The Insight: Soon, We’ll Showcase Works From Our Lower East Side Critics Circle

By Harold Goldberg

For the past 12 weeks, the New York Videogame Critics Circle has taught a games journalism course at one of the Henry Street Settlement’s Community Centers on the Lower East Side. The center is generally an after school hang for young people, a welcoming place to congregate. It’s not a place where journalism, games history or writing has been taught before.

To create this course, The Circle worked in partnership with Henry Street’s Youth Opportunity Hub, one of five in New York City. It’s “funded by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, which redistributes criminal forfeiture funds obtained through settlements with international banks.”

Now that the class is completed, the Circle will be publishing a few of the stories the young people, who averaged around the age of 14, have written. These pieces range from the intellectual essay to the empathetic confessional, and all writers now have the chance to showcase the skills our nonprofit organization has instilled in students over the last three months.

During these weeks of study, the class enjoyed speakers and mentors like Sherri Smith from Laptop, who talked about her pathways to success, and Whitney Meers, who spoke about her work on Newsweek’s Fortnite special issue. Annie Nguyen, our project manager, also mentored and helped edit Mayia Moore, who became one of the Lower East Side group’s standouts. The students also recorded a Circle podcast in December.

Additionally, senior intern Isaac Espinosa got a promotion and became a mentor associate. Each week, Isaac imparted his gaming knowledge, which is vast when it comes to games like Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He also helped students pen their stories. Isaac began as a student who took our DreamYard Prep School after school courses, and we’re proud to say he’s come a long way since then.

Journalist/author Harold Goldberg is the founder of the New York Videogame Critics Circle and the New York Game Awards.

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