We had the good fortune of connecting with Saliha Nelson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Saliha, how do you think about risk?
The way I think about risk is to take a chance and bet on yourself, your ability, your skills, and your determination to try something new to achieve a goal that you have. Throughout my career, I consider every time I created or tried something new I took a risk. I didn’t know at the time if the effort would succeed or fail. I just had to power through the unknown and any fears that I had. When you attempt something new you hope it will turn out well, but you never know. However, you can’t let that stop you.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
URGENT, Inc. is an award-winning non-profit creative youth arts and community development organization dedicated to the mission of empowering young minds to transform their communities. Over the last 25 years, URGENT has demonstrated expertise in providing quality academic support, positive civic engagement, arts enrichment, media, and creative technologies job-based training, paid internships/apprenticeships, and 21st-century skill-building. Priority communities include Overtown, Little Haiti, Morningside, and Liberty City within the City of Miami.
A couple of things that set URGENT’s work apart is how we craft opportunities for young people to elevate their voices, skills, and talents in the greater community through our signature events including the Youth Economic Development Conference (YEDC) and the Miami 4 Social Change Youth Film Festival. Most recently, I am excited to announce that URGENT’s Media Arts and Creative Technologies Apprenticeship Program was approved by the Florida Department of Education, the first in the State. Apprentices can start at 16 years old making this is one of the youngest Registered Apprenticeship Programs in the state of Florida AND it incorporates youth development – an aspect of career development that is often overlooked. We will be taking applications in the spring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If I were to plan a sampling of Miami, I would concentrate on introducing my friend to our different cultural communities and arts scene. First stop, Historic Overtown. This would include a stop at our newest hotspot, Red Rooster for happy hour to sample the fare, great music, and a cool vibe. For arts, culture, and entertainment a visit to the Historic Lyric Theatre, Ward Rooming House Gallery, and Dorsey Park to see murals celebrating the Negro Baseball League is a must. Next would be a stop in Little Haiti which warrants lunch at Chef Creole and a visit to the Little Haiti Cultural Center. In Little Havana, a favorite taste of Cuban cuisine is a local haunt, La Carreta. Then of course you must hop over to Miami Beach and walk down Collins Ave where people-watching is often entertaining. And no visit would be complete without an art walk through Wynwood’s arts district.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
First, I must shout out my mom whose love, encouragement, and modeling helped shape the woman I have become. My husband Henry Crespo and sister Shedia Nelson also deserve a shout out. They have been instrumental in supporting my professional growth and accomplishments related to my work at URGENT, Inc. From a community standpoint, there are so many staff, colleagues, community partners, funders, and mentors that have worked with me over the last 20 years for who I am truly grateful. Working in the community is not a solo venture.
Henry Volmar, Joey Ashley, Deon Mendez, Joe Wesley