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White Plains Kids Put A Face On African-American History

Byron Smalls displays a wedding dress doll made by a White Plains Youth Bureau student to raise money for the youth programs. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly
Frank Williams talks about the White Plains Youth Bureau's African doll project. Photo Credit: Brian Donnelly

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – Students with the White Plains Youth Bureau put a face on African-American history by creating dolls to sell throughout February as a fundraiser.

Students in kindergarten through high school made the African dolls using recycled material donated to the Youth Bureau and decorated them to showcase their heritage and creativity, said the bureau's director, Frank Williams. One boy made a doll in a wedding dress because his aunt was getting married, said Byron Smalls of the Youth Bureau.

Dolls were displayed Monday in City Hall. It will be a “traveling display” throughout the month, with the dolls showcased at locations to be announced, Williams said. They will also be displayed at the Youth Bureau.

“It shows you the kind of talent that we have in our community from our kids,” Williams said. “And it’s also putting a face on African-American history through this kind of project.”

The project is an extension of a previous project, the African Love Doll Project, Smalls said.

“Children made dolls just like these and sent them over to Africa to children who had no toys at all,” Smalls said. “This time we made them as a fundraiser for the Youth Bureau and also for the kids to get to take home.”

Some of the dolls were made in October for the Harlem Fine Arts Show held in White Plains. The sale of dolls, which went for $3 to $5 each, at that event raised more than $300, Smalls said.

“Some kids learned a little bit about history, learned how to make dolls, how to fundraise for the Youth Bureau and had a good time doing it,” Smalls said.

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