Believing in second chances and being there for those returning to the community.
Model changed behaviors by putting into practice what you learned.
Up and coming leaders are in your neighborhood as part of the solution awaiting your return.
Visit HERE to see how NB builds community at the third level.
The return of NEIGHBORHOOD People
Modeling Changed Behaviors at Clinkscales Park
Once a month NB bring out the hood and rebuild community. This year (2019) NB engaged in the "IT's MY PARK" event once a month... building leaders, community and solutions. This provided the proper platform for those working to become change agents and credible messengers. NB is pleased with the results and how so many members are modeling changed behaviors for the larger community.
SWK250 Urban Leadership
SWK 250 is a Special Studies in Social Work. Special topics related to social work, social welfare and health in the urban environment.: analysis of the interaction of cultural , historical, political, economic and legal factors with various social systems.
2016 Neighborhood Benches partnered with Lehman College to design the SWK 250 Urban Leadership course. Through this course students had to complete 15 hours of field learning (experiential learning). For students, the take away as they studied public housing and urban leadership was a better understanding for needs and solutions.
CONNECTING with HOTCHKISS
Building Community to Never Be Caged
The Hotchkiss School is an independent boarding and day school located in Lakeville, Connecticut. Neighborhood Benches connected with Hotchkiss after Strength & Conditioning Coach Brodie Quinn expressed interest in what NB is doing in NYC.
As part of the plan to partner around diversity and inclusion, NB and the school quickly moved towards further planning alongside Never Be Caged to offer training, tutoring, camps and professional development. NB is pleased to share some highlights of this partnership which Miss Abbie's Kids developed the first Camp-style Summer Sleep Away Club (read about it here) .
MEET THE TEAM
They all grew up in public housing
William M. Evans
Founder & President
As founder of Neighborhood Benches, William dedicate his time to increasing the presence of leadership to focus on youth violence and incarceration. William believed that by returning to his community with a specific plan to recruit individuals and helping them understand the need for change, the role they could play in inspiring others and implementing solutions, great changes would come.
During a 2016 interview, William said "...they were the leaders who made a difference, and I wanted to recruit them to create long-lasting changes that would improve the quality of life and decrease rates of violence and incarceration."
William spent the next few years pitching this idea of neighborhood & leadership development to everyone interested, while changing the narrative of isolated and neglected communities.
During the year of pitching this idea, he wrote proposals and received grants to continue this work. Grants from the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, Citizens Committee for NYC, Partnerships for Parks, and partnerships helped to increase their presence in these neighborhoods. Today, William is a 2019 Echoing Green Fellow, Public Allies Board member, United Community School/PS18x Advisory Board member, Transformative Mentor, and a member of the Restorative Justice Community.
James W. Young, III
Director of Community Engagement
After spending 13 years in prison as a gang member James was returned to the same community without the proper support, and realized he needed to do more to change the lives of young men and women from his community. He joined Neighborhood Benches as a student with the understanding of having more to offer his community.
After completing his first 180 days of leadership training, William created space for James to shadow him in the field and attend conferences relevant to their work. For the next 2 years James would practice mentoring young gang members from the NYC Public Housing (NYCHA). Today, James continue to practice under the leadership of William, as well as provide outreach in the projects (New York City Housing Authority) and advocates for a fairer criminal justice system.
September, 2019 James launched A.H.H.I.M, Inc. All Hearts Heal Imprisoned Minds (A.H.H.I.M) is building on the purpose to change mindsets. James reported his launch as a way to apply what he learned through Neighborhood Benches and various other platforms to New Jersey City and Pelham Parkway youth. Through sports, public speaking and engaging gang members, James plan to continue his journey as a student of Neighborhood Benches and CEO of A.H.H.I.M, Inc.
Rena A. Brown
Director of Education
With over 18 years of experience in the criminal justice and substance abuse field, Rena increased her presence as a social worker at juvenile detention centers, ACS and the courts. During 2017 Rena made a decision to resign from her full-time job and took on a volunteer role at Neighborhood Benches. Under the leadership of William Evans she increased her leadership skills and started building community at Neighborhood Benches.
Rena is currently Director of Education, building into our education programs (experiential learning and internship) and connecting local colleges and students to the organization. Rena is a social worker and holds a SIFI (Seminar In Field Instruction) certificate. Rena is also a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and an adjunct instructor for Yeshiva University.
Rena Brown partnered with Sheila Reynolds, CASAC to launch WE OWE. WE OWE (Women Empowering Others With Encouragement) was launched to reach young females experiencing hardships, trauma and isolation.
Combining both a SIFI-Social Worker, and CASAC to address traumas of young females in the Black and Brown communities increases the level of understanding for those willing to learn more. WE OWE continue to bridge the gap between minds, hearts, and souls.
Daniel J. Osorio
Director of Projects
Daniel decision to join Neighborhood Benches came from him witnessing the work of Neighborhood Benches out of his kitchen window in the Andrew Jackson Houses during the summer of 2016. He shared his experiences as a youth and wanted to do more work with connecting young people to supportive services.
After 11 years of work with homeless services, Daniel joined Neighborhood Benches as a student. He increased his presence as a leader within the Andrew Jackson Houses by donating sporting equipment to the youth and providing guidance and support to parents. Today, Daniel is the Director of Projects because of his project management skills, communication and understanding for building community. Daniel is a member of the free and accepted masons, as well as a member of the Harlem Chambers of Commerce.
September 2019, Daniel decided to take a larger role as a member of Neighborhood Benches. Daniel continues to grow the organization through grant writing and networking. Daniel acknowledge the need for increasing the presence of the organization while taking the next steps to build out his mind and ideal organization that will eliminate homelessness and redefine wealth for communities of color.