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For three years, NYC artist Robert Galinsky has been mentoring incarcerated youth through his non-profit Literacy for Incarcerated Teens (LIT), bringing transformative workshops on literature, creative writing, character building and the like, to a group that would otherwise be forgotten. But his approach is a bit different than most, as he uses an American pastime to bridge the gap — coffee.

“Coffee is a uniter! Coffee is a social binder,” said Galinsky. Author of Coffee Crazy and a coffee enthusiast though and though, he promotes the benefits that goes beyond the taste, and sings praises of the emotional and spiritual growth that can be established over a cup of joe.This positive addition plays a major role in his outreach towards disadvantaged youth.

The only non-profit organization of its kind, LIT works toward ending illiteracy by inspiring them to read. “Coffee Crazy was part of the connection, as we use it to shine a light on short-form writing and on poetic writing,” said Galinsky. “Writing and reading for kids can be intimidating, so for them to see the economy of language in the book lessens any stress around learning and relearning how to write and read. Also, the lessons in the book about communication with people, over coffee or not, are really embraced by the students too. It’s one of a number of books that I work with.”

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Frequenting Rikers Island Jail and correctional facilities in Hudson and Long Island NY twice a week, Galinsky has called upon the community for support through an auction to further assist the initiative.

“I want to involve people’s time and energy on the donor side, as opposed to a more traditional crowd funding effort. When someone gives their time, or an item that is of value to them, or an item they’ve created specifically for this, they are making another kind of statement that says they are an active ambassador of our cause,” he stated.

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In addition to one of a kind experiences such as a Jeffrey Hayzlett’s Bacon and Scotch tasting or a hand made cutting board by Geoff McKonley, the auction will include a sit down with several mover and shakers. “The auction also offers “Coffee with…” a handful of game changers including: Jamal Joseph, Josh Harris, Shabaka Henley, Libby Moore, Monica Watkins, Andy Rourke, Jay O. Sanders and we’re adding more each week.” Galinsky shared

“Google any of those names and you’ll see who they are and they do. Their time spent with someone who is willing to pay for it, speaks to the strength of this auction’s root cause. They are united in saying that teens need education in jails and prisons, so they can grow to be good women and good men in our society and so they can raise good women and good men too. “Food Before Love” hi-lighting the strength of food, and coffee, in our auction is also a statement in itself I am proud of.”

 

Coffee continues to play a major role as several coffee related organizations have donated including Ninth Street Espresso, Abraço Espresso, The ROOST, Joe Coffee, BCup Cafe, Birch Coffee, Crop to Cup, and Roast Magazine. Food Before Love has also taken part by donating two tickets to our annual boat ride.

Bidding ends August 16th, click here for more info!

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