The project, led by the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, asked the students to apply creativity, imagination and scientific knowledge to real life challenges. After walking through their community, the students recognized the new construction in the area.
The students were tasked with exploring their communities and documenting the good, bad, ugly and beautiful aspects. They learned to take photos and videos on professional cameras, upload them onto Google Drive and create a “social map” of their neighborhood.
The teens then created a social media page and blog to share their stories of gentrification. They created artwork, poetry and even audio recordings to accompany their projects.
They compared Williamsburg in the 1970s and 80s to the neighborhood today, and found that gentrification has brought both positive and negative effects.
The year-long initiative also connected the Williamsburg students to 25 teens and young adults in Medellin, Colombia. The two groups worked together on their projects while developing social awareness and greater understanding about each other’s cultures.
Last month, they spent a week together exploring New York City. The students walked the Williamsburg Bridge and went to One World Trade, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Intrepid Museum.
Afterward, they traveled to Miami to visit the Consulate General of Colombia and explored the coastal community.
Last week, the Brooklyn students presented their projects to teachers, family, friends and dignitaries such as Councilman Stephen Levin, Superintendent Karen Watts and Susan Marenoff-Zausner, president of the Intrepid Museum.
“By encouraging them to understand the social issues affecting their immediate community, making them aware of similar issues faced by peers in another country, and challenging them to find solutions, we hope to create an empowered, engaged and globally minded generation that will work to shape a brighter future,” said Tom Barry, senior manager of community engagement at the museum.