BCS Celebrates Opening Event!

BCS Staff at our Opening Event
Bronx Community Solutions has changed a great deal in the past eight years.  When we began operations in 2005, the project was comprised of five full-time staffers who worked out of borrowed office space in the Department of Probation, across the street from the courthouse. I recall a period where we couldn't find enough chairs, and so one or two of us would take turns sitting on milk crates that we scrounged up from a nearby office. When we were finally able to attain office space in the courthouse, it was a small room on the second floor. As operations expanded and our client numbers increased, we grew as well: we hired more staff, and had to expand our space. Bronx Community Solutions spent most of those eight years with staff spread out across different offices -- with the clinic downstairs, intake operations on the second floor, and classroom space either across the street with Probation or eventually in an old courtroom in the courthouse. Employees communicated with each other via email and the phone, and by walking from office to office each day.

BCS staff painting our signature blue wall (Oct. 2012)
In September 2012, Bronx Community Solutions was grateful to acquire new office space on the second floor of the Bronx Criminal Courthouse, in a room that used to be one of the arraignment courtrooms. For the first time, the staff could conduct intake as well as clinic operations in the same space! Our classroom is in our old intake office right across the hall. Clients can move from waiting area to intake to clinic without having to leave our site. Staff has already remarked on how this has helped us with team unity as well as smoother operations with clients.

TatsCru installing our wall mural (Dec. 2012)
To celebrate this change in our layout, we held a small lunchtime gathering last Friday, March 1. We invited a number of guests to attend the event, which featured brief speeches by District Attorney Robert Johnson and Supervising Judge Eugene Oliver. Over fifty people were in attendance, including BCS staff, court personnel from both the District Attorney's Office and the Defense Bar, judges, and community partners. Judge Oliver and District Attorney Johnson expressed their gratitude to BCS for the work we do in helping make the Bronx a better place.

Enjoy some pictures from the event! It was a big success and we are very proud of how far we've come. A big thank you to the BCS staffers who worked hard at preparing for the event in the preceding weeks.
Matthew Usher, BCS (bow tie, center)
Omar Camacho and Ramon Semorile, BCS
Deputy Director Robin Berg, left, and Elizabeth Swan-Taylor, right

BCS AmeriCorps member Tiffany Barksdale with a Clerk of the Bronx Criminal Court
BCS Staff ready to greet the guests
Over fifty guests arrived to see our new space!
BCS staff with 161st St. Building Improvement District Representative
BCS staffers Monica Garcia and Manuel Larino
BCS Intern Ashley with her brother Noel from Bronx Health Link, who facilitates one of our classes

CCI Head Honcho Greg Berman with Maria Almonte-Weston, Project Director of BCS, and Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson who spoke at the event