Welcome to The HOOD; the House of Original Dreams. A state-funded program serving at-risk youth ages 16-21 in West Chester, PA, 35 miles outside of Philadelphia. Here young people can prepare for the GED, learn job skills and life lessons. Their presence is voluntary; by entering the door they’ve made a commitment to change their lives. Contracted to serve 50 youth, the center assists three times that. Students are bussed each way from their homes, workplaces, shelters and juvenile detention centers.
I visited the HOOD to give a presentation based on my research about the history of the black jockeys. While working as a literacy consultant in Newark, NJ, I met Miles Dean, a teacher who had ridden his horse across the country in 2008 to celebrate the history of African Americans. *
*Stay tuned: My book about his journey: “On the Trail of the Ancestors: A Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America” will be out in about a month.