Seventeen-year-old Sabrina Yerena is not your average high school student. In her spare time, this community leader is a teacher, dancer, drummer, actor, activist, and now, a Rookie Playmaker. Sabrina wears these many hats through her involvement with local community programs offered by Loco Bloco. Sabrina recently was selected as one of five Rookie Playmakers drafted by the Levi’s® brand, in partnership with the 50 Fund, the legacy fund of the Super Bowl 50 Host Committee.
Founded by artists and activists of color in San Francisco, Loco Bloco aims to engage San Francisco’s youth in performing arts rooted in Afro-Latino traditions and the Afro-Blocos of Brazil. The organization uses art as a tool to fight injustice, and it encourages its students to use their passion, experience, and creativity to inspire action and change.
“With what I have learned at Loco Bloco, I have been able to help others, including young kids, strive for what they want,” Sabrina said. “I am passionate because I was able to experience first-hand the changes Loco Bloco has made in other people’s lives, as well as in my own.”
Through Loco Bloco, Sabrina is able to explore her Mexican American heritage and culture, as well as connect with other members in her community in the vibrant Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Since she began participating in Loco Bloco programs during her freshman year of high school, she has blossomed into a leader in the community and a skilled performer.
“Loco Bloco has helped me grow into a more confident person,” Sabrina noted. “When I first started Loco Bloco, I was really shy, but getting involved in their performances and leadership program has encouraged me to come out of my shell. Now, I am doing things that I would have never imagined I would do.”
Today, Sabrina teaches other members of youth programs and shares her skills, and in the past three years, has become the most requested Class Assistant by Loco Bloco instructors, as well as a principal performer in the organization’s Performing Ensemble.
The support Loco Bloco will receive from Levi’s® as part of the Playmaker program will help fund the production of “Sonido Del Barrio” (“The Sound of the Neighborhood”). This performance is a showcase for all of Loco Bloco’s classes and an opportunity for the youth members to perform on stage for their community in the Mission District.
“The arts can help young people express themselves in a way that sometimes words can’t,” Sabrina said. “It can help them voice their thoughts and the struggles they are going through. The arts can help young people forget about what is going on in their lives, even if it’s just for a second.”
For Sabrina, being drafted by the Levi’s® brand as a Rookie Playmaker is significant beyond the personal recognition she’s received: “It is an amazing honor because I know that with this, I will be able to change many other lives by helping Loco Bloco give more kids the opportunity to perform.”
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