Brooklyn Boatworks Participant Kayla Bynum Shares Her Experience With The Program

Featured below is a speech written by Brooklyn Boatworks participant Kayla Bynum for their 2018 Boat Launch. Kayla is a student at JHS292 located in East New York, Brooklyn and along with her classmates, helped built a boat during the school semester and successfully sailed it this past Tuesday, June 12. Continue reading to gain insight on her experience with the program.

Kayla Bynum

JHS292 – East New York, Brooklyn

Hello everybody.  My name is Kayla Bynum and I’m from JHS 292. Brooklyn Boatworks is where kids can work with wood and build boats. It’s also a great activity to relieve stress. We go on trips and learn about boats. On June 6th we sailed aboard the Pioneer, which was created in 1896 and was made to carry sand. Every day in Boatworks we learn and do things other kids wish they could do or don’t even know about – like lofting, sawing and gluing (we use a special glue that holds wood together). Boatworks is an amazing activity and the best experience for kids. Boatworks was a great experience for me, especially when I was Captain of the Day.  In Boatworks we met new people, who later became friends – and we can put all our problems to the side and have the best time. Everybody should experience the happiness that Boatworks brings. Give happiness to them and share the message of Boatworks.


Brooklyn Boatworks 2018 Boat Launch

Most of the middle school students who join Brooklyn Boatworks have never been on a boat. But they enroll in the program where they work in a team for a year, implementing science and math skills, teamwork and perseverance to build a boat from scratch using hand tools! On June 12th, they held an awards ceremony and a combined celebration for the launch party, demonstrating that the boats would truly sail! The kids all got a turn in their crafts, aided by the instructors, and many were so excited that they signed up for the summer program where they will learn to sail. Mike, the Dean of IS 1125, told us the program has proven so popular, he has convinced the school to add a second class next year enabling twice as many students to participate. On hand for the celebration were Catalog board members Ed Adler, Steve Kohn, Jeff Schwartz, Cindy Silverman and Flo Wiener, pictured below with BWB Co-founder Jeremy Wurmfeld.


Alumni Member Program ED To Be Honored at Gloria Awards

Joanne Smith, the founder and Executive Director of Catalog alumni member program Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) will be honored on May 3rd at Ms. Foundation for Women’s Gloria Awards.  Joanne will be recognized for her work with GGE and her efforts to address gender-based violence. We are excited and proud that Joanne’s hard work is being recognized in this way and we look forward to following her work and the work of GGE for years to come.  Congratulations Joanne!


Atlas Facility Update

In June 2015, thanks in very much large part to unrestricted support and a multi-year commitment from The Catalog for Giving, Atlas: DIY was able to move into a 3,000 square-foot space just nine blocks north of Atlas’ former facility, ensuring that we stayed within the Sunset Park community. Our new location boasts:

  • a legal suite to accommodate our growing legal team and to ensure confidentiality for immigration, education, and family court cases;
  • administrative offices with cubicles for administrative staff members;
  • a private counseling room to be utilized by our on-staff social worker;
  • computers for members to use;
  • a closet of donated casual and professional clothing;
  • a library;
  • three small kitchens stocked with snacks and small meals;
  • a balcony furnished with hammocks and a garden tended by our members; and,
  • “CASA,” our signature activity room where young people have the space to connect, relax and simply be.

During construction, Atlas members poured their time, energy, and hearts into turning our new facility into a space that is truly theirs. Take, for example, the balcony garden. The west-facing balcony was full of Atlas members breaking down wood pallets and using the wood to build planting boxes and benches, creating a nature-filled sanctuary for themselves and future members. The south-facing balcony now features a mural of a sunset and the city skyline painting by Cesar, one of our members. When asked why he was inspired to create a mural for Atlas, he said, “Here in New York, in the United States, I have no family. Atlas is my family. Atlas isn’t my second home, it is my home.”

Perhaps one of the greatest features of our new space is a clear view of the Manhattan skyline. A member currently working towards her green card said this when she first stepped out onto the balcony and saw the skyscrapers stretching out across the horizon:

…standing on the balcony at Atlas and looking out at the skyline, it reminds me of everything that is made possible with the resources and assistance that Atlas provides. I feel more empowered, more visible, and have a certain contentment in knowing that even though I’ve been through so much, there are so many opportunities.

Today, our headquarters and community center is a thriving hub and refuge for immigrant youth of all backgrounds from across New York City with fast growing members and attendance. We may have to expand our space again very soon!


Meet Jocelyn from ScriptEd

As she prepares to graduate high school, Jocelyn looks forward to the next stage of her life with confidence and excitement. She will be attending Dickinson College as a POSSE Scholar, and she plans to study computer science. “I now know what it’s like to work at a company as a software developer, and I know that’s what I want.”

Jocelyn was exposed to careers in technology through Catalog member program ScriptEd. She took a coding course offered by ScriptEd at her school, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of East Harlem. After her first year in the course, Jocelyn signed up for the ScriptEd internship program and spent the summer as an intern at ThoughtWorks, a technology consulting firm. “I got to network with people and get a glimpse of what my future could be like.”

Jocelyn’s second year with ScriptEd exposed her to even more opportunities in the field of software development. She attended advanced classes after-school at a company called Teachers Pay Teachers, where she expanded her coding skills and her network of professional contacts. She also signed up for another summer internship, and is excited to build more transferable skills. “I am really proud of the app I developed [in my internship], because it was the first time I built an app in that language. My managers told me that if I can do what ScriptEd taught me, I can build an app in any new language and use the same concepts and skills.”


Meet Derrick from South Bronx United

At the age of 15, without any family members, Derrick Cordova left La Ceiba, Honduras on a treacherous 2,000-mile trek to the United States. He followed in the path of thousands of other Central American youth, who were fleeing gangs, violence, and a lack of jobs and opportunities, to seek a better life for themselves and their families.  At South Bronx United (SBU), his love for soccer enabled him to find family again.  In addition to leading his SBU soccer team in scoring, he attended English classes and SAT Prep and improved his grades after his initial struggles in school.  He worked with SBU’s Legal Services Coordinator to gain Special Immigrant Juvenile Status, which put him on the path towards legal permanent residency.

Derrick was recently admitted to the College of Mount Saint Vincent on a full scholarship.  He will be playing on college soccer and has the goal of one day becoming an immigration attorney.  In January, ESPN Deportes and ESPN SportsCenter aired a segment titled “El Camino,” covering Derrick’s journey.


Students from Alumni Organization Generation Dazzle at Civics Day!

On Tuesday, May 9th we had the opportunity to serve as judges at another great Civics Day as the students from alumni member organization Generation Citizen, presented their civics projects from their semester long class! The students, taught by volunteer college students who serve as “democracy coaches,” select an issue of importance to their communities, study and coalesce around the root causes of the issue, identify the change-makers they need to engage, and work on tactics to make change happen.

In the picture above middle school students explain their research and outreach to curb racially motivated violence to Catalog friend, Stuart Post, Executive Director of The Meringoff Family Foundation. Other projects we judged included a proposal to reduce bus and subway fares for low income residents, and a program to bridge the serious trust divide between police and high school students. The student presenters were enthusiastic to understand their privilege and obligation to be engaged citizens and to make change happen in their communities.

Since joining The Catalog’s 6th cohort, GC has nearly tripled its number of participants and expanded to three additional cities. We continue to strategize with Founder and Executive Director, Scott Warren and his team and are proud of our early support of this amazing program.


New Directors elected to The Catalog’s Board

The Catalog has welcomed several new Directors in 2015: Michael Nash, Senior Managing Director, Blackstone ; Adam Schwartz , Managing Director, Angelo Gordon; and Richard Wagman, Managing Partner, Madison Capital.  And last month the board added the Executive Directors of two programs that recently “graduated” from The Catalog after being part of two of our three-year cycles: Amanda Kraus of Row NYC and Suzy Myers Jackson from Opening Act. Said Board President, Ken Horn, “We are fortunate to have such a wide range of talent and broad commitment to NYC youth on the Catalog’s board.”