Brownsville pol to unveil neighborhood hub for tech ed, wellness, culture, career development

State Sen. Jesse Hamilton Praises More than 50 Local Groups for Coming Together to Support the ‘Campus’

October 20, 2016 By James Harney Brooklyn Daily Eagle
State Sen. Jesse Hamilton (D-Brownsville) visits a technology class at P.S. 298/Brownsville Collaborative Middle School being conducted as part of his Brownsville community empowerment program titled "the Campus." Photo courtesy the office of state Sen. Jesse Hamilton
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Surrounded by numerous state, city and community dignitaries, state Sen. Jesse Hamilton will preside Friday (Oct. 21) at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for a collection of facilities he hopes will change the social landscape of inner-city Brownsville.

Hamilton (D-Brownsville-Crown Heights-Flatbush) has arranged for a trio of neighborhood sites — P.S. 298/Brooklyn Collaborative Middle School, the Brownsville Library and the Howard Houses Community Center — to be designated the “Campus.”

“Modeled on a college campus, the Campus aims to empower youth and help meet an array of community needs,” the senator said. “The offerings of The Campus are aligned along five tracks: technology, coding and app development; career development and entrepreneurship; health and wellness; violence prevention; and cultural, media and performing arts.”

Hamilton added that a wide variety of institutions and organizations within the Brownsville community — such as the Brownsville Maker Lab, the Brownsville Community Justice Center, Good Shepherd Services, Brownsville In Violence Out, and Crossfire Steel Orchestra, among many others — have  signed on to participate in the Campus effort.

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He noted that combining technology and wellness education at the Howard Houses Community Center marks the first time that is being done on a public housing site in the U.S.

The local groups will lend their expertise and facilities to offer positive learning and after-school programs to local youth, valuable health and wellness information to neighborhood families, anti-violence advice and culture and entertainment options. Already, the senator said, technology classes are being offered to youth at P.S. 298/Brooklyn Collaborative Middle School.

“One survey of Brownsville community residents found ‘nothing to do after school,’ as one of the top ten youth problems in Brownsville,” Hamilton said, citing the conclusions of  a 2011 Center for Court Innovation study titled “Community Perceptions of Brownsville.”

“Other top ten problems identified in the survey included unemployment, few adult role models and a lack of other educational/training opportunities,” he added.

Hamilton said the Campus “has been the beneficiary of countless hours and invaluable expertise volunteered by community based organizations,” and he praised Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for committing $500,000 to support its Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering and Math (STEAM) efforts. The senator likewise thanked 

Assemblymember Latrice Walker for allocating $125,000 to upgrade the Howard Houses Community Center.

The ribbon-cutting event will feature tours of the Campus sites and classes being conducted, as well as a resource fair at the community center.

“With the Campus, we unite colleagues, community-based groups and educators in support of Brownsville,” the senator said. “I am excited to have more than 50 partners participating in Campus programs — teaching coding and app development, providing counseling services, sharing performing  and visual arts, and more. Together, we forge a path that city, state and national leaders can build upon. We are grateful to everyone sharing their expertise, their artistry, and their talents with us. Working in partnership we will deliver for Brownsville.”

Hamilton noted that the Campus opening is occurring just a month after the Sept. 21 shooting death of Rysheen Ervin, “just minutes before and steps away from a Campus stakeholders meeting at Howard Houses Community Center.

“Ervin’s death only strengthened the resolve of the stakeholders to the mission of the Campus,” he said. “In cooperation with the 73rd Precinct, and Police Service Area 2, the NYPD has undertaken further measures for Campus security.”


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