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Denzel's Dreams Are Blossoming
Monday, 17 February 2014 14:18

By Rebecca Pauley

How can a small band of teens transform an urban lot of trash into a bounty of green, natural treasure? What if a neighborhood filled with neglect and despair can once again be filled with hope; and an overgrown lot be replaced with a thriving oasis?    

Welcome to Denzel Thompson's urban gardens: flourishing acres of flowers, plants and greenhouses, creating an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs for the local residents to enjoy.

Denzel Thompson,18, is the youngest co-founder of Philadelphia Urban Creators (PUC). PUC is a youth led, community-based organization that sees overgrown or garbage-covered vacant lots as starting points for gardens that provide fresh vegetables and herbs for the public.

Denzel related that the idea sprouted when he was around 14 years old. “I found it difficult to stay healthy like many kids in my neighborhood because
of the lack of access to fresh food and produce.

“Then, after visiting New Orleans with friends to help out after Hurricane Katrina, I realized that Philadelphia and New Orleans suffer from the same type of  social issues. After that trip, we started discussing the idea of Philadelphia Urban Creators,” he explained.

Since PUC's start, Thompson and his team have planted about eight gardens, including one that expands about three acres! This captured the attention of locals and the media.

As word of this great organization spread, Thompson went on to win a National Teen Nick Halo Award. He also has the help of world-renowned actress and activist Queen Latifah!

A process such as creating an urban garden is no easy task, and requires a tremendous amount of teamwork and perseverance.

When asked about his team, Denzel replied, “We definitely put together the team for its resources...and I did not just sit down with a group of people that were just like me. With my group I made sure that we were all diverse, because the more diverse you are, the better your ideas can prosper, and the better great things will come to you at the end. The more diverse you are, the better intake of positivity.”


A “Little Red Wagon” of Hope - Zach Bonner’s Mission to Help Homeless Children

By Rebecca Pauley

You are walking along a busy city walkway out of the corner of your eye you spot a homeless man clad in rags, shaking a rusty can in his outstretched hand. After some consideration you decide to walk past the man and continue on with your day. You figure the man has made several regrettable choices that put him in this position, and perhaps someone else will give him money or food.

What if  a child appeared, instead of a man,hungry in a city street with nowhere to call home.

Zach Bonner, a fourteen-year-old philanthropist, made that choice and decided to help. Not just help, though. Along with collecting truckloads upon truckloads of food and supplies, he walked across the country to spread awareness of the Invisible Youth of America. Moreover, he gave these children what they needed most of all, hope.

I got the chance to interview Zach during his recent stop in Philadelphia about his many charitable projects through his Little Red Wagon Foundation, and about the movie highlighting his achievements, “Little Red Wagon.” I discovered that Zach truly changed the way thousands of Americans think and that he is an inspiration to all of us.

As kids, we depend on the adults to take care of the ongoing struggles America faces. But not Zach, who at six years old saw a TV news segment about a hurricane that left hundreds of people homeless in his home state of Florida, and decided to do something. 

“If we keep expecting everybody else to do their part then we ourselves don’t get involved and nothing will really ever get accomplished,” explained Zach.

Marvin Marvin - Out of This World!

“I think pretty much everyone in high school or even middle school for that matter feels like they’re an alien in some way! Like maybe they don’t really fit in”. These are the words of Lucas Cruikshank, who many know as “Fred” from YouTube and currently the star of Nickelodeons new hit series “Marvin Marvin”.

Lucas plays an odd high school student named Marvin, whose personality and experiences are out of this world, literally!

Marvin is from outer space but he lives with a family on earth and attends school like almost any normal kid, however, Marvin is far from ordinary. Marvin struggles everyday in school to suppress his powers from space with the help of his friends (Pat Finn, Mim Drew, Victory Van Tuyl, Jacob Bertrand, Casey Sander, and Camille Spirlin).

Some of Marvin’s quirky powers include always having to dance when music comes on, flying when he’s really happy, talking to animals, and the ability to make anything extremely hot or freezing cold with just the touch of his finger.

Other than the fact that Marvin is from outer space, the show is very relatable for kids of all ages who encounter everyday life experiences in school and at home. Marvin gets himself into a number of sticky situations throughout the course of the season.

HUGO The Movie cast and chat.

By Taylor Campos

Imagine yourself living in Paris during the 1930’s. Now imagine the unlimited possibilities of adventure living under cover within the walls of a train station! Think about all the interesting people and situations you would run into on a daily basis trying to survive and unlock a secret.

This was the life of Hugo Cabret. Martin Scorsese’s most recently released work of art is based on Brian Selznick's children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”. The book was transformed into a multi-layered movie that will appeal to kids of all ages!

I had the opportunity to go to NYC screening and press conference of Hugo before its release! I was captivated from the beginning to the end of “Hugo”. I would like to thank Martin Scorsese, Paramount, John Logan, Graham King, and Brian Selznick for producing such an astounding feature!

“Hugo” is an adventurous and emotional film about a young twelve-year old orphan (Asa Butterfield) who lives within the walls of a 1930’s Paris train station. However, Hugo didn’t always live behind closed doors. Hugo was forced to move into the station and attend to the clocks with his careless and alcoholic uncle (Ray Winstone) after his father (Jude Law) died in a museum fire.


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