Samuel Joey Alleyne: MPA Student Shapes Local Youth With Partnership Between Carson Nonprofit and University
Samuel Joey Alleyne, an M.P.A. student at California State University, Dominguez Hills, was able to watch life imitate art, instead of the other way around. Last semester on the Carson campus, the associate production manager and dance instructor for Positive Images of Self Expression (PISE), collaborated with Gayle Ball Parker, director of University Outreach and Information Services to bring a production of “High School Drama,” a show created by PISE and sponsored by the City of Carson Fine Arts & Historical Commission, to local high school students in the University Theatre. The objective: to encourage enrollment for both the Carson-based nonprofit and the university.
“I said, ‘Instead of having it at another theatre, let’s have it at the theatre here,” Alleyne recalls. “We bussed [students] in from the community to simulate a pep rally, where they had a chance to play cheerleaders [and members of] fraternities and sororities. We had students who graduated from the PISE program who were actually students here... onstage saying, ‘This is what PISE has done for me, to get me into college.’”
Until recently, Alleyne spent more than a decade running his own youth enrichment program, JAMM Performing Arts Company, where he served as founder, chief executive officer, instructor, agent and talent scout. Although the company was based in Los Angeles, he found himself traveling constantly to bring the program to his native Nassau, Bahamas and throughout the United States. After joining forces with fellow performer and PISE founder Imani Hayward, he has devoted himself to helping to expand the 11-year-old academy that has become a local institution in the Carson and Compton communities.
“We incorporate so many different things,” Alleyne says. “It’s not just a dance studio, but a performing arts conglomerate with dance, modeling, acting, self-development, and career development. A lot of the time, teenagers don’t know how to express themselves. The arts help them with confidence, self-esteem building, [speaking] in front of an audience, how to write and develop their skills. Whatever fields they go into, it will definitely help them because it broadens their mindset.”
Alleyne conquered his shyness as a child through learning mime. He says that one way for young people to identify a fulfilling career is to identify something they would be willing to do without being paid.
“I had a lisp and I found that mime helped me communicate clearly,” he says. “It was a catharsis, a release. When I woke up in the morning, I thought about it, when I went to bed, I thought about it. I was free doing it... and I would do it for free.”
An adjunct faculty member in leisure studies at CSU Dominguez Hills, Alleyne teaches the importance of a balanced lifestyle that includes time for both work and play. He says that the arts help young people with seemingly unrelated studies and pursuits.
“I was able to help students who were failing in school, because of ADD and other issues by doing mime,” he says. “It helped them to focus by telling a story. Tap dance helps with cognitive development [through] different patterns and beats. “High School Drama” was developed from a forum we held, getting a group of teenagers together and talking about real issues with the chance to write it down and see it manifest itself in art.”
For more information on PISE, click here.
For more information on CSU Dominguez Hills University Outreach and Information Services, click here.
- Joanie Harmon
Photo above: Samuel Joey Alleyne, an M.P.A. student at Dominguez Hills, teaches some moves to local youth at grand re-opening of Positive Images of Self Expression, a performing arts school in Carson.
Photo by Joanie Harmon