Ned O'Gorman with Storefront Students, 1998
"Childhood is a gift the gods give children," wrote Ned O'Gorman in his book, The Storefront: A Community of Children on 129th Street and Madison Avenue (1970). "It is as precious as the rubies they give the earth and the sun they give the spheres. It is each child's absolutely; as rare as a unicorn or a phoenix. One childhood to every child. No two childhoods are alike. Childhood is the form that upholds each child's life forever."
Ned O'Gorman, the founder of The Children's Storefront, passed away on Friday, March 7th. He was 84.
He founded the school in 1966 as a safe haven for the children of the neighborhood. As he wrote, "I built our storefront into a place where the senses were freed from the fate of the streets. ...I put up a sign in the window: anyone who wants to study math, history, art, music--anything--come in and ask me about it."
The life changing work of today's Storefront is built on the foundation that Mr. O'Gorman laid, and his passion, love and heroic dreams for children are echoed every day here on our campus on 129th Street.
"Each child is treated as a holy object in our storefront," Mr. O'Gorman wrote, "As a precious, unique, divine creature who is worth the world."
Ned O'Gorman believed fiercely in the strength and ability of Harlem's children, and was determined to help them succeed. The Storefront evolved from his vision. He changed the lives of countless students and of many adults whose lives he touched. He will be greatly missed.
To read Ned O'Gorman's obituary in the New York Times, click here.