31 May, 2012
JUNE SIMMS: Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.
I'm June Simms. This week on our program, we talk to Harry Styles of the boy band One Direction and play some of the group's music...
We also take a look at some of your comments...
But first, we visit a building project in Washington, DC, where volunteers are working to help homeless teens.
Home for Homeless Teens
JUNE SIMMS: Sasha Bruce Youthwork helps poor and homeless children in Washington, D.C. The not-for-profit group recently received an unusual donation: an old, unlivable house. Sasha Bruce is repairing the building to make a safe home for homeless teenagers. Shirley Griffith has more.
SHIRLEY GRIFFITH: Members of the American Institute of Architects are among the volunteers working at the house. The designers and builders are in Washington for the institute's yearly meeting. But on this day, they are carrying pieces of wood, adding nails to the floors and putting window glass into window frames. A few others are outside the house, digging a garden.
One of the volunteers is Gwen Berlekamp from Ohio. She suggests the work being done will change more than just one house.
GWEN BERLEKAMP: "When you make improvements to communities, it has a ripple effect. So other people, the neighbors will feel better about living here, the children have a better neighborhood to grow up in."
Bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, living and dining areas begin to take shape in the two-level house. Nineteen-year-old Kevin Vines is excited by the speed at which the repairs are being made. He has been on the job for several months as part of the Sasha Bruce YouthBuild, a work and life skills program.
KEVIN VINES: "I'm getting carpentry, as of right now. That's what I like to do. Hands on work."
The young man left high school before finishing. He was unemployed and facing legal problems when he entered the YouthBuild program. Marcus Brooks is showing him and other young people how to build houses. The trainer is proud of the progress Kevin Vines has made.
MARCUS BROOKS: "Kevin has really shown a lot of leadership and is pretty good with his hands. I expect him to be a big shining star for this program."
However, Marcus Brooks says it has not been easy.
MARCUS BROOKS: "We deal with the kids nobody else wants to deal with. When the kids come to us they have all types of issues, personal problems. We, kind of, show them love."
Marcus Brooks says the project has helped to build character in the young people.
MARCUS BROOKS: "What I'm interested in is that they have a strong work ethic because they can take that work ethic and become anything they want to be in life."
Debby Shore is the director of Sasha Bruce Youthwork. She explains the importance of the YouthBuild kids working with volunteers from around the country.
DEBBY SHORE: "We are building relationships here that make such a difference for young people."
Architect and volunteer Tom Schell is from Florida. He says being involved in the Youthwork project helps him better understand the difficulties faced by homeless Americans.
TOM SCHELL: "I know that at any given time any of the types of situations that they're in could happen to my kids. It could happen to me. Look at our economy and the way things are going now. Everybody's vulnerable and I think it is really important to be on the front end of giving."
JUNE SIMMS: Now Christopher Cruise takes a look at some of your comments about recent American Mosaic programs.
CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Several of you wrote about our report on a food aid program that school children and their parents help run. Food on the Fifteenth provides food to older, needy people in parts of Maryland.
Palla wrote to say she loved the report. She said the program shows how people provide goodwill and compassion to others.
Ann agrees. She writes that she wants to be a part of Food on the Fifteenth: I can share my fortunate [life] with other people. And she says calls the program extremely wonderful for young students.
Several people also enjoyed singer Lionel Richie's new style on his album "Tuskegee." Honny Baggy writes: Lionel changed his style from pop to country. It's not a problem, we still enjoy his voice.
Another writer, RYO, describes Lionel Richie's songs as dreamy.
Jean writes of a different music feature on American Mosaic. She liked Lucero, whose lead singer and songwriter visited us in the studio. Jean wrote lovely songs!!! I had a bad day, but when I heard the songs they seemed to tell me ‘girl, cheer up! Everything will be just fine." It's almost weekend. Let's leave bad things far, far, far behind.
Finally, we received a lot of messages about our story on the winners of the Goldman environmental prize. Theresa praised the honorees: I salute your bravery. Hopefully everyone will show the same kind of concern to our environment.
Yoshi noted the hard work they do: to be activists is more difficult and greater than to just be critics.
Neo also praised the activists but warned them not to be satisfied with the prize: keep going on in your way to give a hand to stabilize our planet.
Thanks you for all of your comments and keep them coming.
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One Direction's Harry Styles
JUNE SIMMS: One Direction is a hot, new boy band that got its start on the television show "X-Factor." In less than two years, the group has a very popular first album and two hit singles. And, all the shows on its American concert tour are sold-out.
The five members of One Direction are from England and Ireland. But the boys are extremely popular in America, too. In March, One Direction performed for the "Today" show television program on the streets of New York. About fifteen thousand people showed up to watch, a "Today" show record.
Recently, VOA's Larry London spoke to lead singer Harry Styles at a stop on the One Direction concert series in America.
LARRY LONDON: How has all of this stuff affected you? In the last year? You guys are now reviving boy bands and the British invasion again. So how's that hitting you?"
HARRY STYLES: "I think for us where just normal lads, so, we're normal teenage guys so for all this to be happening is absolutely crazy. And we're having so much fun. We work so, so hard, so we play hard as well."
JUNE SIMMS: One Direction's first single, "What Makes You Beautiful," was a number one hit in Britain and Ireland. It went to number four on Billboard's singles chart after its release in America.
Larry London asked Harry Styles about some of the comments music critics have made about One Direction.
LARRY LONDON: "Now, how does the comparison to the Beatles affect you? Because I know Sir Paul McCartney recently said something in an interview to be careful about those comparisons."
HARRY STYLES: "You know a lot of people aim to be stuff like the next Beatles. And I think, if you base your career on trying to achieve someone else's goals, that's kind of the wrong way to do it. So, it's incredibly flattering. I'm a massive fan of the Beatles. I listened to them growing up. So to have that comparison is huge, but, at the same time, we kind of find it a bit ridiculous because the Beatles are such an icon."
JUNE SIMMS: One Direction's album is called "Up All Night." Singer Kelly Clarkson helped write this song, "Tell Me A Lie."
One Direction is currently working on a second album. Larry London asked about that project.
LARRY LONDON: "Now the second album is that going to be like the first album, ‘Up All Night'?"
HARRY STYLES: Yeah I think it's important that we don't try too many new things too soon. I think that sound is very us so I think it's gonna' be the same kind of vibe as the first album. Just, I think, the music will grow up as we grow up. So it will kind of evolve a little bit."
JUNE SIMMS: Harry Styles said the band has experienced all kinds of new things with all the travelling and fame. But he said one of the most exciting events was selling out the band's concert at Madison Square Garden.
HARRY STYLES: "It's such a prestigious venue. To be playing there is a great honor."
JUNE SIMMS: We leave you with One Direction performing "Gotta' Be You" from the album "Up All Night."
JUNE SIMMS: I'm June Simms. This program was written and produced by Caty Weaver. Rosanne Skirble provided additional reporting.
Join us again next week for music and more on AMERICAN MOSAIC in VOA Special English.