by Managing Editor, Nikki Vergakes
“I am the voice of the orphans; wherever I lay my mic is my home.” – Maliqe Young
Wherever this soul artists lays his mic truly is where his home and his heart are. After being orphaned and put into foster care at the tender age of three, he little hope. Instead of having heart-to-hearts with his mother, he had them with his paper and pen. Instead of throwing the football around with this father, he spent quality time with the microphone. Now that Maliqe Young’s career is taking off, especially after winning the Boston-based “Hit That Note” talent search this past August, he wants to use his voice to show others having a hard time that there’s hope for the future.
“It was me who chose to change my life rather than to fall” – This Is My Life, Maliqe Young
Rather than just letting the system shape him, Young created his own path. Young worked hard on his music, and now he has something to show for it. The rapper from Boston has multiple singles out now, and his career is growing rapidly. He wants to give back and create opportunities for orphans in need that he wished he had before. He created his charity Vow Of The Orphans, with cofounder and fellow music producer to do just that.
His co-founder of V’OTO is Sacoyia “Shanay” Johnson. Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She has seen similar visions of pain in her upbringing, and wants to help just as much as Maliqe. “We live in a society where single parents are acknowledged so the issues of the orphaned child or children are swept under the rug. You’re in the middle of feeling ungrateful because you at least have or know one parent but there’s a fundamental piece of you that’s still omitted, so you’re hurt. How do you deal with it?”, she says. These are the issues Shanay and Maliqe want to aid.
With growing violence and crime in the youth, there’s limited places for them to go after school to be safe and creative. Shanay states, “If we had a place here where the children can go and parents and individuals of the communities start exhibiting reciprocity maybe some healing progress can be made.” V’OTO plans to do just that.
“Education is fundamental. Knowledge is infinite power. And it takes a village to raise a child. Division and derision is running rampant in our community. Our youth are still finding ways to occupy their time though. Since the closing and/or firing of faculty members in notable programs the amount of correctional institutions has grown. We vow to create a place the youth can attend and further their knowledge.” – V-OTO FAQ.
Vow of the Orphans hopes to create a network, a community, and a family for lost children to not only find emotional support but also a direction for their future. Their goal is to connect these children with resources for training in Art/Dance, Media, Landscaping, Engineering, and more through a local community center. This is what all donations will go to.
Roughly 500,000 children in the U.S. are in the foster care system, and only 9/10 of them will be reunited with their family. An angry adolescent can grow into a dangerous adult. V-OTO wants to provide a healthy, safe, and fun outlet for these children.
“The pain comes from the territory, check your surroundings…” Tough Times, Maliqe Young
V-OTO’s next step to reach their mission is their big event in December. “The Vow: Dedication To Hugh Leichtman” is on December 15, 2014 from 6-9 PM at 735 Shawmut Ave, Roxbury, MA 02119. The night of creating constructive outlets for youth will consist of showcase performances by dance groups, a buffet, video presentations, a raffle, and of course networking between the children and professionals in the field they’d like to get into. Check it out on December 15 to see how Young and Shanay will make sure that every child has a bright future.
First-come first-serve parking will be available. All money raised that night will go towards the community center for the orphans that V-OTO hopes to build.
Keep posted on www.v-oto.com for an RSVP section. For further questions, email email@example.com. Also, don’t be afraid to register at http://www.v-oto.com/register/ if you want to see what V-OTO can do for you.