Adams has $500,000 surprise for Hamilton
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams had a big surprise in store for state Sen. Jesse Hamilton after the legislator held a press conference to announce the start of a new program aimed at helping kids from low-income families to get a jump on digital technology.
Adams came forward with an announcement of his own at the March 17 press conference. He announced that he was committing $500,000 in funding to the program called the Campus.
Set to start in Brownsville this fall, the Campus will provide space for tech startups and entrepreneurs, host coding and app development workshops and provide e-workforce skills- building, according to Hamilton.
Adams said he believed it was important to provide the additional funding. “Technology defines the economy of the 21st century, an economy where our students are competing with people from around the world and must develop the skills to succeed,” he said.
The Campus will also include a focus on wellness as a means to confront public health challenges, particularly stress and anxiety.
Plans are already in the works for app development workshops at the Howard Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development in Brownsville.
The multi-faceted Campus program will also be providing technology and coding workshops at P.S. 298/Brownsville Collaborative Middle School; workforce readiness and wellness programming at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brownsville Branch; counseling at the Mount Olive Baptist Church and the YWCA; a mobile food pantry provided by the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger and fitness classes at Howard Playground.
The programs will be open to everyone in Brownsville, but will be largely focused on young people ages 12-18.
Hamilton (D-Brownsville-Crown Heights) was joined by legislative colleagues and leaders of more than 30 community groups when he announced the Campus program at the press conference, which took place at the Howard Houses Community Center.
“I know firsthand some of the challenges these young people are facing because I grew up in public housing in New York and will always be a champion for the residents of NYCHA. Their experience is my experience,” he said.
The Campus will give kids vital skills while valuing their contributions, Hamilton said. “As a community, we must take advantage of the remarkable talent our young people possess by investing in them and their future,” he said.
The health component is important because technology and health are linked, said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. “Increasing access to technology and health resources can contribute to making a neighborhood healthier. The Campus will help connect adolescents and young adults to much-needed health information and resources that they might not otherwise have access to,” she said.
Naomi Johnson, Tenant Association president at Howard Houses, called the program an important investment in young people. “Howard Houses and the Brownsville community can only thrive with the entire community working together to save our children,” she said.
Randy Peers, CEO of Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, said the program will provide a much-needed service.
“With over 4,500 young adults who are not in school or working, Brownsville has one the largest disengaged young adult populations within New York City. The various partners in the Campus initiative will provide a comprehensive set of opportunities for these youth,” he said.
Hamilton cited a study conducted by the Center for Court Innovation that found that Brownsville residents believed that “nothing to do after school” was one of the top 10 youth problems in the community. In the survey, 72 percent of respondents aged 25 and older said lack of after-school programs was a big problem.
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