BROWNSVILLE — A new resource for technology, entrepreneurship and health launched Friday with the programming kickoff for The Campus in Brownsville.
The tech and wellness hub from state Sen. Jesse Hamilton, created in partnership with dozens of community-based groups and organizations, seeks to empower neighborhood youth and serve local residents through educational initiatives.
“Our children will be engaged in technology to make sure they can compete on a global level, that’s what this is all about,” Hamilton said at The Campus’ launch at P.S. 298 at 85 Watkins St.
Services will be offered to the community and students at P.S. 298 and the Brownsville Collaborative Middle School under five tracks: Technology, Coding and App Development; Career Development & Entrepreneurship; Health and Wellness; Violence Prevention; and Cultural, Media and Performing Arts.
Funding from elected officials helped bring equipment such as STEAM carts, 3-D printers and robotics kits to elementary and middle school kids, along with improvements to upgrade the Howard Houses Community Center with new flooring, cubicles and Wi-Fi.
Students will learn coding at the two participating schools with the help of organizations like Digital Girl and Blue1647, organizers said.
“The Campus represents innovation, it represents change, it represents impact, but most of all, it represents hope: hope for our future, hope for our community, hope that we see change happening daily and ongoing,” said School District 23 Superintendent Dr. Miatheresa Pate.
“For students who understand and can manipulate technology, the world is endless.”
Elected officials dubbed The Campus the country’s first technology and wellness center at a public housing site, with participating members saying that the initiative will change the community.
In-school and after-school programming will occur daily, Hamilton said, with workshops at sites including Mt. Ollie Baptist Church, Brownsville Academy High School and the Brooklyn Public Library's Brownsville branch, among other locations.
Programs will also be open to community residents, organizers said.
“We’re just trying to make sure kids have a safe environment to be at during the evening,” Hamilton said, adding that programming hours would extend to 10 p.m. at the Howard Houses Community Center.
The Campus’ launch comes one month after the senator saw 28-year-old Rysheen Ervin fatally shot outside the center during a stakeholders’ meeting on the initiative.
“We’re recommitted to The Campus. We were all traumatized, but what we’re doing here is creating a template,” he said.
“Millions of dollars are being spent in Brownsville — on incarceration, on homeless shelters, on social workers, correction officers, but we’re spending the money on the back end. We should be spending money on the front end for resources.”
The senator said he hopes take The Campus template of a tech and wellness hub in public housing throughout the borough and city.