Made in Brownsville describes itself as “a non-profit creative youth agency and innovation hub providing a gateway for young people to learn marketable hard skills in STEAM, access postsecondary education, achieve economic mobility, and engage in placed-based community revitalization.”

What does that mean? They get kids working with on-the-job training in design and technology industries, solving problems in their local community. They are designing and building public spaces for their neighborhood, and learning the job skills of the future today.

Sounds pretty fancy, right? But this isn’t Manhattan. Brownsville has the highest concentration of public housing of any neighborhood in the country. Under 50% of adults in Brownsville are employed. But despite the challenges of poverty, Made in Brownsville is flourishing.

Founder Quardean Lewis-Allen has this to say about his neighborhood and the challenges it faces:

Within those barriers, people are inventive and resilient. What I derive passion from is changing the narrative around the identity of this place. How can I help other people see the beauty I see in this neighborhood? …

Too often, the people where the decisions are made don’t live in the place. So, they don’t have a vested interest in its outcome. But we live here. So we can. And we should.

Watch the video from Buzzfeed above and see some of the great projects these kids have worked on.


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