When I set out to create La Printeria, one of the primary motivators was the opportunity to teach printmaking to our inner-city and at-risk youth. So what is an at-risk youth? To me it's a youth who does not have ready access to the resources that could have a positive effect on that youth's future.
When I was a kid at Las Palmas Elementary, I remember seeing the other kids at my school departing in a school bus with their Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts uniforms for what I assume was a weekend of fun. I didn't know where they were going, but I knew I would've liked to have gone. That picture has never left me. Don't get me wrong, I had a good home life, but my street life was another story.
When I was at Edgewood Junior High, I did extremely bad at my school work. I remember getting my report card and seeing 16 F's, a D, and a C. The report card said: PASSED. What the report card really indicated was that Edgewood kids needed to be moved along regardless of their grades. Nearly 44 years later and Edgewood ISD is still among the worst school districts in the nation: https://www.niche.com/k12/d/edgewood-independent-school-district-san-antonio-tx/
At 17 I dropped out of Kennedy High School. Upon leaving the campus that September afternoon, the school counselor, who I had never seen or spoken to before, came to me and said, "if you do nothing else, call this person" -- it was the business card of an Air Force recruiter.
About a year later, I got married, something neither of us had any business of doing, oh but Amor. After about a year of working 2 or 3 jobs at the same, I pulled out that business card and contacted that recruiter and enlisted in the U.S. Air Force.
In the Air Force, I received the direction that was missing in my life. I served for the next 20 years and was nothing but blessed with all the assignment and educational opportunities given to me; I cried my eyeballs out when it came time for me retire. But I was ready. For the last 17 years, I have managed to work in capacities that helped me contribute to my community, especially our youth.
Today, I am launching a GOFUNDME campaign because I could use some help. I started to teach myself printmaking about 2 years ago when I retired and set out on this journey. About 8 months ago, I was able to launch La Printeria with my wife's, Sylvia, support and the support of Alamo Colleges and the Westside Development Corporation. La Printeria is a social enterprise. That is we operate as a non-profit that strives to be financially self-sustaining. Well, with your support, we are having some success, but we haven't gotten to the point of having sufficient revenue to provide free programming to youth, which is one of my primary goals.
I don't want this summer to go by without engaging some very talented young people who have a strong interest in the arts and in printmaking.
On July 3rd, through August 18th, I will be providing a 192-hour printmaking training course to about 10 young people absolutely free -- somehow.
I hope that I can count on your support at whatever level is possible for you.
Let's make a difference together. I will be forever grateful for your generosity.
Founder y Director, La Printeria
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