Having recently graduated our 2013 cohort, the Justice Community Program had the opportunity to reflect on some of the amazing experiences we shared with the Brownsville Anti-Violence Project, the Brownsville Youth Court, B.O.L.T.S., and all of the amazing young people taking advantage of the programs at the Brownsville Community Justice Center.
Participants from each of these programs had a myriad of experiences with the Brownsville Justice Community Program. Participants attended free screenings of powerful films such as Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station and Justin Chadwick’s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. We also enjoyed the excitement of Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure, the Big Apple Circus’ Luminocity, and a variety of enlightening workshops, field trips, and trainings.
One of our trips was a college tour at Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey. For some participants, this was the first time they stepped foot on a college campus. For others, visiting Rutgers was an opportunity to compare Rutgers to other campuses they have visited in Brooklyn.
Justice Community participants were able to sit in classrooms, see dormitories, and interact with currently enrolled students. Getting a first-hand experience of what it is like to be a college student in lecture style classrooms and seeing the living accommodations made some of the students feel more connected to the college experience. Alonzo, a Justice Community participant who is currently preparing for the SATs and filling out his FAFSA forms commented, “I pictured what it would be like, but it’s exciting to see what it’s actually like.”
Justice Community participants were also able to visit the student center and eat lunch in student cafes, see works of art in the student art gallery, and view the activities center where they saw the numerous student groups, fraternities, sororities, and activities that college students explore. Justice Community participants were able to see students studying in the student lounge while watching flat screen televisions and sipping coffee from the in house Starbucks. Justice Community participants enthusiastically commented, “I can do this!”