The Mom in Charge of Kids and Cakes

When Renée Edwards opens the bright blue IKEA shopping bag, a big smile breaks across her serene face. Inside, coiled like a coiffure’s curls, are scores of rainbow-colored jump ropes. Kids don’t play Double Dutch any more, and it sure is a shame. “When I see some little sisters sitting on a bench, I bring out the ropes,” she says. If they don’t jump at the chance, she shows them how to blow bubbles. If that doesn’t work, Renée, a cheerful commander, thinks of other ways to keep the “babies” occupied. The other day, …

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The Guy Who’s At Your Service

It was a driver’s license that determined Jaime Jinete’s future. Jaime, the owner of Nicole’s Cleaners, didn’t know much English when he came to America, but he was fluent when it came to the language of cars. Before he can elaborate, a man in a suit comes in to drop off six dress shirts. Jaime and his father, Jairo Blanco, greet him by name and tag the garments. This gives us time to look around. The storefront, a walk-in closet sandwiched between a barber shop and a computer emergency room, consists of a front counter just …

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The Guy Who Wants To Help You Succeed

Please, whatever you do, don’t say “project.” Andre T. Stith (that’s Smith with a T instead of an M, he says) doesn’t object to the word in and of itself. He grew up in and lives in Astoria Houses. He wants to make it as clear as a bright blue sky without clouds that it’s his home, not a housing project. Project? What does that word mean anyway? I’m not a project, he declares, I’m a person. “If you have to call it something, call it a development,” he says. “I had a wonderful …

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