Sunday, November 30, 2008
Ronald Polite, 17 and a student at Boys and Girl's High School,
is a member of the Bed-Stuy Foot Soldiers.
Wanted: Fallen tree leaves, unswept front stoops, garbage bags that need to be set on the curb - and busy or elderly homeowners in Bedford-Stuyvesant and Crown Heights.
If you live in either neighborhood, a group of teens called the Foot Soldiers want to give you a heads up.
They're ready to come to your home three times a week to sweep up leaves, clean your front stoop and sidewalk, and set out the garbage the night before scheduled pickups.
Come winter, they'll remove snow. And in these tough economic times when more teens need employment, the Foot Soldiers are searching high and low for new customers.
The service started two years ago in Bed-Stuy. Now, the Foot Soldiers are marching to Crown Heights.
Linda Sutton-Jones, an art dealer who lives in a Crown Heights brownstone, was among the first to sign them up.
"I travel, but you still have to keep your place up because the city will fine you for everything under the sun," said Sutton-Jones.
The cleanup costs range from $3.99 to $6.99 per service day.
"But this is much more than an employment program for teens who need work," said Lori Walters, a Bed-Stuy homeowner who has used the Foot Soldiers for three years.
Foot Soldiers are sponsored by Project Re-Generation, a group founded in 2003 by Barnabas Shakur, who emigrated from Trinidad and grew up in Bed-Stuy. After a friend's trouble with the law landed him in a maximum-security prison, Shakur vowed to make a difference for other young people. He was only 21 himself at the time.
"A lot of youth programs weren't built for teens in my community," said Shakur, now 28. "Some have too much of a focus just on academics."
Shakur envisioned something with broader appeal. Project Re-Generation includes martial arts, community service, job training, financial advice, personal development and life-skills workshops.
About 100 teens are involved in programs annually. Those serving as Foot Soldiers receive stipends ranging from $85 to $200 every two weeks.
"We want to affect every aspect of the lives of our participants," Shakur said. "We want them to feel like they are part of a family."
The sense of family was important, Shakur said, because many kids turn to gangs to get a feeling of belonging.
"Gangs thrive in communities where economic structures and families are weak. The gangs provide fathers and mothers, and protection. They provide for members economically, but there is negativity."
Ronald Polite, 17, a senior at Boys and Girls High, has been a Foot Soldier for two years and has nothing but positive things to say.
"I don't like what I do," he said, "I love what I do. I'm helping keep my community clean; I've gained a family through PR-G's programs, and I'm putting money in my pocket. You can't beat that."
Ronald's mother, Brenda Donaldson, added, "Ronald is more mature and focused than ever, and I thank God for that. I know it has a lot to do with the men who run the program. I commend them."
For more information about Project Re-Generation, visit the Web site www.pr-g.org, or call (718) 684-1014.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE
at the FLATBUSH FREEMEET!
and Freecycle™ New York City
Saturday, November 22, 2008
12 noon - 3pm
P.S. 217 Playground
(1100 Newkirk Avenue at Coney Island Avenue)
Directions: Q train to Newkirk Ave or F to 18th Ave, or B68 bus to Coney Island Avenue and Newkirk. You will find the FreeMeet underneath the scaffolding next to the playground.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
click to view
OPENING RECEPTION: NOVEMBER 22nd, 7-9PM
KUILDOOSH (pronounced ‘Coo-el-doosh’) and Wet Shame
Knights (WSK) are both part and parcel of the same creative
package from South West England.
The indvidual artists behind this duel crew identity are
EKO, MUDWIG and PARIS.
Over the last five years the experimental merging of their
painting styles has resulted in the output of some widely
revered and truly unique works.
Much of the group’s outdoor painting is now done in secret
locations, deep in the depths of the English countryside.
“Smoking Jackets for Jerry” will bring to The Brooklynite Gallery
three of the most progressive English artists of their genre.
For more info. please check out the links below