SoBRO is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the South Bronx by generating effective economic, housing, educational and career development programs for youth and adults
SoBRO’s Compass SONYC youth were invited to attend Mayor Bill de Blasio’s town hall meeting to participate as an exemplary of New York City’s Department of Youth and Community (DYCD) programs being awarded for three consecutive years in a roll. DYCD invests in a network of community-based organizations and programs to alleviate the effects of poverty and to provide opportunities for New Yorkers.Youth participants along with SVP, Johanna DeJesus, and Director, Jason Garcia were both delighted to meet Mr. Bill de Blasio, and Danielle Motindabecka was honored to recite the Pledge of Allegiance before the commencement of the meeting. Also in attendance were Council Member Bill Perkins, Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat, State Senator Brian A. Benjamin and Assembly Member Inez Dickens.
Pledge of Allegiance reciter, Danielle Motinbecka started the after-school Compass SONYC program in the sixth grade at the Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change. The program quickly became her safe haven as she has been reared isolated and sheltered away from the norms of the American society. Her parents, who are from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (country in Central Africa) and French-speakers only, have always been protective of her and were relieved when Danielle found a place where she could flourish, be herself and own her voice. Since joining the program, Danielle has rid away her shyness and passivity, and actively participates in all facets of the after-school program; dance, theater or Broadway Juniors, music productions, homework help, tutoring, and STEM themed activities. She’s slowly become the pioneer of her young life and even joined Thurgood Marshall’s Student Council.
On Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – Acting National Director, Chris Garcia, Efrain Gonzalez, Jr. Associate Director, Office of Business Development, and Dijon Rolle from the MBDA Press Office visited the South Bronx MBDA Business Center at SoBRO. They were taken on a tour of the facility and given a high-level overview of the different programs and services offered at SoBRO. In addition, he was presented with stats on program activities, operations, and performance results for over the last four years. Present at the meeting to discuss the operations of the Business Center SoBRO MBDA pertinent staff members. The meeting began with an introduction by Mr. Garcia speaking on President Trump’s agenda in relations to minority and small businesses around the nation. He stated that the President is in full support of the MBE and small business initiatives and that talks to eliminate MBDA were only a “preliminary budget discussion.” He further stated that the budget covering 2018 and 2019 is already in place. Upon conclusion of the meeting, the Acting National Director stated that he was impressed with the operations and performance results of the Center and would like to nominatye it as a “national model.”
Initiated in 2015, “The Bronx Salad” was a direct response to the Robert Wood Johnson County Health Rankings Report that placed the Bronx in the last place, 62 out of 62; the unhealthiest county in New York. This also sparked Borough President Diaz’s health initiative #NOT62; a Campaign to improve health outcomes for Bronx residents by 2020. The Bronx Salad Project is a collaboration between SOBRO, the United Business Cooperative (UBC) and the Bronx Health REACH. After sampling several salads, the Bronx Salad was selected by a community vote, its ingredients illustrating a cohesion of ethnic flavors that represent the diversity of the borough. The harvesting of the salad ingredients is conducted on a local youth-led hydroponic garden, with the remaining ingredients locally sourced. The salad made its first debut at the 6th Annual Savor the Bronx Restaurant Week in November 2016, and its second debut during New York City’s Restaurant week in January 2017. The Bronx Salad is being offered at Mott Haven Bar and Grill, Delmys, Don Pancho’s Steak House, Viktoria Italian House, Camaguey, and all Delicioso and Mexicosina restaurant locations in the Bronx.
View video clip about the Bronx Salad: #NOT62 and Eat More Bronx Salad
It is our pleasure to feature Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) in our newsletter this season, an initiative based out of the New York City Department of Small Business Services dedicated to helping women start and grow their businesses by offering tailored developed programs and tools that are essential to connecting women with the resources, education and community needed to thrive. Classes are offered in English, with some offered in Spanish, French, and Mandarin.
For more information about their programs, please click here: Program Overview 2016
CHECK OUT WE NYC, CALENDAR OF EVENTS
On July 13th, SoBRO joined Frank Pimentel’s second Fine Fare Supermarket Grand Opening in the Melrose section of the Bronx at the 149th Street and Brook Avenue location. The new 14,000 square foot Fine Fare creates a new place to grab lunch in the once “food desert” area as they have an extensive 5,000 square foot fresh produce department, a hot and cold salad/fruit bar, in-house bakery, and a butcher shop in addition to standard grocery amenities. Additional notable items were the pre-made packaged salads and sandwiches, Asian food section, naan Indian bread, challah bread, lentil chips, and a section dedicated to organic items. There is free rooftop parking designated for customers only. SoBRO youth handed out “Green Bucks” to residents for the purchase of fresh produce and other healthy alternatives. We’d like to give special thanks to the Office of Community Services (OCS) for their Community Economic Development Healthy Food Financing Initiative Project – FY 2016 that has supported our goal to increase the availability of healthy food options at South Bronx restaurants, support the expansion of businesses providing healthy food options, and facilitating the creation of employment opportunities for Bronx residents. This project has empowered local entrepreneur Henry Obispo to launch his socially conscious cold-pressed juice bar and healthy food eatery BORN Corp.; provided technical assistance to members of the South Bronx’s United Business Cooperative (UBC); and activated commercial and community space at the SoBRO managed Roberto Clemente Plaza. What’s more, Fine Fare’s opening created 25 jobs and BORN’s opening will create 15 jobs.
On June 30th, SoBRO’s 14th Annual Golf and Tennis Classic: Fore the love of the Bronx celebrated all of the things we love about this thriving borough. From cultural exhibits, to superb spirits, to an extraordinarily diverse cuisine. We are grateful for all of those who attended to commemorate our longstanding love affair with this amazing community. Supporters enjoyed a day of golf and/or tennis, lunch, stroll, and cocktail hour; culminating with our Champions of Change Dinner. In addition to supporting SoBRO’s life changing programs, sponsors also had the opportunity to advertise, build their on-site /online presence and visibility, network, and increase their industry reach.
On May 16th, in partnership with the NYC Department of Design and Construction, and the NYC Department of Transportation, SoBRO invited photographers of all levels to submit their best photos and stories that captured the essence of the neighborhoods of the South Bronx. Upon completion of the contest, selected photos were exhibited at the future site of the Roberto Clemente Plaza, transforming the construction site fence into a temporary photo gallery. The photos were put up on July 2016, and are to remain up till November 2016. The winners were announced at the Bronx Museum of Arts on June 9th, and received a $325 honorarium. We all look forward to the grand opening of the Roberto Clemente Plaza said to be completed by the end of this year.
On June 1st, SoBRO’s 2nd Annual Anti-Violence Conference drew over 80 youth and participants of organizations that included SoBRO and affiliates Learning to Work @ Crotona Academy, Adult Basic Education, ESOL, Youth Action (YouthBuild Harlem and East Harlem). Among participating organizations and city agencies were NYC Department of Probation, Bronx Connect, and STA YouthBuild & Justice Scholars. Several Presenters & Keynote Speakers included:
The South Bronx Leadership Forum (SBLF) lecture series provides an invaluable platform for sharing best practices in public policy, enterprise management, real estate development, and exemplary leadership in business and non-profit organizations. All presenters join a distinguished list of SBLF speakers that has included US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Senator Charles Schumer, and Hon. Colin Powell to name a few. SBLF has also hosted elected and appointed officials at the city and state levels, heads of community relations at some of New York City’s largest corporations, banks, and financial establishments, as well as esteemed Bronx leaders in business. The forums are collectively attended by over 35 community residents, stakeholders and others of the general public. For the first half of this year SoBRO had the pleasure of hosting:
Vicki Been (Picture 1 – upper left), Commissioner of New York City Department of Housing, Preservation, and Development who spoke at SoBRO’s SBLF on March 16th in recognition of Women’s History Month. Commissioner Been talked about the progress that has been made towards the Housing New York plan, of which Mandatory Inclusionary Housing (MIH) and Zoning for Quality and Affordability (ZQA) are critical components, and her experience at the helm of HPD – the nation’s largest municipal housing agency.
Hon. Darcel Clark (Picture 2 – upper right), Bronx District Attorney spoke at SoBRO’s SBLF on March 31st in recognition of Women’s History Month. She is the first African-American woman to hold this position in the history of New York State. District Attorney Clark shared the progress that has been made towards addressing the criminal justice system, and her experience at the helm of Bronx District Attorney’s Office.
Gregg Bishop (Picture 3 – lower left), Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services spoke at SoBRO’s SBLF on April 8th in recognition of Leaders Making a Change in the Community. He talked about the progress that has been made towards unlocking economic potential and creating economic security for New York City’s diverse communities, connecting residents to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building a fairer economy across the five boroughs.
Dr. Betty Rosa (Picture 4 – lower right), NYS Regents Chancellor spoke at SoBRO’s SBLF on May 24th in recognition of Women Leaders. Dr. Rosa was recently elected to lead the NYS educational system as Chancellor and is a long time Bronxite. She talked about the progress that has been made towards addressing the New York State educational system and her experience at the helm of NYS Board of Regents.
On February 5th 2016, SoBRO held its First Annual Community Health Fair consisting of health care providers, activities for children, raffles, free screenings such as mammograms, HIV testing, dental, high blood pressure, and lifesaving tests for heart attacks, stroke & aneurysms; and information about nutrition and fitness. Collectively, over 70 people were in attendance; residents of the community, vendors and SoBRO staff. Among the many vendors, in presence was United Health Care, Emblem Health, Morris Heights Health Care, idNYC, Blink Fitness, Advanced Cardiovascular Diagnostic, The Fresh Air Fund, Fidelis Care, United Business Cooperative and more. The #NOT62 initiative, announced by our Borough President, Mr. Diaz during the State of the Borough Address was also acknowledged.
SoBRO’s mission is to enhance the quality of life in the South Bronx by strengthening businesses and creating innovative economic, housing, educational, and career development programs for youth and adults.
SoBRO is a registered 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. All donations are tax deductible in full or in part.
Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.