Archive for : brooklyn

Check Out The (Brand New) Repair the World Workshop!

It is an exciting moment in Repair the World’s world. Last week we launched our NYC Communities program in Brooklyn.

In addition to gearing up for the nine full-time fellows who will join the Repair the World team this fall (serving on the education and food justice fronts in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights community), we *also* officially unveiled the Repair the World Workshop – an 1800 square-foot storefront that will serve as a hub for volunteering, social justice, and building bridges with neighborhood residents.

The space has already housed some great pilot programming, from our Cocktails with a Conscience happy hour series, to social justice themed Shabbat dinners in partnership with One Table, and educational events in partnership with community organizations. Going forward, it will be the home base for the fellows, of course, but will also be open to our partners and neighbors as a place to work, meet, host events, and network. After all, one of our main goals is to identify partners in the community who utilize volunteers to meet pressing local needs. What better way to do that then to give folks a place to meet, strategize together, and begin to build relationships?

As a wise man once said (or rather, as Kevin Costner once heard while standing in a corn field) “If you build it, [they] will come.” Well, we’ve built it. So if you’re in Brooklyn, come on down, pop in, and say hi! You might just change the world.

And if you want to join in the fun (and the movement), we are still accepting applications for fall NYC community fellows. Click here to learn more and apply.

Kickstart Education Projects: In Brooklyn and Beyond

Since it’s very first post, the blog Humans of New York – which offers snapshots of the weird, wonderful, and sometimes compellingly mundane people who live in New York City – has always been brilliant. But a couple of weeks ago, things took a turn for the even more brilliant. A photograph of a student who attends an underserved public school in Brooklyn talking about his school principal who inspired him, set in motion one of the most successful Indiegogo campaigns in history. People have already donated nearly $700,000 to support kids at the student’s school in Brooklyn – and every time you refresh the page, the amount seems to have gone up by tens of thousands of dollars!

There is still time to make a donation to the campaign. Meanwhile, there lots of other amazing education-focused projects that need your help. Make a difference in a student’s life by supporting one of the following amazing projects below:

English Classes for Nicaraguan Children. Language and literacy are the most powerful tools for advancing learning on all fronts. Support this campaign’s efforts to support English instruction for young students in Nicaragua.

Build a Library Help educators at an underserved school in Denver, Colorado build a warm, welcoming library for students.

Bring the Zoo to the Students A teacher from Staten Island, New York works with wheelchair bound students who are not mobile enough to go on class trips. So she is working to bring a class trip – this time, a trip to the zoo – to them! Help make it happen.

Find more education-based projects to support at the DonorsChoose.org and Indiegogo (search “education”).

Acting on Empathy

Beyond a few days without power, I experienced Sandy’s inconveniences only minimally, leading me to feel a mixture of gratitude and guilt. My guilt came mostly from empathy, and with flooding all over the city, it wasn’t difficult to imagine myself wearing someone else’s soggy shoes. Empathy aside, my mixed emotions made my desire to act feel almost self-serving, like a mea culpa for a life lived in Zone C. My separation from the affected areas, and simultaneous compulsion to go to them, forced me to realize just how isolated I was from the bulk of the city I call home. I felt privileged, and guiltier.

Because of my lack of knowledge about the areas most devastated by the storm, I felt that it would be arrogant to organize a disaster relief effort without seeing what was happening on the ground. I signed up to volunteer in one of the few places I could get to without a car: Red Hook, Brooklyn. After arriving at a staging location and being sent off to unload a badly flooded warehouse, my inability to lift my own bodyweight made the task impossible. After picking up tiny scraps of trash while twenty-foot stacks of ruined food and paper remained untouched, I left and joined my colleague nearby at The Farm, an incredible community garden that had been totaled by the storm. I sat side by side with locals who still had no power, and with volunteers came in from all over the city, compelled to do something beyond obsessively watching the news.

We rinsed out ruined trays of seedlings and broke open hundreds of cloves of garlic to replant anew. Hearing the incredible stories of displacement and determination of the volunteers made me feel more connected to my fellow New Yorkers than I had been in a long time. Like many of the other staffers who post here, I was just glad to be of use. It gave me hope to see such a robust effort towards new beginnings, both for the community and for its fauna. But I was also sad that it had taken a hurricane to make me realize my obligation to our great metropolis.

What makes New York so great isn’t the sum of our parts. Nor is it the parts; we are still made up of strong families and buildings and blocks like everywhere else. What makes our city so great is a deep, unshakable desire to associate with a common set of values. These include resilience (proven by generations of immigrants), valor in ways big and small, and a determination to accept (and even celebrate!) our differences. I am grateful to my community for rebuilding, and for choosing to do it together – one clove at a time.