Diaspora

Haitian artist works with Bay area kids to change lives – Bay News 9

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NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. – A local artist is changing the lives of children he gets to work with.
Junior Polo teaches painting classes for free to kids to help keep them out of trouble.
“Since I’ve been in kindergarten, I’ve been working and doing art,” Polo said.
Polo is from originally from Haiti. He first came to the United States on a scholarship to the University of South Florida.
He ended up staying in Tampa Bay. For the past seven years, he’s been working with children through a non-profit program called Prodigy.
It’s a prevention program for at-risk kids and teaches them life skills, using visual and performing arts.
“Patience is a big one,” Polo said.
Many of his students have been in his classes for years. Currently, he’s teaching at Regency Park Library in New Port Richey.
“He’s really nice. Always calls us my friend,” said one student.
Junior loves seeing the progress his students make, challenging them to come up with new ideas for every class.
“Everyone does something different. They don’t compare their work to each other’s,” Polo said.
Junior has been teaching children since he was 16 years old, back to when he lived in Haiti.
“It’s what I enjoy the most,” Polo said.
Prodigy is in 8 counties across west and central Florida. It’s part of the University Area Community Development Corporation. For more information, click here.

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