LEAF Global Makes You A Star

The LEAF Global Classroom has become a shining example of what new possibilities can come out of difficult times. In partnership with the Christine W. Avery STARS program, we bring a “pod” of kids together a few times throughout their school week for COVID-safe cultural arts education, homework support, and community.

Most recently, the kids got together with their LEAF Schools & Streets Teaching Artists, Melvin, and made a film and we’ve got to say, it’s pretty AWESOME. REMEMBER….it is a timestamped film of the past with some mystery. The kids had fun and learned how to make a mini-movie. 


After working with the LEAF Global Classroom students for a while, I noticed that they all wanted to feel and be a larger part of the community. These students are very intelligent and wanted to do bigger things, more spontaneous things, and ultimately more creative things that would require a more artistic and active approach to showing they’re creative and fun/youthful side. In addition, these students wanted to show their appreciation for LEAF Global Classrooms and LEAF Schools & Streets. The original idea was to create a video of interviews of the kids and a slideshow of what they’ve been up too. That was until I began the process and realized, it truly felt like more of an interrogation and less of a fun, creative, and purposeful activity. Thus, I went on to gather the students and ask their opinions on what they would like the video to be. So the “knockoff” 007 spy movie parody was born. The kids and I decided it would be best to make it a fun, funny, not-so-serious “short film”, because it would allow the students to be loose and perfectly imperfect. This meaning that the students wouldn’t feel pressure to be this perfect and seasoned actress or actor, with high expectations and judgment staring them dead in the face, but an INDIVIDUAL with character, differing personalities, purpose, and promise!

The beginning of the short film is myself appearing to be on the run and in distress. The intro video clip is timestamped “January 1, 2000” because my character (The previous 007 spy agent) was in an abandoned hideout with GPS and signal jammers surrounding, so I couldn’t be detected. The GPS and Signal Jammers also cause time to jumble up and become illegible. The closer the enemies got, the more disruptive the video and other technology became. On the other hand, this character is indeed IN December 01, 2020. – Melvin AC Howell

Mayani is a Maasai boy from longido Arusha. He went to boarding school at 6 years old and lost his Maasai language and tradition. Since joining the LEAF program, he has learned to sing Maasai songs, practiced the ‘jump’ tradition and wear Maasai shukas (traditional clothing). Mayani is extremely happy and is currently teaching other youth the culture.