Lyle and Harris Friess, co-Executive Directors of Catalog 8th Cohort member program Brooklyn Youth Sports Club (BKYSC), were awarded the Living the Dream Award from the Manhattan Country School on April 28. The Living the Dream Award is annually given to those who show exemplary leadership in social justice efforts that reflect the Civil Rights principals the Manhattan Country School was founded on. For more details on the amazing work BKYSC does, check out our page on them here. Congratulations to Lyle and Harris on the amazing work they’ve done to deserve this honor!
Dr. Robert Gore, the Executive Director of Catalog member program Kings Against Violence Initiative (KAVI) has been selected as a CNN Hero. As a Brooklyn native and emergency room doctor Dr. Gore recognized the need to create a hospital-based violence intervention program at Kings County Hospital and launched KAVI. This January we were delighted to welcome KAVI and Dr. Gore to The Catalog. We couldn’t be more delighted that their work is being honored by CNN! Watch the video below to find out more.
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!
On Tuesday, February 13th The Catalog had the opportunity to attend 16 Bars: Youth (Off)Ending Justice, a documentary theater piece, written, produced and performed by the teens of exalt, all of whom have been deeply impacted by their involvement with the criminal justice system in New York City. exalt is an alumni member program that re-engages court-involved young people in their love for learning and in helping them understand the urgency of taking action to reverse their journey along the school-to-prison pipeline. All of us at The Catalog are proud to be involved in exalt’s growth and trajectory.
We had our first workshop with our 8th cohort today! Part of the work of The Catalog is providing resources and skill building so our small, but mighty members can continue to grow and thrive. Shout out to our newest board member, Rhea Wong, for leading today’s workshop on organizing the perfect site visit!
Pictured above: Atlas member and Peer Educator, Victor V. (center), Atlas member, Luis Q (l), and Atlas community organizer, David A (r) leading a KYR (Know Your Rights) workshop for immigrant community members at Mixteca in Sunset Park Brooklyn.
Catalog cohort member Atlas DIY has been one of many NYC organizations working tirelessly to make sure that young people, regardless of their immigration status, know their rights, have access to accurate information, and free and honest legal services. Atlas has prioritized all calls and inquiries coming in about DACA and quickly organized two major community events to help respond: 1) a legal clinic for DACAmented youth on September 15th and 2) an Immigrant Resource Fair in collaboration with Mixteca and the Jamie Lucero Mexican Studies Institute.
At their immigrant resource fair, a team of Atlas youth, trained and supervised by their legal team, conducted immigration consultations for community members of all ages. Sadly, they often had to correct inaccurate and fraudulent information people had received from private attorneys. Atlas’s youth peer educators also led a Know-Your-Rights presentation and an update about the DACA cancellation.
On September 11th, 2017 The Catalog and its alumni member program Opening Act joined Cantor Fitzgerald and its affiliate BGC Partners for their annual Charity Day which commemorates the 648 employees Cantor Fitzgerald lost on 9/11. Cantor donates 100% of the day’s global revenues to dozens of charities like the Catalog for Giving and its own Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, turning a tragic day in America’s history into one of positivity and hope. This year’s celebrity supporters, Uzo Aduba and Christopher Jackson, of Opening Act took to the trading floor and made dozens of trades to help support this great cause.
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!