Darryl Madison “From NYPD to Teaching Kids with Special Needs”

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SKII: I’m Interviewing Darryl Madison at the “First Photo Fundraiser” event.   What is this about?
Darryl: We are raising money for my children’s programs that takes place at my school in Far Rockaway. What we do is have the participants play Playstation sports video games. The main idea of the program is to get kids who are interested in playing games to want participate in the program. Once they are in the program they are required to complete their assignments. In order to play the video games, they must complete their assignments.
SKII: What schools did you attend and what cities have you resided in while growing up?

Darryl: I was born in New York City and raised in the Bronx. I attended Adlai E. Stevenson High School. I attended several CUNY schools including York College, Baruch College, BMCC, City Tech, Lehman College and John Jay College. I graduated from John Jay College in the 1990, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. I attended Herbert H. Lehman College and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I attended Lehman College again for my Master’s in Special Education. I graduated from Lehman College in 2009. I am six courses away from obtaining my second Master’s degree in Public Administration.

SKII: I know you’d joined NYPD. What made you join?
Darryl: I joined the NYPD because I wanted to work with the community and was honored to do so since 1987, giving back to the community and helping with kids.
SKII: So you’ve always worked with kids within the Police Department? What have you done besides that?
Darryl: I was assigned to the Bronx Task Force. We handled riots, demonstrations, and special incidents across the city. When we weren’t responding to special events, I worked in the Truancy Unity. I started my own program with the police department called Cops For The Community. (CFTC) I joined the department when I was twenty years old. This was my first career choice. I loved working for the department. I created my first juvenile program in 1993 called Operation TaSK. (Toys and Special Kids)
SKII: I understand that you work with Special Education students, as well?
Darryl: Yes, I am now employed by the Department of Education and I work in the Special Education department. I also work with general education children in an inclusion setting. I work side by side with a general education teacher. We let all of our students know that no matter what they can depend on us.
SKII: You mentioned a colleague, how long have you been working together?
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Darryl: My co-teacher, Angelo Salanitri, and I have just completed our first year working together.
SKII: So, you’re a photographer also. How long has that been in affect?
Darryl: I’m a professional photographer and I have been shooting professionally for nine and a half years.
SKII: Are you married; have any children?
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Darryl: No kids, but married to the beautiful Elizabeth Madison. We’ve been married for nineteen years come September 7th! She’s a Registered Dietician. At times it’s difficult to be with a dietitian because you always want something to eat that you really shouldn’t have, so I’m glad to have a Dietician in my life. And, the eight hundred and seventeen students are my children.
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SKII: What motivated you to start this career/line of work?
Darryl: I remember that when I was younger, I was working my first job at the age of fourteen. I was working in a department store and did something stupid. My manager at the time pulled me to the side and gave me a second chance. I had the option to pay it forward. I decided to keep paying it forward until now. I also made a promise to my high school social studies teacher to give back by becoming a teacher. This was something that I loved even before I even knew what it truly was. It’s like that fresh breath of air you take when you need it.
SKII: Was John Bruce your mentor?
Darryl: Actually, he was a friend of my mother’s. He was the person that gave me my first job, and who I was referring to earlier. He gave me a chance to work at the store and I was grateful for that. Now, I’m teaching kids what’s right and wrong, and helping them pursue their dreams. I’m loving every minute of it.
SKII: Do you get to travel outside of the States to do what you do?
Darryl: I get to travel, but most of my work is here in the city. When I practice my photography, it enables me to go to places such as Arizona, California and Nevada.
SKII: What’s your aspirations in life?
Darryl: I want to continue to help as many children as I can so that when they grow up they too will continue to do the same, paying it forward. Being a mentor to other kids is something that is very important to me.
SKII: What are the ages of the kids you’re mentoring?
Darryl: I have two kids that I’m currently working with ages 13 and 15. I am teaching them photography.
SKII: Who’s your inspiration?
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Darryl: My wife is my inspiration! Also, public figures that do[or have done] positive things such as Martin Luther King, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama. I have had the pleasure of photographing her during her “Let’s Move Campaign.” to keep active in what you love doing! Anyone who does positive things in other peoples lives to help them better themselves are my inspirations.
SKII: Who else have you photographed?
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Darryl: I recently had the opportunity to photograph Whoopi Goldberg, Taraji P. Henson, and Fabolous. I usually photograph politicians in Brooklyn and Queens. Andrew Wright was the photographer who got me involved in fashion photography, so I’ve had the opportunity to photograph Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, New York Fashion Week and in another few weeks, Miami Swim Week.
SKII: Do you hold other events like this?
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Darryl: This is the first time that I’ve done something like this in a while. I had worked for my non-for-profit (The Courtsmen) back then. It feels great to give back. These kids really need it. They need a role model. If they don’t have role models, they can end up engaging in activities that will get them arrested or killed.
SKII: How did you hear about this place, because from the outside it doesn’t appear as if something like this would be held in here?
Darryl: God is good, because if I were looking for this place alone it would’ve never happened. I got help from a colleague and it’s a blessing. We can actually provide our kids with opportunities, and give them an opportunity to grow.
SKII: What would you tell a younger you?
Darryl: I would say; “Marry Elizabeth sooner”, and see if we could do a little bit more! I do a lot as it is but I’d like to see if we could do a little bit more.
SKII: I know you said you’ve been working with kids all your life, so what’s the environment you target, or is it all over?

Darryl: Most of the kids that I work with, and have worked with in the past are at-risk-youth. These are children who are at risk of failing school, doing poorly, or living in the right environment, yet are going down the wrong path. Kids that are lost and don’t have that “backbone” in their life to keep them on a positive track, or to keep them moving forward in the right direction. Kids that go to jail, or are on their way there, are all throughout the city. Sadly, [in-my-opinion] the kids in Far Rockaway need more of a push. They need more positive influences to help them keep doing better. They also need different opportunities in their lives to make themselves feel better.

SKII: Do you have any brother or sisters?
Darryl: Yes, I do. I have one brother that passed away, a sister, and two other brothers. I’m the youngest.
SKII: Are any of them involved with what you’re doing?
Darryl: They’re actually doing their own thing. One of my brother’s is very involved with the church, and my sister is involved in the police department in her hometown of Jackson, Mississippi, so they’re doing their own individual things in life. I’m proud of all of them!

SKII:  This concludes my interview with Darryl Madison.  He is definitely on the move to bigger and better things.  Looking forward to what’s next Darryl.

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