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Aug 12, 2015 5:59 PM ET

Archived: Summer 2015 Empowerment Fairs: We connect youth and community in West Harlem with needed resources, empowering them to reach their greatest potential

iCrowdNewswire - Aug 12, 2015

Summer 2015 Empowerment Fairs

the project

Moving into our 4th Summer of Empowerment Fairs, WHEC is raising funds to support our 2015 season. Once a month over the summer we close a block most in need of empowerment; low income areas with issues of youth on youth violence. We bring to the block local resources and organizations that can address the issues that are keeping youth and families from excelling to their greatest potential. These resources include legal aid, educational opportunities, job training, affordable healthcare and screenings, voting rights, post-incarceration guidance and much more.  We also engage our youth with sports on the street: basketball, soccer and a climbing wall.

Our WHEC board of volunteer staff (5 local community leaders) conducts the outreach and coordination of the agencies, community organizations and block associations as well as working with NYPD to close streets and engage nearby businesses. Another 10-15 volunteers help on the day of each event.

Our mission is to reach those in need when and where they are most able to accept the help- on their blocks while surrounded by a positive message and empowering atmosphere.

Our goals include:

  • Reach 6 blocks that are most in need of resources they may not know about and connect them with those resources
  • Empower 600 local West Harlem Residents with the resources they need over the 2015 season
  • Collect 200 WHEC Empowerment Surveys which captures the needs of people as well as the skills they can offer
  • Increase our supporter base by 20 Partners who will help us to empower West Harlem residents
  • And finally, we want to create a model that can be replicated in other communities that are in need of empowerment.

the steps

Summer Empowerment Fairs 2015

April 24- WHEC Partner/Resource meeting

May 31st- WHEC Gospel and Brunch Fundraiser

  • May 22- Event #1-  W 134th
  • June 19th- Event #2-  W 144th St
  • July 24th- Event #3- W 148th St
  • August 21st- Event #4-  W 151st St
  • September 25th-Event #5-  W 136th St
  • October 16th- Event #6- W 149th St


  1. 2 months out from event- secure resources, organizations and agencies, recruit and confirm Youth organizers for events (local schools, YMCA, local youth centers etc)
  2. 1 month out from event- Purchase sound equipment , create flyers, empowerment packs and assemble.
  3. 2 weeks out from event- Send reminder emails to all resources and volunteers- confirm tables and chairs needed
  4. 1 week out from event- social media updates and email to all elected officials, outreaching within 5 blocks of targeted block with flyers and handshakes
  5. Week of event- Post NO PARKING signs, reserve van for equipment haul on day of event
  6. Day before and day of event- purchase supplies, snacks, water for event
  7. Day of event:
  • barricade street and close down parking/traffic on street
  • transport tables, chairs, supplies and sports equipment to block
  • check in volunteers and speakers for event
  • set up tables and chairs on block
  • Check in resources/agency tables
  • Oversee snack table
  • Mentoring and youth outreach
  • Set up basketball hoops/soccer/climbing wall
  • Distribute and collect empowerment surveys
  • Breakdown and return equipment to storage area


  • Post pics and recap on social media. Shout out to volunteers, resources, agencies
  • Send thank you and recap email to WHEC Coalition Partners, volunteers and resources
  • Enter surveys into database
  • Follow up and connect “needs” and “gives” from survey if applicable

why we’re doing it

WHEC is a coalition of community leaders, concerned citizens, clergy and professionals in West Harlem who are empowering our community on a grassroots level, one block at a time. In 2011 we saw a troubling trend among the youth of West Harlem. Rising crime rates and homicides left our youth facing hard decisions on the street and entering the criminal justice system at alarming rates.  Many youth were returning home from incarceration and needed guidance and assistance to return to the street where they grew up. In an effort to get ahead of the upcoming Summer season and usual spike in crime, the Commanding Officer of the 30th Precinct gathered many like minded community leaders who wanted to find real solutions to the issue at hand.

After a brainstorm meeting it was decided that we had all the resources and tools we needed right in West Harlem to empower the community, but people who most needed them didn’t know about or have access to them.  So we decided to bring the resources to them.  With the guidance of the 30th precinct we began to target blocks with high crime rates and poverty and bring resources to them.  Since that time we have closed down 1 block per month over the summer for a day of Empowerment in West Harlem.

We want to create alternatives for our youth, especially during the warm summer months when crime peaks. This project provides mentorship for youth and resources and opportunities for the adults in their lives so they can focus on parenting.

Contact Information:


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