Monday, August 25, 2014

A Moment with Mike Mulat

 This past week, one of our wonderful team members left the organization. On Wednesday, the CMP crew said farewell to Media Educator Michael Mulat, who is joining his wife, Jasmine, in the DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) area to continue their work in Arts and Education. While we are sad to see Mike go, we are excited to witness what his future holds, and we know it will be a bright one!

 Mike came to us as a volunteer, working with our staff to create content for a variety of CMP Programs and Events. It wasn’t long before his talent as an artist, aptitude towards learning, and his ability as an educator became apparent. After a year of volunteering, Mike was made part of our home office staff, as a Media Educator.

 Over the next two years, Mike worked with youth in programs like Media Magic and DROP TV, working diligently to create amazing content for our promotions and website, and helped to provide a quality experience for all of our program participants. During his time with us, Mike created many great memories with students and staff alike. We asked some of the staff and students to provide insight on what it was like to work with Mike, by highlighting some of their favorite experiences. Here are some excerpts from those responses:

Mike in his element, teaching youth about filmmaking

“One of my favorite memories of Mike (and there are so many!) is from the winter/spring of 2012, when we took a group of youth to the Community Read book discussion nights at the Family Partnership Center. We'd teach Media Magic from 3:30 - 5:30, then we'd pile into my car and head over to the Sadie Peterson African Roots Library to meet with community members, non-profit leaders, and Poughkeepsie activists to discuss Michelle Alexander's book, The New Jim Crow. Even at the end of a long day, Mike always brought his quiet-but-keen insights and observations, while being so supportive of the youth as they worked through the tough issues raised in discussion. After a few weeks, the youth got to the point where they took initiative to lead the reading group through a small media production workshop, in which they led everyone through making radio PSAs about racial profiling and the prison-industrial complex. I know we couldn't have done it without Mike. The fact that those exhausting and long nights were still times of true learning and enjoyable discussion is a great example of Mike's heart, dedication, and diligence in helping to facilitate community transformation. He modeled for the youth how to have fun working hard, long hours on a project that matters to the community, and was - as always - a wonderful coworker and friend with whom to share that experience.”

- Mary Ellen Iatropoulos
Director of Education

“I have so many great memories of working with Mike. I’ve known him for long time now and have made amazing short films with him and the DROPTV groups… they were so much fun to work on and be a part of. Though one of my favorite memories of Mike was making the DROPTV short film Origin Story. With our DROPTV group we were able to collaborate all our ideas and make a short film about a super-hero finding his origin story their funny situations. Working with Mike on Origin Story was a fun experience that left everyone laughing. I am really glad I was able to work and get to know Mike. He is a great Teacher , Collaborator , and Friend.”

- Jack Palmiotti
Alumni, Youth Committee Member

“My favorite memory of Mike is when Mike, Ryan, and I, all went to teach a class at an elementary school. It is a memory I will cherish because it was the first time I’d set out on a job with my favorite teachers. It was one of those times when I wasn't a student anymore! I was on par with my own mentors! We had a great and chill time and that is what I liked the most. Mike is a very cool and talented guy and he gave me so much encouragement on my music! He will be very missed! Thank you Mike!”

- Nathaniel Jackson

“The best memory I had was when I was first coming to CMP and he taught the group all these different techniques and dynamics to film. I enjoyed this the most because it broadened my perspective of how different the methods that are applied to developing a film can be.”

- Michael Davidson

“I loved talking about Scorsese with Mike.”

- David Foley

“My favorite memories with Mike are working with him on No Justice For Clint Monroe, No Reason, and Origin Story. They were all so much fun to work on, and it was awesome having him for both projects my first year here. No Reason has to be my favorite piece I've made at DROPTV; it was just so ridiculous and fun. Thanks for everything, Mike.”

- Sam Brinkley
Youth Producer, Youth Committee Member

“My favorite Mike memory is working with him on two pieces, Origin Story and The Contained. It was a great experience and while I worked with Mike he taught me all things I know now about camerawork and editing. He is a great teacher and I wish him the best.”

- Dion Pinkney

“So CMP had just sent a bunch of us in a van to go to Troy, NY [to visit] another not-for-profit program called Media Sanctuary. It was a huge event - tons of people were there - and we collaborated with them to make some good work, and it was screened afterwards… On the ride back Mike sat next to me and we just started talking. I don't remember exactly what we talked about but I know we talked the whole car ride back. It was really cool to have someone to talk to on that ride and actually about real stuff and topics. When we got back all my friends were asked what we were talking about and I didn't have an actually answer - we were just talking. So after that I saw Mike a bunch of places and he's helped me a lot on my journey and he will very much be missed. So thank you mike and hope paths cross soon.”

- Nick Jackson
Alumni, Teaching Assistant

Our farewell brunch with Mike

 As you can tell from the above quotes, Mike’s quiet and friendly personality helped to create a pleasant and nurturing environment for both students and staff. He has been held in high regard with virtually anyone he comes into contact with, and his contributions to our organization, in particular, were paramount to the work we do here at CMP. He will be deeply missed here, but we have no doubt that wherever Mike’s journey leads him, he will continue to prove himself as an asset to that organization.

 Mike and Jasmine, we wish you the best of luck, and greatest success, in all of your future endeavors. We will miss you both!

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