Thursday, October 6, 2016

Part 2 of Bridging the Gap: Youth, Community and Police Series

This week the Office of Youth and Community held our 2nd event of our Series titled “Bridging the Gap: Youth, Community and Police” The objective of the event was to educate our youth and community members on how to rebuild and improve relationships with police, and allow them a safe space to interact with and get to know one another on a person level. With many of the unfortunate current events involving police happening this follow up event came at a great time to have these hard discussions.

The room was filled with over 15 officers who came ready and eager to interact with everyone from our local precincts (72, 76 and PSA1) . Staff and Students from Summit Academy, South Brooklyn Community High School, Youth Court members, staff and participants from the Miccio Community Center, Parents, NYPD Youth Explorers, Justice Center staff, Americorps members, Peacemakers and a few of our DA’s were all in attendance.

Like our last event using a circle process, everyone had a chance to ask questions, voice their own opinion and share stories. It was a very powerful event and gave everyone a chance to break down stereo-types. Many of the officers talked about their personal experiences on and off the job and related with attendees in many ways. To close the event we all gathered in one large circle and had a discussion which included ideas for future events, and overall feedback. 

One of the best things taken from this was that many of the participants commented that such a series is necessary and were happy to meet and get to know local officers. Additionally, many of the officers were and are enthusiastic about being a part of more events like this. We have begun initiating the steps to improve relationships and contributing to the much needed change and we will continue to do so.

Stay tuned for future events like this! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Civil Legal Services returning to the Justice Center

On Monday, September 19th we are bringing New York Legal Assistance Group's Mobile Legal Help Center back to the Justice Center!

The van is staffed by two civil attorneys who come prepared to offer advice and answer questions regarding a wide range of civil legal issues including immigration, government benefits, identity theft, divorce, custody, employment, housing and more!

In some cases, NYLAG may be able to take on representation; however that is not guaranteed.  What is guaranteed is a 45 minute confidential consultation where a civil attorney can offer advice and answer questions. Further appointments may be scheduled at NYLAG's offices if needed.

There are a limited amount of slots available, anyone can sign up online at


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another successful summer!

The JustWorks: Summer Internship Program at the Justice Center focuses on providing young people, ages 14-18, with a valuable employment experience and exposure to various career options during the summer for five weeks. Also throughout the duration of the program the Justice Center also provides community service, cultural opportunities and field trips that the interns attend on Fridays. 

Just last week the Office of Youth and Community Programs held on End of Program Ceremony for the JustWorks: Summer Internship Program. Recognizing the diligence and hard work that all of the interns have shown during these last few weeks at their sites and during the community service projects.

The Summer Internship sites this year included:
  • Community Board 7
  • Turning Point
  • Animal Loving Care
  • Law Office of Indra Pal
  • Rapid Realty
  • Brooklyn Defender Services
  • New York State Assemblyman's Office: Felix Ortiz

 We would like to congratulate the interns once again and thank all of the sites for helping us to make this yet another successful summer!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

We are pleased to announce that the Justice Center will once again be serving as a pop-up site for the IDNYC program from September 12th – September 23rdWe first served as a pop-up site in January of this year; well it was such a resounding success that they want to come back to Red Hook! 

IDNYC is a free government issued identification card for all New York City residents, which offers a number of benefits including free memberships to many city museums, zoos, and botanical gardens, and discounts at many businesses.  Anyone who lives in NYC and is at least 14 years old is eligible, and can apply here at the Justice Center between Sept. 12 and 23.    

The enrollment center will be located in the mural room on the 1st floor, and will be operating during our regular building hours (including Tuesday evenings). Appointments can be booked by calling 311 or going online at:

Last January, we managed to enroll 600 people, including staff, clients, community members, and even some elected officials!  But since it’s our second time around, we want to do even better!  For more information on the IDNYC program, check out their website at


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Summer College Trip 2016

Every summer the office of Youth and Community programs takes our youth program participants on an annual college trip. We like to explore different colleges  and university's including in places like New Jersey, Philadelphia and Pennsylvania.

Last week students from our Just Works Summer Internship Program, which aims to connect teens and young adults to professional development opportunities teamed up with our Youth Court and a few of our Red Hook Community Resilience Corps members. Together they headed out with staff to Connecticut to visit and tour the University of Connecticut and the College of New Rochelle.

     It was a great day, especially to get out of the city and expose our youth to different campuses, dorm life and educational opportunities out there!  

We look forward to next year! #GOREDHOOK 




Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Red Hook's 22nd Annual National Night Out Against Crime

This week on August 2nd we celebrated Red Hook's 22nd Annual National Night Out Against Crime!
As always, there was delicious food, burgers and hot dogs donated from many local businesses; there were speeches from many of our elected officials including Councilmember Menchaca, Congresswoman Velazquez and Borough President Adams; there were community resources from dozens of local organizations and civic groups; there was a community mural project and peace sign installation promoting non-violence and unity; there was great music from Red Hook DJ Barkim; there was face painting, pony rides, and carnival games for the kids; there was a huge turnout throughout the entire night; and just a beautiful evening of community members, organizations and law enforcement coming together.

But what makes this event get better every year is the genuine breadth and depth of the relationships and partnerships within this community, and the teamwork and collaboration and generous spirit that pulls an event like this together. You cannot walk through the park and not be struck with the sign of an event truly brings everyone together – the front and back, East and West, young and old, uniformed officers and civilians, elected leaders side by side with community members, mingling, talking about issues and enjoying a summer night. 

Other highlights were Borough President Adams presenting our own Judge Calabrese with a proclamation thanking him for his dedication to the Red Hook community and justice reform. Also, the theme “20 years of AmeriCorps Service in Red Hook: Making the Community Safer and Stronger” was on display with many AmeriCorps alum wearing commemorative shirts to celebrate the occasion.           

Nothing would be possible without our great partners at the 76 precinct, PSA 1, Brooklyn DA’s office, the courts, and Parks. And special shout outs to the planning team:
Alison, Gleacy, Susannah, Berta, Coleta, Leslie, Basma, Jessica Bruno, Amanda, and Carmen. And ALL of the AmeriCorps members and youth court members for the set-up, clean up and day-of needs.  Also to our sister project at 120, Brooklyn Justice Initiatives, who turned out and completed manned the grilling and food area like champions.

Congrats to all. It was a very proud day for Red Hook. Until next year!


Friday, July 22, 2016

A Day of Service in Coffey Park!

This morning the JustWorks: Summer Internship Program Participants and staff teamed up with the Parks Department to finish a project in Coffey Park. Located right across the street from the Justice Center, it is a very popular park in the neighborhood and is always full of local residents and children.

One of the fences around the playground area needed a paint job due to chipped paint, therefore our project was give the gate two fresh coats of paint to help beautify the area and overall park. In just two hours they were able to finish the job, some interns described the experience as peaceful and relaxing.

It is one of the many community service projects the Summer Internship Program will be completing throughout the next few weeks.

We would like to thank the Parks Department for allowing us to tag along on this project, it is always a good feeling to give back! #GOREDHOOK