I’m Valerie Freedom, author of The Sapling. My story begins in the Lower East Side as a teeny, tiny seed blowing on the wind and landing comfortably in a schoolyard at Franklin Delano Roosevelt School. Over time, children at the school painted Dream Walls, I Am Loisaida, and Dream Walls 2.0, expressing their creativity in the growing, warm community environment that birthed me.
As I grew, the winds carried me to other schools to plant saplings and create murals through them. The beauty expanded as I learned how to make music, produce media, and eventually even dance to diverse community rhythms.
With the help of a collective of empowered artists and the people of New York, I’ve seized the “Opportunity” to cultivate beauty in communities throughout the City ever since. Now my favorite pastime is watching kids of all ages flourish through the arts.
Please join me on The Sapling blog as we chronicle Thrive Collective’s first ever Summer Arts Academy at the Harlem Hub.
Likes: Superhero movies, fresh air, outdoor activities, painting, basketball, socializing, dance, commUNITY, inspiring action to make change
Dislikes: Violence, prejudice, discrimination, insecurities, and excessive screen time!