Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Brownsville Girls Collaborative Retreat

On Saturday October 22, 2016  the Brownsville Girls Collaborative attended their retreat at YMCA Camp Greenkill in Huguenot NY.   The young ladies were able to bond with each other through team building activities including candle making, board games, girl talk and arts and crafts. At the end of the retreat the girls were inducted as caterpillars and official members of the Brownsville Girls Collaborative. Check out some of the  highlights below!

We've finally arrived!

Who's hungry? YMCA staff member Charlie gives the girls a brief overview of the cafeteria.

Indoor team building activity!

The young ladies learn how to make candles!

Hey what's so funny? BCJC staff members Emi and Jasmine enjoying themselves.

What's a retreat without smores?!

The girls take the pre-induction quiz. 

We also celebrated a birthday on the retreat. Happy birthday Taniya!

Emi facilitating an arts and crafts project with the girls.

Picture Perfect! Introducing the 2016-2017 Brownsville Girls Collaborative-STRONG BEAUTIFUL SISTERS.

The retreat was a success and the girls look forward to the next 7 months of the collaborative. Immediately following the retreat the young ladies brainstormed names for their cohort and came up with -Strong Beautiful Sisters (S.B.S) . We are excited to watch this journey of sisterhood unfold. For more information regarding Brownsville Girls Collaborative please contact Tiara McLaughlin at 347-325-1795 or

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Progress Playbook: Teaching Entrepreneurship to Brownsville's Youth

Introduced by Lloyd Cambridge, a Brownsville native, in July of 2015, Progress Playbook is an entrepreneurship workshop that is geared towards customizing business start-up techniques specifically for targeted audience.

Why Progress Playbook was created:
Mr. Cambridge, growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn, always wanted to start his own business but felt as though he did not have the support, resources, confidence, or education to able to achieve such a goal.  He noticed the reasons behind his feelings as a child after working at an organization called NYC business solutions, which is an organization that offers business education to those who wish to start their own businesses. There he noticed that there were gaps in the marketplace as far as who, and how people were being educated for business. He observed that business classes were very uniform and did not meet the needs of all aspiring entrepreneurs. He decided to be an agent of change and that’s how Progress Playbook came along. Progress playbook provides a customized learning experience based on demographic, industry, location, and many other determining factors. Every approach is unique to the circumstances, thereby making Progress Playbook a one of a kind business education curriculum

Progress playbook is dedicated to servicing the community; working closely with non-profit and government agencies like BCJC.

What did young people enrolled learn in the Progress Playbook workshops?
The Progress Playbook course taught at BCJC was call “Start an Empire”. The goal was that participants would practice being an entrepreneur in real life, and for this to be mixed with business education. Essentially, the course would be a hands-on business crash course. Participants were broken into small groups of two so that they were able to brainstorm and create their businesses together. The classroom curriculum was broken into 5 parts.

Part 1. CORE: The first two weeks of this course was centered around created a business mindset and developing the psychology of being a business owner. Questions we asked were: What kind of mindset does a business owner have? They are prepared, resilient, and determined among many other things.

Part 2. PRODUCT: In this two-week session of the course, participants were asked to develop products or serviced that matched consumer demand. Some interesting ideas that participants developed were mattress cleaning, apparel companies, and a beauty salon.

Part 3. MARKETING: In this section of the curriculum, participants were taught how to gain exposure and market their product. How do we gain exposure for our products? Social media networking, face to face networking, events, commercial advertisements.

Part 4. FUNDING: Participants were educated on how they can get access to funding, whether that be from crowd funders, micro lenders, loans, investors, or from personal funds. They were provided with interactive worksheets to map out how to finance their own businesses.

Part 5. OPERATIONS & PROTECTIONS: Participants learned how to manage their businesses on a day to day basis and how to protect their businesses with legal insurance.

In summary, participants were able to get involved in hands on experience, and professional entrepreneurship classes that will enable them to get their own businesses started. Some participants have even started taking the steps necessary to start planning the launch of their own businesses. We are confident that we will see them showcasing their product to the public very soon! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

BLP where YOUTH succeeds with optimism and unity!

The Brownsville Leadership Project hosted an action packed spirit week to kick off Fall 2016 programming. Spirit week consisted of an open house on Monday 9/26, game night on 9/27 and movie night on 9/28. Brownsville residents enjoyed refreshments and fun while learning about Brownsville Community Justice Center's mission and program opportunities. Eligible participants were able to sign up for our music, visual arts, and community benefits internships. The main goal of spirit week was to promote a sense of community across the entire Brownsville neighborhood. Check out some of the highlights below!
Spirit Week flyer created by the talented Nick Pilarski

Felicia Henry enrolling a participant in the Brownsville Youth Court. 

Archie and Marquis planning out visuals for Sounds of Brownsville during open house.

Liz and Jocelyn play Mancala during Game Night at Howard Houses.


Diamond Davis showing us the latest snapchat filter!

Ashley Johnson and youth participants play 2K

Movie Night at Howard

Thank  you to everyone who made spirit week a success. Special thanks to Irijah Stennett , Jason Higgins, and Erica Mateo for allowing us to utilize space for the different events. Big shout out to Felicia Henry and Tiara McLaughlin for coordinating BLP's spirit week.

Girls just want to have FUN!

The Brownsville Girls Collaborative is an intensive leadership development program for youth girls ages 15-18 & 19-24. The program focuses on holistic empowerment of the mind, body & soul. Through this program, youth girls have access to paid internships, mentorship, academic support and leadership development opportunities. In September, BCJC decided to host a week long mobile Girls on the Go series in an effort to engage more young ladies in programming. Girls on the Go  presented a mini snapshot of sisterhood circles in Van Dyke, Tilden, Marcus Garvey and Howard community centers.  Check out some of the highlights below!

Jasmine Bowie giving overview of Girls on the Go's mission .

Young ladies at Howard discussing what makes them magical. 
BCJC participant explaining why sisterhood is so important.

At the end of the week we hosted an orientation for young ladies who previously applied for BGC as well as those who were interested in applying. The orientation was packed with young ladies from various parts of the neighborhood who were both eager and nervous to begin this new journey. During orientation we discussed rites of passage, sisterhood and the mission/expectations of Brownsville Girls Collaborative. The young ladies also able met with the teaching artists from the dj and digital media internships.

Young ladies filling out applications for BGC 2016-2017 cohort.

Girls on the go was a successful week and we look forward to the retreat on October 22nd! BCJC would like to thank everyone who made Girls on the Go a success and a special thank you to Ms. Angela Johnson (Van Dyke), Althea Hickson (Tilden), Erica Mateo (Marcus Garvey Clubhouse), Irijah Stennett and Jason Higgins (Howard Houses). For more information on Brownsville Girls Collaborative please reach out to Tiara McLaughlin at 347-325-1795 or 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Brownsville Leadership Project Summer Institute

All Summer 16

Brownsville Leadership Project's Summer Institute engaged 40 participants in a 6 week intensive centered around team-building workshops and internships. The workshops covered youth activism, political education, violence, relationships, and community organizing. BCJC partnered up with Dance Theater Etc. to provide internships such as dance, videography, music and media.

BCJC Participants Adrian and Shamaeul edit their PSA's with help from Erin from Dance Theater Etc.

Participants tackle the first ice breaker on Day 1!

Participants work on their skits for the live performance!
"So you think you can dance"? Participants in the dance internship review different techniques for their concept video.

Participants admiring artwork at the Brooklyn Museum. Hello Felicia say cheese!

Sounds of Brownsville participants laying down tracks in the studio.

Graduation Day!

Summer Institute graduation was held on Thursday August 11,2016 at 3 Black Cats Café. Participants were able to perform and debut the projects they worked on all summer. Graduation also included special surprises and awards for those who went above and beyond throughout the entire summer. A few tears were shed as we bid adieu to our intern Donessia Sandy and Youth and Community Programs Coordinator Elisa 'Beth Bernard. BCJC wishes them great luck in all of their future endeavors.

BCJC is now accepting applications for fall programming. For more information please contact Tiara McLaughlin at or 347-325-1795.

"The Pop Out"

On Thursday September 1st, 2016 the Brownsville Community Justice Center's music group Sounds of Brownsville collaborated with some of NYC's top streetwear brands to host a back to school pop-up shop titled "The Pop-Out." The event took place at 3 Black Cats Café, a new local business that "doubles as a community center" and café. The event included school supply giveaways, raffle tickets, shopping, refreshments and networking.  The Pop-Out ended with the debut of the latest two Sounds of Brownsville music videos as well as a live performance from BCJC participants. Check out some highlights of the event below!

JahBass and Orie-Yo on set of their music video with Director Sage.
Space Rich prepping their table.
Participants designing the dessert table.

Michael Cherry's clothing was in attendance.

Paint Soul was also in attendance.


"Racks on racks on racks"

Delicious treats from 3 Black Cats
Trinity and Angelica sporting their matching tee's that they purchased at "The Pop-Out."

BCJC would like to thank everyone who made the event a success! A special thank you to

Grateful Good |  Space Rich | Paint Soul | Roc Steady | Michael Cherry | Bridge Boise | Hot Bread | Boss Lyfe | Peggy Ekong | Laura Christie | Boomtown Management | Sage English Visuals | Culture Peoples | JahBass | Orie Yo

For more information regarding Sounds of Brownsville please contact Tiara McLaughlin at

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


The Brownsville Community Justice Center's
Sounds of Brownsville music program was recently given the opportunity to collaborate with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice to create an anti violence EP that offered youth perspective and input on reducing violence in the community of Brownsville. The EP featured five songs which included both singers and rappers. Each song was written by SOB participants and featured original beats. During the project participants of SOB were given the opportunity to record their final tracks at a professional recording studio in Manhattan, NY.

SOB participant Jahmein Williford (Jah Bass) practices some engineering techniques during the recording session. 

Sounds of Brownsville members show off some untapped talents.

Participants presented the project at the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. MOCJ staff sat down and listened to the final recordings that would be featured on the EP and gave some positive feedback.

Participants meet and discuss a featured song.

The EP release party kicked off on July 14th, 2016 at the Belmont Plaza in Brownsville. Youth were surprised with gift bags filled with SOB face towels, headphones, key chains and the final EP.  SOB artists entered the Belmont Plaza on a red carpet greeted by security. Guests enjoyed performances and special greetings from staff at the Mayor's office of Criminal Justice. The participants were celebrated in style with an open juice bar, yummy appetizers, and white couches in the VIP section.

Belmont Plaza with a few embellishments.
Two Sounds of Brownsville Artist Saquan (middle) Jahmein (Right) entering the release party.

Launch party open juice bar as servers pose.

Sounds of Brownsville's EP was entitled "Real In the Ville". Songs featured include: The Best, Get It Together, Stronger, Need Somebody and Kings and Queens. In addition to a few songs being performed, the release party also featured some performances by new Sounds of Brownsville artist and participants from the Brownsville Leadership Project.

                                               SOB's Live Performance

The artists of Sounds of Brownsville were truly celebrated. The occasion really highlighted how hard they worked and the talent they all possess. We are extremely proud and look forward to many more exciting releases from the Sounds of Brownsville participants! Check out the Sounds of Brownsville soundcloud to hear the whole EP!!