How well do you know your neighborhood?
By the end of this month, high school students in Brownsville, Brooklyn will know the streets and businesses within their neighborhoods very well. As participants in the Brownsville Asset Mapping Project, they set out this spring to help make the public more aware of what of what the Brownsville business community has to offer.
A partnership between CAMBA’s iCARE program, MapCorps and Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center, the project recruited youth to gather information about the tax-paying businesses in Brownsville. Every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., teams of six students headed out to interact with businesses and collect information such as phone numbers, emails and other important information often missing from a basic internet search.
CAMBA’s iCARE program was responsible for recruiting the students from community-based organizations, interviewing and training them. Throughout the project, iCARE has managed the operation by providing space and programming for the students. While CAMBA’s iCARE program is traditionally focused on supporting women through every stage of life, boys were brought on to help with the mapping project as well; all participating students were taught about sexual health over the course of the three month program.
While the mapping will not be complete for a couple more weeks, the project was successful in instilling a sense of community responsibility among the students. They mapped grocery stores, daycare centers, health care clinics and many other types of businesses. Markedly, students found more corner stores than grocery stores and more liquor stores than daycare centers. In the end, the Brownsville Asset Mapping Project showed the students the value of their community’s existing resources while cultivating in the students, a responsibility to be educate themselves and their neighbors in order to build upon the community’s assets.
The project would not have been possible without the engaging, colorful design of the nonprofit MapsCorps, which has conducted similar projects in other city neighborhoods in NYC and around the country. Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center also supported the project through funding for the mappers.
The results will be made available and accessible to the public this summer. Thanks to these students and others like them, you may also know your neighborhood well soon.
CAMBA connects New Yorkers to opportunities through its dedicated staff, who are trained to provide solutions to the biggest challenges of life in New York. Visit CAMBA’s website and join us in our Vision to provide services to young people throughout the city.