On Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending the 2nd Annual Stars of New York Dance at the Kumble Theatre.
It was such a fun-filled evening watching our community’s leaders tango, sashay and boogie across the stage with their professional dance partners. Having competed and won last year, It was indeed a reminder that the best way to have fun is to not take ourselves too seriously.
If you were there, you certainly know what I’m talking about. If you weren’t there, make sure you check out the coverage and that you are there next year.
With all the laughter and fun I had, perhaps one of my favorite points in the program was hearing the tribute to Susan Taylor as well as learning about the National CARES Mentoring Movement that she formed to address the educational crisis in our communities, particularly among black boys and men. Her spirit of giving and humility were truly an inspirational embodiment of a call to action.
She shared that Brooklyn Cares was the local network partner for the National CARES Mentoring Movement. They are asking for mentors to provide just one hour a week.
When we see problems in our community, we have a choice to watch, comment and criticize or do something. It seems to me that our only choice is to do something. Mrs. Taylor puts it best, when she declares ”not on my watch” will she stand on the sidelines and do nothing when there is state of emergency in our communities:
- Of all Black fourth-graders, 58% are functionally illiterate;
- In some cities, 80% of our boys drop out before finishing high school;
- Every day 1,000 Black children are arrested.
- 1 in every 8 African American males ages 25-29 is incarcerated.
- The number one cause of death for our boys is homicide.
In response to my column two weeks ago, we received a couple of inquiries about volunteering. In fact, on Monday, we will welcome Leon, a recent college graduate, as a volunteer two days a week. Showing tremendous industry, he came in twice already for an orientation about our services, and then for an appointment with our job developer and our financial counselor. While looking for a job with our job developer, as a volunteer, he will be providing important support in the areas of communications and customer service, while also building his resume and learning a new skills.
The best ways to make a contribution is to give of your time and/or give of your dollars-- both are needed and will make a difference. And in this season of giving, consider what and how much you will give.
Consider being a mentor with Brooklyn Cares. In addition, our local schools could use tutors are needed to help students looking to make the grade for graduation, promotion or college preparation. We are working at Boys and Girls High, for one, to recruit tutors. At Restoration, we could use administrative and customer service volunteers to contact clients to remind them about services and appointments as well as help clients with intake and applications.
These are a few ways you might volunteer. Pick your cause and rest assured there is organization, likely listed in Patch’s directory, that could use your help.
Contact us to let us know how you want to lend your helping hand.