People: Run DMC Rapper Darryl McDaniels’ Charity to Celebrate 10 Years Helping Foster Youth

Run DMC’s Darryl ”DMC” McDaniels has been helping youth who have fallen on “Hard Times” for a decade.

The Felix Organization – the foster child charity McDaniels founded with Emmy-winning casting director Sheila Jaffe – will celebrate its tenth anniversary this year. And to mark the occasion, the hip-hop pioneer’s organization will throw a dance-a-thon benefit, Dance This Way, in conjunction with Foster Care Awareness Month in New York on May 15, PEOPLE can announce exclusively.

“Sheila and I had a dream a decade ago,” McDaniels, 51, said. “And now we are amazed and humbled how that dream has turned into a reality. I want these kids to understand that there is no one more special than them in this world.”

Over the years, a slew of McDaniels’ famous friends have supported his philanthropic venture, with Mark Wahlberg, Billy Joel, Sting and more participating in PSAs for the cause.

Adopted as a child himself, McDaniels’ passion for helping kids motivated him to launch the Felix Organization, which through programming like Camp Felix summer camp aims to propel foster youth in New York and L.A. to thrive in and out of the system.


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Amsterdam News:DYCD hosts Heroes Project

April 27 the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development held its first comic book creation initiative for middle school students all across New York City in a special collaboration with Darryl Makes Comics and The Comic Book Project.

Held at the Stanley Isaacs Neighborhood Center, the DYCD Heroes Project offered students a chance to showcase their creativity by displaying their comic book manuscripts and artwork that they have been working on in after-school programs funded by the DYCD.

With 25 teams in attendance, judges made their way around and decided upon three winning teams that will go on to work with professional comic book artists and display their finished products at a Kids Comic Con in June.

Judges included hip-hop legend and Darryl Makes Comics publisher and founder Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, his editor in chief Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and Michael Bitz, founder of The Comic Book Project.

Bitz believes that the event is an “opportunity for kids to develop their writing skills, communication skills and also be creative.”

Mostly known as a hip-hop pioneer in the music industry, McDaniels said he wrote and drew comics growing up as a kid. Although he says it was seen as a nerdy thing to do, he credits those moments for building his confidence and exploring his other creative abilities.

“The arts are the key to all of our children,” said McDaniels. “We want to use the arts to spark and encourage the child’s creativity so that it leads to them being not ashamed to be educated and to learn.”

The comic book initiative strives to enhance literacy skills and communication skills among New York City middle school students by allowing them to use their imagination to write and create stories of all kinds.

“The best learning is experiential learning,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “So when doing their comic books, they’re learning how to write, draw and how to present their storyline.”

Jalen Scott, 11, of P.S. 171 in Queens said the best part of the event was coming together and working as a team with his classmates.

Maisha and Sumaiya of the Young Women’s Leadership School in Queens displayed their manuscript of a young woman defeating the depression-themed villain in her life. They were excited to see the comic books of other students, but they stated, “We’re excited for everyone to see the hard work we put in, too.”

The winners of the DYCD Heroes Project included Kyrabel Collado and Ivette Rodriguez of Girls Incorporated of New York City–The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx; Kylie Macana, Gianna Then, Isamar Brito and Makayla Serrett of NYCID Staten Island School of Civic Leadership; and Annie Mendez of Grand Street Settlement–Bushwick Cornerstone.

“If you give these kids an opportunity they don’t want to just do well, they want to excel,” said McDaniels. “We need to celebrate their creativity and that will lead them down other paths.”


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Darryl ‘DMC’ McDaniels Promotes ‘Garden Of Laughs’ Fundraiser

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Darryl “DMC” McDaniels — one-third of the iconic rap group Run-DMC — stopped by the CBS2 studios to promote a fundraiser aimed at helping children.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is hosting the comedy event “Garden of Laughs” on March 28 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

“You bring people in, make them laugh, have a good time, and you raise a lot, a lot of money for a good cause,” McDaniels told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

The foundation helps foster children, kids with physical and emotional problems and inner-city children, McDaniels said.

“We’re planting a garden of dreams, but we’re building a forest of opportunity,” he said. “Those children, if you give them a chance, they don’t just do well, they excel.”

This year’s “Garden of Laughs” lineup includes comedians Lewis Black, J.B. Smoove, Dane Cook and Bill Burr

McDaniels said he found out as an adult that he was adopted and was a foster child, and then he began to work with children’s groups.

“I was like, ‘I wish there was an organization that wouldn’t just come, do something for a kid and not work with them again,” he said. “And the Garden of Dreams Foundation is an incredible organization because they don’t just work with the kids, they work with the family. So the reason why I’m here: I am one of those kids. I am what happens if you give a kid an opportunity to become the people they were put here to be.”

To watch the full interview, click on the video above. For more information on “Garden of Laughs,” click here.

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