Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brownsville Sister's Keepers rock out at the Sista-2-Sista Youth Summit!!!

Last weekend the Brownsville Leadership Project’s Sister’s Keepers group attended the Sista-to-Sista Youth Summit at St. Francis College. Sister’s Keepers is  a leadership development group for young women focused on holistic empowerment for the mind, body, and soul. Group members participated in workshops, activities, and discussions focused on the theme “Be Great”.  The following is one group member’s reflections on the day. Please also enjoy a short video the group created documenting the day. 

Reflections on the Sista-to-Sista Youth Summit
On March 21, 2015, I was inspired to inspire in a place called “The Sista-To-Sista Youth Summit” in Brooklyn, New York. “I walked in there shy as ever and walked out feeling like a boss.” Is what I said after that amazing experience. In this program, I learned what a real sister is to you. I not only learned what a true sister is, but I learned what a true friend is. During the week after the conference, I found my confidence and a voice of mine that was hidden for years. When we were in the dance group, I felt shy and doubtful. However, I learned that dancing is not only moving to music- It’s about feeling confident and knowing that you are doing something right. I was inspired by the dance teacher and when I gave that speech, I inspired other girls to do the same as I learned. I felt so special. I felt like a queen who led a chain of inspiration. I was inspired by the dance teacher, then I inspired a group of beautiful young women and girls to inspire other phenomenal women. When I walked out of that building, I had a smile on my face and since then, I felt like I was on top of the world. I felt… Not Felt… I AM a leader.
-         Keyani Kearse-King

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Brownsville Youth Court is Recruiting!!!!!



Are you 14-18?

Are you currently enrolled in school or a GED Program?

Do you want to learn about the law?

Do you want to help other teens who have gotten into trouble?

 The Brownsville Youth Court Wants You!

Apply HERE or Download the Application HERE

Application Deadline is April 30, 2015. 

For more information click Here

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brownsville Justice Community Program and Marcus Garvey Apartments

These days, the Brownsville Community Justice Center has been hanging out in Marcus Garvey Apartment (MGA) a lot. With eighteen public housing developments (NYCHA) in Brownsville’s 1.163 square mile radius, Marcus Garvey Apartments counts itself as one of the largest privately owned developments in the neighborhood.  It’s a vibrant and insular community, adjusting to being outside Brownsville’s public housing hub (including the collateral social implications that reality has for residents and non-resident alike), and also withstanding the intense construction happening inside of the development.

Through these 2015 winter months, MGA has undergone some major changes.  Aside from the construction, the Brownsville Community Justice Center has begun harvesting and planting seeds of commitment to the development. Attending tenant association meetings, meeting with Justice Community Program alumni who reside in MGA, combing through the larger Brownsville community assessing sentiments and attitudes towards the development, and launching our “MGA Shakedown” community engagement and recruitment strategy (a strategy created by our very own Ionna Jimenez).

We kicked off our “Shakedown” by introducing ourselves to members of the community and shaking 10 hands per day for ten days.  Despite -5 degree weather, and early sundowns, interested residents braved the winter winds with us and filled out interest forms and applications.  We ended up engaging over 80 people in 10 days, and dozens of young people signed up for our Youth Court, Justice Community, and Brownsville Leadership programs.

As a Justice Center, we are extremely excited about the interest the young people in MGA have shown us. Resident youth and adults alike have expressed the want and need for a laser focus on the development, and we are honored that they have chosen us to assist them with this.  Lifting the approach, feeling, ideas, and learned lessons from our primary Justice Community program (which has been rocking and rolling this year ;), and adding relevant, MGA specific considerations, our team at the Brownsville Community Justice Center, and our new family at Marcus Garvey Apartments, are poised to be of great service to Brownsville’s MGA residents this spring and beyond!

Below is a photo of the staff who organized and came together for our first community engagement day at Marcus Garvey Apartments.

Brownsville Justice Community Kicks Off Another Year...Bigger and Better!

Justice Community has kicked off programming for the spring 2015 cohort. We have had an overwhelming response for enrollment this year, receiving over 90 applications from young adults, ages 16-24, from all over the Brownsville and neighboring Brooklyn communities. This year, we are excited to offer three interest-based program tracks that our participants can choose from. Each program provides participants an opportunity to expand their knowledge in the area of their interest and also receive internships that will allow them to gain real life work experience.

Justice Community welcomed Reel Works to their programming this year. The Reel Works/Brownsville Media Lab trains our participants to become media producers. The Reel Works/Brownsville Media Lab offers classes on all aspects of video and audio production.  From initiating a story idea, whether documentary, a scripted web series or a 30-second PSA (public service announcement). Reel Works seeks to develop the next generation of Brownsville storytellers and give them the skills they need to be successful.   

 Reel Works Group: From left: Amos Reden, Raquan Graham, Jonathan Smith, and Reel Works Mentor Bilal Ndongo

We are excited to bring back the Young Adult Entrepreneurship Program for the second year. This year we have partnered with Shayne Spencer, founder of Think Work Media, to provide business education classes to our participants. They will learn how to take their business ideas from thought to action. Shayne will teach them how to create a business plan and explain what it takes to have a successful business. The group will also go on field trips to various businesses to get more advice on building a strong company with sustainability. The alumni and executive board was given the opportunity to present their business pitches to a group of business owners and entrepreneurs at Columbia University's Lion Lab. The group received feedback to help them improve their presentations and strengthen their business plans in order to make their dream a reality. 

YAEP Executive Board at Columbia University - From left: Markal Walker, Roy Richardson, Tahmeel Marshall, and Quaming Boatwright

The Community Benefits track continues to be the Justice Community’s staple track. Participants complete various community projects that help to beautify and improve the conditions in the Brownsville community. Whether its snow removal or working on our Belmont Revitalization Project, the community benefit track can be seen all over Brownsville, making extraordinary physical changes. With the overwhelming response we received for the Young Adult Entrepreneurship Program, we decided to add a business aspect to the community benefits track this year. This year, the group will start their own landscaping business, offering their services to all local residents. Participants will also go thru trainings and receive certifications that will open up more job opportunities.

Community Benefits Group - From left: Kadale Tribble, Kymel Smith, Tisean Mack, Shanyce Johnson, and William Capers

This is looking to be an amazing year for Justice Community. We are excited to see all of the amazing work our participants will accomplish. Stay tuned!!!