This Holiday season, give the gift of time. Volunteer with BCS and you can make a difference in the lives of your Brooklyn neighbors!
Please check out our upcoming holiday events on our volunteer page.
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and BCS highlighted clients who have reached their goal of employment and employers who have championed employment for those with disabilities. On Wednesday, October 30th, BCS's employment training and placement program held an event at its downtown offices that celebrated Disability Employment Awareness Month by offering job seekers a chance to listen to speakers who have been on both sides of the job seeking table. The event also included a mock-interview session where job seekers had the chance to learn skills in giving an effective job interview and resume improvement.
Speakers included Tondalaya London, director of Workforce Development at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, who will discuss ways to improve a job seekers a chance of being placed with one of their Chamber members. The Chamber through its Good Help, Inc., initiative has placed 127 candidates to members since it was reinstated in 2012. It has placed people with disabilities into positions including messenger services, maintenance, and housekeeping. "It's important for qualified job seekers to know about resources like Good Help, Inc. and BCS, but it's just as important for employers to know the net benefits of hiring motivated and qualified people with disabilities," said London. "Many of these job seekers have the education, training, experience and desire needed to do well and help companies succeed."
National Disability Employment Awareness Month is part of an effort by the New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) raise awareness about disability employment issues and celebrate the diverse individuals with disabilities who contribute to the New York Workforce. This year's theme is, 'Because we are EQUAL to the Task,' and is part of joint effort by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy Campaign for Disability Employment to promote employment success for people with disabilities.
On October 11th, BCS students from the Generation Jets Academy at PS 306 in East New York joined the New York Jets as they kicked off the Play 60 Challenge at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, NJ. The Play 60 Challenge is a four-week long program that encourages students to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This program challenges students to track their exercise and progress in fun and engaging ways.
Jets players Demario Davis, Vladimir Ducasse, and Darrin Walls engaged in fitness activities and spoke with students from Generation Jets Academy on the importance of physical fitness and eating healthy. Students who complete 60 minutes of activity each day will receive incentives provided by the Jets, including a chance to attend a Jets home game on December 8th against the Oakland Raiders.
"We want our students to have a well-rounded education in the classroom and outdoors whether it's running, jogging, throwing a ball or walking," said BCS executive director, Marla Simpson. "Students who lead healthy lifestyles are more engaged in class and focused on learning."
In 2002, the New York Jets adopted one of BCS's Gary Klinsky Children's Center (GKCC) afterschool programs at PS 306 in East New York, as the 'Generation Jets Academy.' An education initiative, the primary goal of Generation Jets Academy is to provide elementary school students with enjoyable learning experiences that enhance their literacy, math skills, creativity, community awareness and self-esteem. The program at PS 306, which is also funded by the NYC City Council and Department of Youth and Community Development, provides students with personalized attention from caring and creative teachers, and 50% more learning time each day.
On Sunday, September 22nd, Brooklyn Community Services held the BCS Million Step Challenge: Going the Distance for a Better Brooklyn. This year, over 300 walkers and supporters came together to go the distance for a better Brooklyn, raising $30,000 for BCS's programs and services.
The one-mile walk began with a brief Zumba lesson, followed by an awards presentation for our Top Fundraisers and Most Philanthropic Dog Contest winners. The event was a great success and we would like to thank everyone who came out to show their support and go the distance with us! To learn more and view additional photos, please click HERE.
On August 24th, Brooklyn Community Services joined with three Coney Island Residents Association (RAs), to announce the reopening of offices that had sustained extensive damages during Hurricane Sandy. On behalf of the Unity Towers, Carey Gardens and Gravesend Residents Associations, BCS successfully secured grants through the Fund for the City of New York and with the generosity of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, to help replace supplies and office equipment destroyed during Sandy. BCS joined the residents of Unity Towers at their annual Family Day program to celebrate the reopening of this important resource for community residents. BCS distributed emergency preparedness materials to all attendees. Read more.
On August 5, BCS hosted its 3rd Annual Golf Invitational at the Rockville Links Golf Course in Rockville Centre, Long Island. Along with great weather, came our dedicated Board Members, BCS Staff, and influential business and community leaders to benefit the work of Brooklyn Community Services.
Over the past three years, our Golf Invitational has been steadily growing, and this year reflects our most successful event to date, raising over $66,000 through our generous corporate sponsors and individual donors. We would like to give a special thanks to our Golf Event Co-Chairs, BCS Board Vice Chairs, and the co-hosts of the event, Ed Gentner of Cullen & Dykman, and Ellen Levine of Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation.
On June 24th, Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service, a joint venture by the Department of Education and Brooklyn Community Services, honored 36 graduates, 28 of whom are college-bound. Michaela angela Davis, an honoree at BCS's 2013 Human Spirit Awards, spoke about overcoming circumstances and tapping life's challenges as a source of strength. Graduates including Valedictorian Gloria Alonso and Salutatorian Hardley Callejas took to the stage to address their class and the audience. Many students held back tears as they expressed their gratitude and sense of accomplishment in finishing high school, a goal they thought they might never reach.
On June 27th, BCS staff, community supporters, and friends gathered to celebrate 11 students who completed a General Education Development (GED) program with the Adolescent Employment and Education Program in East New York. As low-income youth with a history of emotional disturbances, passing the GED represents a huge triumph. The determination of these youth was impressive and humbling for the audience, including BCS Board Member Marty Jeiven, who awarded laptops and printers to students receiving honors. Graduates and past AEEP students attended and professed how the program has changed their life's path. Many students referred to Program Director Tammy Samms as a mother figure. Although many graduates did not have family present, they gathered together to celebrate at a reception held at the Brooklyn Public Library.
BCS had a big day of service on the second day of summer this year. First, volunteers from CITI Bank came out to East New York to help weed and water the BCS Transitional Living Community (TLC) garden. The garden operated by TLC is an essential part of the program. It is a reclaimed, green space in East New York where the women who reside in our TLC shelter can find solace and peace. Volunteers helped make sure the garden would be beautiful for the rest of the summer. Two CITI volunteers also hosted financial literacy seminar to the ladies of TLC.
Across town, in Coney Island, BCS set up a small relief effort for the families affected by Hurricane Sandy. Volunteers from College Summit packaged and distributed essential housewares for families in need at the Iglesia Pentecostal Church. While some volunteers were busy with distributing housewares, others canvassed the area helping undocumented immigrants by providing relief information. Other volunteers went door to door taking surveys from residents about what is most needed for continued recovery. Meanwhile at BCS's main office, more volunteers from CITI Bank were making phone calls to the Coney Island community gathering vital information on needs and progress. This information will help BCS can prioritize future service projects and resources distribution.
On June 12th BCS received the "Employer of the Year" award from our friends at the The HOPE Program. The mission of the HOPE Program is to empower New Yorkers living in poverty to achieve economic self-sufficiency through employment and advancement. The award was presented at HOPE's annual Achievement Ceremony that recognizes the successes of the program participants and the contributions of community members. BCS has successfully hosted several HOPE interns throughout our departments, including Central Services, External Relations and Advancement, Hurricane Sandy Relief and Recovery, Mental Health and Wellness and BKLYN Unlimited. BCS was also happy to hire two hard-working HOPE interns when positions became available.
HOPE's Director of Employment and Graduate Services, Kelly Washburn, presented the award and noted that BCS and the HOPE Program are neighbors in Downtown Brooklyn, and also "neighbors" in a common mission: helping people grow, find work, and become independent.
In the past 4 months over 300 volunteers contributed to our programs. Here are just some of the ways volunteers gave back to BCS:
Brooklyn Community Services celebrated 147 years of uplifting the lives of the people in Brooklyn at the Human Spirit Awards on Tuesday June 4th. BCS honored 4 individuals and one group who have made lasting contributions to youth mentoring, creative expression and rebuilding communities after Hurricane Sandy.
Thanks also to the volunteers, staff and board members who helped make the awards a success. Lastly we would like to give a special thanks to Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who honored BCS with a congratulatory proclamation marking June 4th, 'Brooklyn Community Services Day,' in the Borough of Brooklyn.
Other notable attendees included NYC Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway, R&B recording artist Maiysha Kai, pop culture writer Patrick L. Riley and playwright and radio host Esther Armah. This year we had a record number of corporate sponsors, and our online auction, BID 4 BKLYN, raised over $35,000 to support our Coney Island storm relief.
To view all of the event photos, click HERE.
BCS kicked off its Online Auction for Sandy Relief with a party at Spike Hill in Williamsburg, Brooklyn on May 27th. Over 100 people came out to bid on their smartphones for auction items including Broadway tickets, lessons and classes, sports memorabilia, get-a-ways, handmade goods and more. Guests were able to walk home with something that night by participating in our raffle which included items from local businesses. Members of the BCS Junior Board and others began the evening by sharing personal stories of both inspiration and loss after the storm.
A huge thank you to Lindsey Luff, Mariko, Natural Stranger and DJ Nick Louis who entertained the crowd and Doc D Southern Desserts for providing delicious, free cupcakes. All proceeds from the auction and raffle, which raised over $35,000, will support Hurricane Sandy Victims in Coney Island. To view additional event photos, click HERE.
Spring into Action: Volunteer. Mobilize. Make a Difference in Brooklyn.
On the first day of Spring, BCS kicked off a series of volunteer projects that encouraged volunteers to Spring into Action and make a difference in Brooklyn. Volunteers answered our call to action--over 100 people showed up to mentor, garden, refurbish, lead physical fitness activities for kids, and distribute supplies to victims of Hurricane Sandy.
BCS is thankful to our community and business partners who helped recruit volunteers for this event. We appreciate the support of the following partners: Con Edison, BuildOn, NYC Service, TimeBanks NYC, Congregation Beth Elohim, Emmanuel Baptist Church, The Urban Assembly School for Law & Justice, Forefront Church, Build it Green! NYC, and College Summit. Read more.
Spring 2013 Art Expo at Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service
On May 16th, Brooklyn High School for Leadership and Community Service held its annual Art Expo in partnership with Pratt University.
Students displayed their artwork from the semester and discussed the significance of their pieces. Students explore the history of art forms such as masks, weaving, and mixed media collage while considering how these techniques can be used as a form of creative expression.
On Friday, April 26th, BCS's Annual Art Show, featuring the work of clients from TLC and BC PROS, was held at our main building in Downtown Brooklyn. A small ceremony kicked off the week-long event and both clients and staff gathered to celebrate the hard work and creativity exhibited by the clients in these programs. The artwork displayed around the room ranged from abstract paintings, to collages and handmade puppets. Former intern, Johanna Hamm returned to TLC in 2013 as an Art Therapist, and worked with our clients in the creation of these unique puppets. Many of our clients use art as a form of therapy and creative expression and the annual art show is a great opportunity for the clients to share their inner experiences with a larger community.
Click HERE to view more artwork on Facebook!
BCS's Transitional Living Community otherwise known as TLC, holds an annual graduation ceremony for those women who have advanced through our program and are moving into permanent housing. The ceremony is made possible by volunteers from the New Visions Christian Workshop, who generously give their time to plan and execute this event. The women of the TLC shelter have overcome great obstacles such as drug dependencies and mental illness and have learned how to become successful and self-sufficient through the aid of our dedicated staff.
On Saturday, March 16th the volunteers hosted a graduation for thirteen women who are ready to live independently and leave the shelter system. The event started with some Zumba to warm up the graduates and foster positive energy. Afterwards, BCS Board Member Mildred Clarke, a huge supporter of the program, gave a short commencement speech. Several clients shared their stories and thanked TLC staff for all of their support. Flowers and certificates were presented to the graduates and the event ended with a buffet and socializing for all of the women.
Notes from Brooklyn: An Afternoon of Beautiful Music, Delicious Food and Wine
On March 3rd, Brooklyn Community Services presented Notes from Brooklyn, a wonderful afternoon of food and entertainment at Scopello restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. This special event brought together long-time donors of BCS and new friends for delicious food, wine and to hear the beautiful singing of Luigi Boccia (tenor) and Stephanie Melzi (mezzo-soprano). It was a delightful afternoon and such a treat for everyone.
Donors, Volunteers and other friends of BCS came together during the season of love and giving, to provide toiletries for the women living at our Transitional Living Community (TLC) in East New York. Many of them come to the shelter with little more than the clothes on their back. Providing them with toiletries (shampoo, soap, lotions, etc) helps to restore their sense of dignity while they work through their struggles and towards their goal of living independently.
Volunteers sorted the toiletries, decorated gift bags and wrote cards to the ladies. Afterwards, all enjoyed a party with music, food and even bingo!
Photos from the event can be seen HERE.
FREE fitness classes sponsored by Shape Up NYC!
Shaping Up has never been this easy!
Wednesday at 3:30pm
February 6th, 2013
Brooklyn Community Services
285 Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn NY
Free. All are welcome, no registration is required.
Holiday Gift Wrapping at Barnes & Noble
BCS Volunteers wrapped gifts for the holidays at the Barnes & Noble on Court Street. Every year during the holiday season, B&N generously donates space and supplies for BCS volunteers to wrap books and other gifts for customers at Barnes & Noble. This is a fun, group activity that gets the word out about BCS, raises fund for our programs and spreads holiday cheer!
New York Jets Wrap Up Play 60 Challenge at Generation Jets Academy
The New York Jets Play 60 Challenge Wrap Up event, powered by NRG Energy, was held Tuesday, October 16 at Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) Generation Jets Academy at PS 306 in East New York, Brooklyn. The Play 60 Challenge encourages students to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day for four weeks. This program asked students to track their exercise and progress in fun and engaging ways. The Jets Play 60 Challenge is sponsored by NRG, an energy company at the forefront of changing how people think about and use energy.
Jets players Demario Davis and Vladimir Ducasse engaged in fitness activities with students from BCS's Generation Jets Academy. The Jets and NRG recognized 20 students who completed 60 minutes of activity each day and provided them with incentives such as tickets to the Jets home game on December 2 against the Arizona Cardinals. Additionally, each of the 20 students will receive a $200 shopping spree at Toys 'R Us with the Jets.
In 2002, the New York Jets adopted one of BCS's Gary Klinsky Children's Center (GKCC) afterschool programs at PS 306 in East New York, as the "Generation Jets Academy." An education initiative, the primary goal of Generation Jets Academy is to provide elementary school students with enjoyable learning experiences that enhance their literacy, math skills, creativity, community awareness and self-esteem. The program at PS 306, which is also funded by the NYC City Council and Department of Youth and Community Development, provides students with personalized attention from caring and creative teachers, and a 50% increase in learning time each day.
BCS 2nd Annual Golf Invitational
Thursday, October 11th, 2012
Over 70 people gathered in foursomes to play the green at Dyker Beach Golf Course in South Brooklyn to raise funds for BCS programs and services. The golfers enjoyed lunch, a full day of golf and an intimate dinner and silent auction. Thank you to all of our players and supporters!
Check out the rest of the photos on Facebook!
Clink for a Cause: 100 Young Professionals
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Sponsored by the Brooklyn Community Foundation, 100 Young Professionals is a movement to galvanize a new generation of supporters to BCS. The event brought together a group of young professionals to support the movement. People gathered at Sheep Station in Park Slope for an evening of networking and socializing, raising funds to help build a better Brooklyn. For more information on our 100 Young Professionals campaign, click here.
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The New York Jets kicked off the Play 60 Challenge powered by NRG Energy with 82 children from BCS Generation Jets Academy at PS 306 in East New York, Brooklyn. The Challenge is a 6-week program that encourages students to participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity ever day. This program allows students to track their exercise and progress in fun and engaging ways.
original artwork by Wanda Ramirez
BCS is committed to fostering wellness and healthy living for everyone who attends our 17 programs. Learn about all the Wellness Resources offered by BCS, including yoga for kids, sober living, BC PROS, and more.
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13 wonderful volunteers made Valentine's Day special for the ladies at our BCS Transitional Living Community, a shelter for women in East New York. Our volunteers made Valentine's cards, organized toiletries from our toiletry drive, served pizza and snacks, and gave out gifts. To see photos from this event, please visit us on Facebook.
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I Heart Brooklyn: A mixer for BCS hosted by the Junior Board
Thursday, February 9th, 2012
Thank you to our Junior Board of Directors and everyone who attended our Brooklyn-themed fundraiser at FIND Home Furnishings. It was a great evening of networking, mingling and learning about how BCS is building a better Brooklyn. A special thank you to Union Beer for the generous donation of beers and to all the local businesses who contributed to our raffle.
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On Saturday, February 4th, 2011 the New Vision Christian Workshop (NVCW) sponsored a "Moving on Up" event for former residents of the BCS Transitional Living Community. The NVCW was introduced to BCS by Dr. Mildred Clarke, a member of the BCS Board of Directors. Dr. Clarke had a vision to reach out to the women who have moved on from TLC and let them know that even though are no longer with the program that they are still a part of the BCS family.
The day was filled with words of inspiration, motivating performances, an art display, group movement (dance), a factual question and answer session regarding black history and a nutritious lunch.
The NVCW provided the ladies with a fun filled day. At the end of the program NVCW presented each lady with a $25.00 Target Gift Certificate to purchase a small housewarming gift for their new living space. At the end of the day, all left with a light heart, a mind filled with great information, and a gift.
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On Tuesday, December 20th, the families at the BCS Bed-Stuy Family Center were joined by National Grid and The Brooklyn NETS for a Festive Holiday Celebration!
The team's point guard, Deron Williams along with Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, and Jordan Williams, served hearty holiday meals and handed out wrapped gifts to the children.
The Nets joined sponsor National Grid and more than 200 families from the Bed Stuy Family Center. The party was complete with face painting, origami making and other festivities, and food provided by Miss Lily's.
The team's point guard, Deron Williams along with Jordan Farmar, Johan Petro, and Jordan Williams, served hearty holiday meals and handed out wrapped gifts to the children. The Nets joined sponsor National Grid and more than 200 families from the Bed- Stuy Family Center. The party was complete with face painting, origami making and other festivities, and food provided by Miss Lily's.