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“Who you are inside cannot be denied!”

– Paul Rodriguez

Book-Smart - Street Wise empowers kids with an understanding of the different types of intelligence they possess. Validating the intelligences they use outside of school helps them connect to and appreciate the importance of what they learn in school. The program uses the extraordinary history of how the disregarded youth of the South Bronx overcame poverty and repression through self-preservation and the arts they created. It inspires kids to believe in the power of their creativity and the undeniable value of the personal expression that is uniquely their own.

Focus on the art of Graffiti

Book-Smart - Street Wise identifies five schools to absorb participants in carefully considering where, when, why, and how they learn in their everyday lives. It expands their understanding of who their teachers are in all aspects of life. Most importantly, the program makes each participant aware of their crucial role in educating themselves.


Book-Smart – Street Wise uses Hip Hop's popularity and familiarity to capture students' imaginations and engage them in deep and meaningful learning. Over the course of five sessions, each of the 5-schools is paired with a Hip Hop art form. The students create a work of art to help them explore the who-what-where-when and why of the learning that takes place in each school.


The program's goal is to empower kids with a belief in their ability to learn and make positive choices with what they learn. This is achieved by cultivating self-education skills such as focus and grit and social-emotional learning skills such as compassion and mindfulness. Empowered with these skills and just enough structure and guidance along the way, the StreetWise program can help them become successful in whatever they are passionate about. Ultimately, they can use their success to give back to their communities and make a positive impact like the Hip Hop pioneers who paved the path that they are following. The lesson learned is, "Just like hip hop cannot be stopped, who you are inside cannot be denied!"

“Hip Hop is the triumph of personal expression
over the bonds of repression.” – Paul Rodriguez

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