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Friday, November 30, 2012

BCS Holiday Party!


TIME: 4:00 PM – TILL – 7:00 PM 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

BCS Staff Participates in W.A.V.E. event

Maria Almonte-Weston, BCS Project Director
On Saturday November 24, 2012 I was present when Maria Almonte-Weston, Project Director of Bronx Community Solutions, and Sharon Ife Charles, Citywide Anti-violence Coordinator for the Center for Court Innovation, spoke at an inaugural event sponsored by W.A.V.E. (Women Against Violence Everywhere). 

W.A.V.E. is the brainchild of Cynthia Thompkins, J.D., and is an initiative created on the premise that communities that experience trauma must find ways to heal themselves, and furthermore women can be agents that facilitate that healing. 

Cynthia Thompkins, J.D., founder of W.A.V.E.
One of the goals of W.A.V.E. is to empower women with voices so that they may speak out against violence. This event brought together women from different walks of life. Some were survivors, mothers who lost children to violence, witnesses of violence and others have worked with women with a history of violence.  

State Senator Gustoff Rivera delivering the welcoming speech
State Senator Gustoff Rivera delivered the welcoming speech where he expressed his support of W.A.V.E and the work it aims to accomplish. Maria and Sharon each spoke about the broad spectrum of violence, the effect that it has on families and the important role women can play in the healing process. Cynthia Shields, a mother who lost her son to gun violence, shared her story of how this act of violence affected her and her family, as well as the continual healing process she goes through every day.
Sharon Ife Charles, Citywide Anti-Violence Coordinator, CCI
 After the speakers, two amazing artists performed spoken word and sang beautiful songs about strength, courage and wisdom of women. Not only did the participants have an opportunity to enjoy music and poetry but a professional photographer and his cosmetology staff were there to give the participants a make-over and take professional pictures.
W.A.V.E. participants in the customized photo shoot
This event represented strength and empowerment to the women who plan to participate and carry the torch of healing back to their Bronx homes and Communities.
-- T.K. Singleton, Coordinator of Community Initiatives

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

BCS Staff Conduct Presentation at Council Roundtable

Yesterday evening, Coordinator of Community Operations T.K. Singleton and I conducted a presentation about Bronx Community Solutions at a community leader roundtable hosted by Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo of the 17th Judicial District. Long standing CCI staffer Ife Charles also presented on an emerging CCI project called Save Our Streets South Bronx, aimed at reducing the rates of shootings in Mott Haven using a public health model as a method of preventing gun violence, as the Crown Heights Mediation Center has been doing in Brooklyn for three years now. There were over 30 community leaders present from Community Boards 1, 2 and 3. Many of them have been a part of this roundtable group since its creation in 2005.

The community leaders expressed a good deal of interested in our programs. Questions were raised about what could be done to help young people involved in the criminal justice system, and we were pleased to be able to tell them about our Adolescent Diversion Project initiative, which targets 16- and 17-year-olds arrested for misdemeanor offenses and provides them with services and interventions. Council Member Arroyo spoke about the importance of community leaders and how individuals can enact change by providing the passion necessary to drive new ideas. It was an interesting event and we are grateful to have been invited to present!

You can read more about the Save Our Streets project in Crown Heights here: SOS Crown Heights

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Bronx Gets an Ice Skating Rink!

Here's some fun news -- the Bronx will be getting its own ice skating rink, thereby shedding its previously held distinction of being the only borough without one. The rink will open this Tuesday, November 27 in Van Cortlandt Park and will be open seven days a week through March 30.

Happy holidays from the BCS team!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Hook, After the Hurricane

The media has been dutifully covering the recovery efforts across New York City after Hurricane Sandy. One of the most affected neighborhoods was Red Hook, Brooklyn. Our sister project, the Red Hook Community Justice Center was hit particularly hard by the hurricane and has still not been able to re-open their building for operations. They are currently up and running out of a temporary space in the Brooklyn Criminal Courthouse.

Recovery efforts have been in full-swing, with Center for Court Innovation staff members as well as Justice Corps interns from all of our partner sites participating in helping the community as they begin to put the pieces back together. You can follow their efforts on the Red Hook Community Justice Center's blog, here.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Storm Interruption

Bronx Community Solutions was closed for a couple of days last week as the court system was shut down due to Hurricane Sandy. As an office we were relatively lucky to have power and systems mostly restored quite soon after the disruption, and we were able to resume servicing our clients last Wednesday. Please stay tuned as we continue to get back on track!