, Travis Garvin and Tyjuan Armstrong, members of drama team at the Suffolk unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Virginia, perform “The Prodigal Son” at John F. Kennedy Middle School on Friday. Their program leader hopes to take them to New York.
Jasiah Lewis, Arryan Faulk, Trinity Johnson, Steve Lewis, Travis Garvin and Tyjuan Armstrong, members of drama team at the Suffolk unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Virginia, perform “The Prodigal Son” at John F. Kennedy Middle School on Friday. Their program leader hopes to take them to New York.

Archived Story

Plans for a dramatic pilgrimage

Published 10:42pm Friday, May 2, 2014

Growing up in New Jersey, drama and the theater helped Kecia Taliaferro get through it all.

“I had a pretty dysfunctional upbringing,” Taliaferro said, describing drug abuse in her childhood home.

But at age 12, she was introduced to the stage.

“I was pretty good, because it was a way of letting everything out,” Taliaferro said. “I think it saved my life, because it could have manifested itself in other ways.”

Now, Taliaferro is a program leader with the Suffolk unit of the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Virginia.

She is also a substitute teacher with Suffolk Public Schools and attends community college.

At the Boys and Girls Club, Taliaferro leads a drama team with seven teenagers. They’ve been invited to perform an adaptation of “The Prodigal Son,” and another original mime, “Walking Blink,” all over.

The students have also been teaching the art of mime to local church youth groups.

Taliaferro says that only one of the seven kids has seen New York — that city that helped fuel her passion for the theater, with Broadway and off-Broadway shows.

She wants to change that and, dreaming big, plans to take the kids to the “Big Apple.”

As well as taking in a play or two, she wants to show them such cultural icons as the Statue of Liberty, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, Ground Zero and the 9/11 Memorial Museum, and maybe even a Yankees or Mets game.

There’s also the Children’s Museum of Arts, she added.

Though her childhood wasn’t easy, Taliaferro said, “we were well-traveled, and I believe that made a difference.”

“I didn’t feel I had to be stuck there,” she said. “I knew I could pick up my life and go somewhere else and be who I wanted to be.

“I think that’s what I want for these kids.”

Taliaferro said that she’s willing to rent an SUV with her own money and dedicate this year’s vacation to the weekend trip. But she is also appealing for any kind of support she can get, and the kids, excited about Taliaferro’s plans, have been talking about fundraising.

“This is a faith-based drama team,” Taliaferro said. “Everything we do is based on Christian principles. We take what’s going on in the world, what’s going on in our lives … and we transform it into drama.”

Taliaferro can be reached via klt2214@email.vccs.edu.

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