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, community and environment
From the Chair
I am pleased to present the 2012 Annual Report for Concrete Safaris. I hope this report provides you with a deeper understanding of, and perhaps some fresh insights into, Concrete Safaris and that you come away understanding and appreciating the tangible and meaningful contribution we are making to improving the lives of many underserved youth by expanding their vision of what is possible. All of us at Concrete Safaris believe strongly in the value of community-based participatory interventions as effective methods for longterm, positive lifestyle change. Concrete Safaris provides youth with the vision and the confidence that they can build that bright future and achieve their dreams. Notwithstanding all that Concrete Safaris has accomplished to date, there remains a critical need for expanding our operations to reach an even greater segment of the youth population in East Harlem and in other underserved communities in New York that are in need of developmental resources. There is much more that can be done to expand the range of educational and recreational programs that we offer and the number of children we serve. Concrete Safaris would not have achieved the accomplishments to date, nor will we be able to achieve the goals we have established for the future, without the enthusiastic backing of our friends, volunteers and donors. Our tirelessly dedicated executive director, Sharon (Mac) Levine, deserves a thanks for her leadership and a great deal of credit for the growth and achievements of Concrete Safaris. On behalf of my fellow Board members, our executive director, our staff, our volunteers, and particularly the children, I would like to extend a warm and sincere thanks to all of you who support our mission and contribute to our successes and invite others to participate. Michael J. Hagan
From the Founder
In 2012, Concrete Safaris rocked! Among other accomplishments, we expanded the range of our activities, hired new staff, became a 5-day per week operation, and acquired the right to garden on a second plot of land in East Harlem. You are invited to read about Concrete Safaris’ achievements in this annual report. We expanded our children’s gardens from Washington Houses to a second public housing project, NYCHA’s Jefferson Houses, both in East Harlem. Children, ages 7- to 11, grew butterfly plants, and harvested hot peppers, kale, basil, cabbage, spinach, and other herbs. Concrete Safaris’ City Surfers engaged peers and younger children in grades K - 5 at PS 102 through the half- or full-day Green Exercise Days program, in which they planted, exercised, created nature art, and beautified their neighborhood. Some 1,200 East Harlem children took part in these activities throughout the year. City Surfers learned to ride our new fleet of bicycles. After regular practice, they cycled six miles around Central Park. The children became so excited that they contributed to passing legislation to install bike lanes on First and Second Avenues by testifying before Community Board 11 and writing letters. A big thank you goes to Bryan Vitale and Joel Encarnacion for helping us develop our young leaders. Bryan, a former Student Activities Coordinator for an East Harlem school and an avid outdoorsman, joined Concrete Safaris in April 2012 as our full-time, outdoor education director. He improved the delivery of our Green Exercise Days in the Gardens and City Surfers programs. Joel, lifelong resident of East Harlem, became our part-time program assistant and has become a respected activity leader, gardener, and cyclist with the City Surfers. We could not have done all of this without our devoted team of students, parents, partners, collaborators, and the board. I want to invite you to participate in our upcoming, garden-based volunteer days, to join our new Events Committee, to take an active role in our Parents Committee, to race for Concrete Safaris in the NYC Triathlon, or to attend our first workshop on Youth Empowerment—co-led by the City Surfers—at the 2013 Just Food Conference. It has been a joy to watch our students become healthy leaders over these past five years, and I want to thank you for your continued support of our mission to empower children through outdoor education and exercise programs. Beans + Butterflies, Mac Levine
What We Do
Concrete Safaris provides children living in East Harlem with the opportunity to exercise outdoors five days per week. Children transform open space in the public housing projects where they live into educational gardens. They also swim, cycle, run, fish, hike, and play games in and beyond their neighborhood. Concrete Safaris develops healthy leaders who invest in themselves and their environment, one of New York City’s least healthy and most impoverished neighborhoods. The organization also provides opportunities for volunteers (both individuals and corporate groups) to work in the gardens and with the children through Green Exercise Days. I love Concrete Safaris because of all the activities we do. Also, because they make you feel at home.
-Bobbye Jean Hall
I love that we go biking and we can go biking wherever we want to go.
Impact in 2012
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I love Concrete Safaris because we do fitness and swimming to lose some weight to help us.
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A year-round after school and summer program in which 36 children aged 7-11 transform the physical environment where they live, learn, and play. The City Surfers children meet every day after school to learn basic fitness skills and nutrition concepts, educate their community about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and impact social policy. These students garden in the public housing projects in and around where they live as well as cycle, swim, fish, hike, and play games in citywide parks. The City Surfers program is designed to develop critical thinking and leadership skills. Our children solve environmental health issues that matter most to them, their families, and neighbors. Early age investment in health and community education increases in these children the likelihood of developing healthy eating and exercise habits as well as care for their own environment.
Green Exercise Days (GED)
Single-day opportunities for neighborhood children to learn about environmental health and disease prevention in the context of the outdoors from their peers, the City Surfers, as well as volunteers from and outside of the community including corporations. Providing a safe space for children to learn and play outdoors in their environment encourages them to stay active and creative during out-of-school time. In 2012, three specialized programs were established under the GED umbrella: gardens, wheels and streets. In GEDs in the Gardens, City Surfers and volunteers lead stations within an environmental health obstacle course for full or half-day events, which may include planting fruits, vegetables, herbs, and butterfly plants, completing a fitness circuit, creating nature art and more. In GEDs on Wheels, children pair with volunteers for a cycling adventure through city parks and greenways. Finally, GEDs on the Streets are our version of a play street in which children may skate, cycle, create art, and play games on a closed street, and City Surfers help peers learn basic skills.
Since 2008, Concrete Safaris has empowered bi-weekly workshops for 7-9 and 9-11-year olds children living in and around East Harlem’s pub- each at Union Settlement to a five-day per week lic housing projects to become healthy leaders program at PS 102. In addition to their learning through outdoor exercise and education pro- and exercise activities, City Surfers advocated grams that enrich the mind, body, community for neighborhood bike lanes at the Community Board 11 hearings. The lanes and environment. At the very are currently being installed. outset, Executive Director Mac “The program is building Levine asked 16 children how In the fall of 2011, the chilthey wanted to improve their community within our dren asked the NYC Housing health. They answered: by livschool, beautifying Authority for authorization ing in a cleaner, greener and to start gardens in Jefferson our neighborhood, and safer neighborhood. Houses. In August 2012, our providing crops to the request was granted. City City Surfers is Concrete Safa-
families. Our students Surfers broke ground on ris’ year-round, youth empow1,500 sq. ft. in September erment program in which 7 have gained knowledge 2012 for what will become – 11 – year olds exercise and and leadership skills, more than an acre of garlearn outdoors. Our students dens around 30 buildings decide how they want to parand improved their focus.” across 6 blocks on public ticipate in the urban environ–Ms. Sandra Gittens, Principal, PS 102 housing property, the largmental health movement. In est children’s gardening proj2008, they agreed to start by planting flowers. Today, Concrete Safaris’ stu- ect of its kind in NYC. In the summer of 2012, dents manage NYC’s largest children’s garden we expanded our summer camp to 5-days per on public housing property equal to 15,000 week. Having learned to ride bicycles only the previous October, the City Surfers successfully square feet within Washington Houses. cycled six miles around Central Park that sumIn 2010, City Surfers voted to increase the mer. physical activities from gardening and leadership training to include swimming, cycling, and In the fall of 2012, Concrete Safaris started an running. official public speaking program for the purIn the 2011-2012 school year, we began operat- pose of training all students to lead gardening at two locations: a twice-a-week program at ing and health workshops in our gardens. A Washington Houses, in partnership with Union select group of City Surfers are preparing to Settlement Association, and a five-day per week lead a Youth Empowerment Workshop at the program at PS 102. In 2011, Concrete Safaris Just Food Conference in March 2013 about how hired our second full-time employee and a part- they started and manage gardens in two public time employee to grow our organization from housing projects in NYC.
Foundation grants Corporation contributions Government grants $41,000 61,132 10,000
Directors & Officers Branwen Buckley,
Concrete Safaris Income Statement Assistant Secretary Year Ended December 31, 2012
Michael J. Hagan, Revenues* Chairman and Secretary Kezia Hendrix, Director Mac Levine, Executive Director Richard Mead, Director and Treasurer Mariola Pogacnik, Director Parent Committee Genevieve Andre Elodia Leon Felipe Rodriguez Adolfo & Maria Sanders Cindy Wagner
Individual contributions and fundraising events 34,932 Donated supplies, services and facilities Investment gains (losses) and dividends Total revenues 24,070 (64) $171,070
Programs $125,257 Management and general 17,016
Fundraising 16,729 Total expenses Net income
* excluding $2,400 restricted contribution
Supporters & Collaborators
After school & Summer Programs + Schools Key Partners: PS 102 and Union Settlement Association. Additional partners: Amber Charter School, The Association to Benefit Children, Children’s Aid Society, Dream Academy, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Public Schools 38, 72, 83, 182, and The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center. Government Manhattan Borough President’s Office, Materials For the Arts, NYC Department of Health, NYC Department of Transportation, NYC Department of Youth, NYC Housing Authority, Office of Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito, Office of Senator Jose M. Serrano. Foundations Alcoa, American Chai Trust, Awesome Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, The Morrison & Foerster Foundation, Outdoor Foundation, The Whole Kids Foundation. Community-Based Organizations Citizens Committee for New York City, CLIMB, GrowNYC, Harvest Home Farmer’s Market, Lawyers Alliance for NY, New York Cares, New York RoadRunners, and Transportation Alternatives. Business Organizations Ally Commercial Finance, AOL, BlackRock, Deloitte & Touche, Goldman Sachs Community TeamWorks, J.P. Morgan, MEC, Merrell, Morgan Stanley, Morrison & Foerster, Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Thompson Hine, and Tiago Holdings.
How to Stay Connected & Support Our Mission-Based Programming Donations
Our non-profit organization operates thanks to the generosity of individuals like yourself, corporations, government, and foundations. Concrete Safaris aims to grow its year-round City Surfers program to serve 60 children and its Green Exercise Days to serve 1,500 children in 2013. We need your help to make this dream a reality. We accept monetary donations through our website at www.concretesafaris.org, via check to the address below, or via cash at one of our events. To donate securities, please contact the Treasurer at rhmead@ concretesafaris.org . We also accept in-kind donations, including fitness, gardening, and office supplies. For a complete list, please visit our website.
Over 400 volunteers donate thousands of hours of time each year to help our young participants grow the gardens of their dreams. If your organization would like to sponsor a Green Exercise Day in our gardens, on a cycling tour, or by closing down a NYC street for outdoor play, please contact Mac at email@example.com. We have fullday opportunities to engage your employees in meaningful, team building, mentoring experiences with young, developing leaders, ages 7 – 11, in East Harlem. You are also welcome to volunteer as an individual. Please complete a volunteer form on our website, and we will get back to you with opportunities.
Concrete Safaris will host its first major sporting event, an adventure race and community service weekend, in 2013. We are seeking key sponsors at this time and have the opportunity for prominent signage or ad placement with a substantial audience. If your organization would like to make an investment in the health of East Harlem’s children, please contact Mac at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mac Levine at (347) 267.2903 Concrete Safaris email@example.com 1775 Third Avenue www.concretesafaris.org New York, NY 10029