The 9th Grade End-of-Year experience was based in Brooklyn and focused on service learning and civic engagement in various communities in our borough. Students learned more context about the history of activism in Brooklyn and engaged with community partners doing meaningful work on a range of issues:
- Black Veterans for Social Justice provides assistance to all veterans, including those honorably discharged, including racism and racist policies, little or poor medical and rehabilitative services, unemployment, no re-entry preparation into society. BFS students created bag lunches and served them to veterans.
- Brooklyn Autism Center is a school that provides for students with special needs. BFS students went on a tour of their facility to learn about how we can participate in on-going service with their program.
- Brooklyn Community Services is a social service agency that supports children and youth to reach their full potential, strengthens families, and fosters self-sufficiency in adults. BFS students worked with children in an early learning center.
- Brooklyn Community Pride Center provides a safe, common space offering physical and mental health services, social support, recreational and cultural programming, as well as being a hub of information for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families in Brooklyn.
- The Horizons National Student Enrichment Program is an organization which links independent schools with nearby public schools in their communities. The mission is to strengthen public school students’ learning retention and reduce the “summer achievement gap” often faced by children in economically troubled areas. BFS students partnered with PS 307 to clean and organize their school materials.
- St Bernard Project’s mission is to ensure that disaster-impacted citizens and communities recover in a prompt, efficient and predictable manner. BFS students partnered with their affiliate Friends of the Rockaways to rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
In addition to these opportunities to engage with community partners and listen to them speak on a panel about the work that they do, BFS students participated in a range of experiences that offered meaningful context and deepened their understanding of the history, culture, and needs in Brooklyn. These opportunities included:
- Watching the documentary film, My Brooklyn, in which filmmaker Kelly Anderson examines gentrification in Brooklyn, N.Y., and how skyrocketing prices and property values have forced many residents out of their old neighborhoods.
- Learning about and completing a Community Needs Assessment for Community Board 2 that was undertaken by graduate students at the City College of New York
- Visiting the Brooklyn Historical Society exhibit Brooklyn Abolitionists, which explores the unsung heroes of Brooklyn’s anti-slavery movement — ordinary residents, black and white — who shaped their neighborhoods, city and nation with a revolutionary vision of freedom and equality. The exhibit is part of the groundbreaking In Pursuit of Freedom public history project that features new research on Brooklyn’s abolition movement in partnership with Weeksville Heritage Center and Irondale Ensemble Project.
- Viewing The Dinner Table: Representations of Black Women in the Media, a documentary by BFS alum Asha Boston (’08) that flips the script on how black women are portrayed in the media and creating PSA media clips.
- Visiting “The House That Herman Built,” an art project about solitary confinement at Brooklyn Public Library, and seeing three exhibitions at the Brooklyn Museum including Zanele Muholi’s Isibonelo/Evidence on the LGBTQ experience in South Africa, Chitra Ganesh’s Eyes of Time on female empowerment, and Basquiat’s The Unknown Notebooks about street life, popular culture, race, class, and world history.
- Participating in a Hip Hop workshop with Farbeon that explores the history of Hip-Hop and how it can be a tool for activism and social change.
For photos from the 9th grade Service Learning & Civic Engagement experience, click here.