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Brownsville program creates interactive educational experiences for children in everyday spaces

Posted at 7:27 PM, Feb 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-11 19:27:51-05

BROWNSVILLE, Brooklyn — A new program in Brownsville is hoping to break down barriers while getting children more involved in everyday activities to promote learning.

The program, Learning Landscapes, has parents looking to make a difference with their own children, regardless of the resources available in their community.

David Alexis is raising two girls in Brownsville.

"It is exactly what I think a lot of us here in Brownsville were looking for," he said of the program.

At his local Food Bazaar, Alexis now has a new way to keep his 3-year-old Davina and 2-year-old Augusta entertained and stimulated.

"What used to be a hectic trip trying to get them to pay attention and to not run around the store became an adventure for them," he said.

The program, Learning Landscapes, takes every day experiences like grocery shopping and creates an engaging experience for early childhood development.

"One of the things they said is when we think about the experience of being an infant or a toddler in Brownsville, we feel like our community isn't set up the way other communities are to support them and help them succeed," said Kassa Belay, the co-director of United for Brownsville, an organizing initiative created by Brookyn residents.

Resources are pouring into the community, those PIX11 spoke to said, but often times lacking a major component: complete inclusion, particularly for the younger children.

"What really sparked this effort was the insight that families are left out of the planning table and decision making tables when resources do come into a community," Belay said.

So, United for Brownsville created a parent advisory board, partnered with the Clinton Foundation and launched this new program only one week ago at the Food Bazaar and Cherry Valley grocery stores, both in Brownsville.

The program hopes to to expand to other languages, and eventually to barber shops, hair salons and even bus stops.