Year in Review 2016


Earl Williams—Community Champion

Provided by Devorah Fong, Director of Public Affairs and Community Relations Earl L. Williams was an extraordinary man, whose bright smile, robust laughter and generous spirit lifted the heart and soul of every person he met. He is the original “pay it forward” man; the quintessential volunteer’s volunteer and the guardian angel for so many others. Just think about his long and outstanding service to his beloved Lions Club. I know that he held their mission: “To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs” very close to his heart. He lived it every day, never turning away from an opportunity to serve as a mentor or collaborator to help his family, friends, coworkers and/or those in need of a helping and supportive hand.

Photo Credit: The office of Public Affairs and Community Relations

SCT’s Senior Organizations Spread Holiday Cheer


The holiday season is usually filled with cheer and good tidings, but it can be a lonesome time for those unable to be with their family and friends, especially for senior citizens. Community organizations like JASA Starrett Senior Center, and Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) made sure their members did not experience any holiday blues this season. On December 16th, both groups held festive parties with delicious food, music and party favors.

Photo: Amanda Moses

Q & A with Spring Creek Towers’ Comedian Damon Rozier


Damon Rozier is a resident of Spring Creek Towers for fifteen years and is a nationally known comedian. The saying is that “comedy comes from tragedy” and in Rozier’s case, his start in comedy came from his inner strength after a serious accident, which left him a quadriplegic. In this Question and Answer Community Profile, Rozier discussed with the Spring Creek Sun, his roots to Brooklyn, start in comedy and what he thinks is in the future for comedians.



Schools Honored During Boston Market’s Grand Opening


The Grand Opening of Boston Market in the Spring Creek Shopping Center culminated a community driven endeavor by Boston Market that started in October—an art project to beautify the barricades around Boston Market while the restaurant was under construction. “We are pleased to have our new Spring Creek Boston Market restaurant open to the community, and being involved in the communities we serve is important to us,” said Bob Gerard, Director of Operations for Boston Market. The murals that the students made had to display three things: family, mealtime and chicken. Local artists, Ms. BOOMBOX and LadyKFever helped the students in creating the murals.

Photo: Boston Market


SCBC Honoring the Memory of Jimmy O’Pharrow


It only takes one person to make a change: one person to see a community and know its true potential for greatness. That was Jimmy O’Pharrow, a strong, intelligent, loving, humble man, and an all-around role model. His work as the founder and director of the Starrett City Boxing Club (SCBC), in the boxing world in general, as well as his dedication to helping others will forever be imprinted on the Spring Creek Towers’ community. For the past five years, the SCBC has kept his memory alive by holding a free sparring event. On February 20th, the club invites boxers from all across the metropolitan area, regardless of their age and gender, to have fun and practice what they love—boxing.

Photo: Amanda Moses


PS 346 Students Have The Bare Necessities

BY PAMELA STERN Third, fourth and fifth graders at PS. 346 put on five sold out performances of Disney’s “Jungle Book.” The Jungle Book is an animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions, and inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s book which has the same name. The premise for The Jungle Book, is Mowgli, a child is raised in the jungle by wolves. Mowgli’s friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to convince him to leave the jungle before the evil tiger, Shere Khan arrives.



Community Profile: Family is more Than Blood

If you could save a friend’s life, would you? What would you sacrifice to help that person? Would you give up blood, bone marrow, maybe even a kidney? One may make these sacrifices for a family member, but what about a friend? For longtime Spring Creek Towers’ resident, Marisol Crespo the concept of family goes beyond the science of shared genes. It describes someone that she has been friends with for years, a person she loves and trusts. A few years ago, Chave Vazquez’s daughter, Charlene Guzman was diagnosed with a disease called scleroderma, a rare and incurable auto-immune disorder that causes tightening of the skin, muscles and joint pain. Crespo decided to make the life changing decision to donate her kidney to Guzman.

Photo: Marisol Crespo

Tyler Lewis the Four-Time All-American Track Star


Seventeen-year-old Tyler Lewis is undeniably fast. You can find him zipping across track fields and hopping over hurdles with lightning speed, just like a real-life version of DC comic book’s the Flash. His dedication and talent has earned him the title of being a four-time All-American Track Star.

Photo: Tyler Lewis



Spring Creek Senior Partners Offers Free Shingles Vaccine

As we grow older, we become more susceptible to ailments and injuries. One of the most severe and painful conditions affecting older adults is shingles. Shingles is caused by the chicken pox virus, varicella zoste. It is a painful rash in which blisters develop anywhere on your body (it’s commonly found along the torso), and can cause intense burning and tingling pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as one in three people in the United States are likely to get shingles this year. In light of this debilitating disease, a vaccination was created; however, not every insurance company covers it. The shingles vaccination can cost close to $200. In an effort to educate and help protect older adults from shingles, Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) joined with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York with the support from the NYC Department of the Aging, to provide free shingles vaccines to seniors living in Spring Creek Towers. Photo: Amanda Moses

Spring Creek Afterschool Program Successfully Collaborates on Annual Carnival

BY PAMELA STERN The Spring Creek Afterschool program had their carnival on January 21, 2016 at P.S. 346. This is the first time that they collaborated on an event with the Italian American Civil Rights League Afterschool Program and what a success it was! This carnival had 150 participants. Booths and stations were divided between both the cafeteria and the gym. Some of the booths and stations were: Tissue Paper Races, Pie Eating Contests, Scooter Cart Races, Fishing for Animals, Jewelry Making, Can Toss, Popcorn, and Cotton Candy.

Spring Creek Towers’ Afterschool Program Takes a “Journey through Black History”


The Spring Creek Towers’ Afterschool Program participants were in for a real treat when Reese Carr and Claro Delos Reyes from New York’s world famous Apollo Theater came to PS 346 to work with the students in a ten week workshop which took the students on a Journey Through Black History.

Time for Passover at Be’er Hagolah


Passover, or Pesach as it is called in Hebrew, is a major holiday in the Jewish religion. At the Be’er Hagolah School, students have been prepping and preparing for their Passover Seder. Students in each grade have their very own preparations that they followed.

Photo courtesy of Be’er Hagolah


FDA VIII Students Receive an Amazing Surprise


On Friday, May 13th, students at Frederick Douglass Academy VIII (FDA VIII) received the surprise of a lifetime—$42,000 worth of musical instruments from StubHub and The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Faculty and staff gathered the entire student body in the gymnasium for “a school assembly.” However, when Principal Chantal Grandchamps addressed the school, commending the children on their continuous hard work and talent, she announced the grand surprise. “We discover who we are through music. Music helps us celebrate, mourn, heal, learn, grow and love. That is why we must keep music alive here at FDA VIII. Today we are celebrating our love of music through the accomplishments of our string scholars and our talented music teacher, Mr. Jamaal Jones,” Grandchamps said. In addition to the donation, StubHub invited The X Ambassadors, a well renowned alternative rock band, for a surprise performance.

Photo: Amanda Moses

Formal Dress Giveaway—A Success!


You know the old saying out with the old and in with the new, well that is what some participants did on Sunday, April 24th at the Brooklyn Sports Club. At the Formal Dress Giveaway, residents have generously donated used prom and upscale dresses so that some young high school seniors would be able to cut the cost of buying a new dress for their high school prom. Jane and Anita Chan, two sisters and long-time residents of Spring Creek Towers (who attended the local schools, and were also Spring Creek Towers Scholarship recipients and now who are college graduates) put together this Formal Dress Give-away event, where they awarded 46 dresses to deserving high school seniors.


Senior Health and Fitness Day


On May 25th, older adults were invited to BSC’s National Senior Health and Fitness Day, which is observed across the country on the last Wednesday of May (organized by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national information clearinghouse for older adults). The annual event is geared towards helping seniors feel healthier, stronger and happier through exercise and dietary guidance.

Photo: Amanda Moses

Donating One Pint of Blood Can Save Three Lives


The Starrett City Tenants Association (SCTA) held their sixth annual blood drive with the help of the New York Blood Center on Saturday, June 11th. What a great success it was! Fourty-four people came out on this bright and sunny day to the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC) to do their part and save lives.

Photo: Pamela Stern

Studio In A School


The Starrett Early Learning Center’s Universal Pre-K students welcomed a new program called Studio In A School along with instructor Virginia Levie. The work that these students did was phenomenal! This program “Studio in a School” allowed students to learn different forms of art with a visiting teacher. Each week Ms. Levie taught the students a different form of art: 3 Dimensional, painting, black and white, shapes and tearing.

Photo: Pamela Stern


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Stepping Up With Style


On Friday, June 17th, there were balloons surrounding the gymnasium at the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC) in anticipation for the Starrett Early Learning Center’s Pre-K Stepping Up Ceremony. These children sang songs, and recited poems for their families and caregivers with their classmates. Not only did the children sing beautifully and recite the poems correctly, but the girls had the most beautiful dresses and some of the boys had nice looking suits on. There was no stopping these children as they sang and danced to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Students received a resounding applause after their rendition of “Kindergarten Summer Nights” and their final poem, “It’s Time To Say Goodbye.” Photo: Starrett Early Learning Center

Goodbye Kindergarten, Hello First Grade


On June 24th, kindergartners cast aside their nap time pillows and alphabet building blocks, for they were stepping up to their next adventure—first grade. With their hands in the air, the students sashayed through P.S. 346’s auditorium aisles to the salsa beat “Let’s Get Loud” by Jennifer Lopez. The graduating class danced, sang, and recited rhymes; onlookers witnessed all the lessons they had learned throughout the school year in that one moment. Whether it was jamming out to the Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars hit “Uptown Funk” or singing Michael Jackson’s classic “Rockin’ Robin,” the children shined on stage. The morning performance truly exhibited the motto of the event “Kids just want to have fun.”


Graduation Hopes & Dreams


By definition, the term graduation simply means a ceremony where degrees are distributed. However, every graduation is so much more than that. It is a moment in time when families, friends and faculty honor students’ achievements, and watch them take the next step into their future. P.S. 346’s fifth grade graduation ceremony was an emotional undertaking because they were stepping up to middle school. Tears were shed as many of the children said goodbye to their friends and the years they spent in elementary school. The emotional ceremony began with music performed by the Spring Creek Youth Orchestra, as the graduating class marched into P.S. 346’s auditorium. Donning sunglasses, the fifth grade class walked into their graduation ready for a bright future.

Photo: Amanda Moses

Summertime Fun at the Garden


Blossoming flowers, lush greenery, multicolored birds fluttering in a birdbath, and the sound of laughter, these are just a few sights and sounds to behold at the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). Although local schools are closed for the summer break, there are still children helping the garden keep its magical glow. Summer programs, such as Be’er Hagolah Institute’s day camp often visit the UGC to learn about plants, amending the soil, and so much more from Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman.

Photo: Amanda Moses



Living with Multiple Sclerosis


Longtime Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) resident, Elaine Moore has always been the picture of health. She’s physically active, exercises frequently at the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC), loves to eat healthy, and volunteers her time helping others and making people smile. However, about ten years ago, Elaine was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, a debilitating and incurable disease that slowly eats away at the body’s nerves. According to the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research and education, multiple sclerosis causes nerve damage, disrupting the communication between the brain and the body. Photo: Elaine Moore


Teen Central Spotlight Basketball Star Gets Full Ride Scholarship


Every morning, like clockwork, Jai Moore dons her running outfit, laces up her sneakers and leaves her apartment in Spring Creek Towers (SCT) to practice basketball drills. Since she was five years old, her mother has helped train her to be the very best in the sport. Whether it is working on her fitness or practicing with friends at Spring Creek Teen Central, Moore has always been determined to use basketball to further her education, training her mind just as much as her body.

Photo: Jai Moore


Creating A Sustainable Garden


The slogan: reduce, reuse, and recycle is more than just an environmentalist’s mantra to disposing of garbage. It can be applied to our daily choices. Whether it is conserving water, recycling garbage or reducing the amount of electricity used, each of these decisions can make a difference in our carbon footprint. Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman gave the Spring Creek Sun a tour around the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC), and explained all that she is doing to make the garden sustainable.



It’s Back to School


It’s time to lace up those shoes, make sure that your uniforms are pressed, and check that all of your supplies are in your backpacks for your first day back to school! Students living in Spring Creek Towers (SCT) were ready and anxious to start the new school year off as they waited excitedly outside of PS 346, FDA VIII and IS 364 to line up and go into their classrooms. Parents brought their children to school and waited with them, as they mingled with their friends before they saw their teachers and went inside. Amazingly there were many dads as well as moms who waited with their children for the first day of school. Photo: Amanda Moses


Celebrating the Importance of Reading


On September 8th, the Brooklyn Reading Council (BRC) celebrated International Literacy Day with their annual book giveaway, distributing over 1,000 free books to the Spring Creek Tower’s (SCT) community. Battling illiteracy one book at a time, the BRC actively encourages people of all ages to read and advocates for more literacy programs that are both educational and fun. “Reading is a fundamental tool for every child’s education,” said volunteer Donna Sowerby, who is a member of the BRC and the National Society of Phi Delta Kappa Inc. (Theta Chapter). She believes that giving a child a book is like giving them an opportunity to their future—a chance to become enlightened.


Scavenger Hunt at the SCRF Urban Garden Classroom


School is back in session, and PS 346’s third grade class is spending their science period in the Spring Creek Recreational Fund’s (SCRF) Urban Garden Classroom (UGC). “This is the first time the students are stepping into the garden since June,” said Garden Educator, Jacqui Roytman. To help refresh their memory, Roytman asked the students to tell her about the garden, such as what grows there and what type of insects could be found in the UGC.

Photo: Amanda Moses



Spring Creek Senior Partners Raises Fall Prevention Awareness


September was National Falls Prevention Month, a campaign created to raise awareness about fall injuries sustained by older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control, “One in three Americans age 65 and older falls each year, and falling is one of the leading causes of injury deaths among older adults.” The fear of falling is very real for the elderly. Many limit their activities because they are afraid of getting hurt. In response to this worrisome cloud that hangs over older adults, Spring Creek Senior Partners (SCSP) decided to create a week of awareness activities starting on Thursday, September 22, which was also the 9th Annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day (FPAD). This year’s theme was “Ready, Steady, Balance,” which focused on educating seniors on ways to strengthen their legs, monitor their medication and other home safety procedures. For one week, SCSP offered free vision, hearing and blood pressure screenings, a presentation by a pharmacist on how medications can affect the tendency to fall and a discussion by two physicians on factors influencing falls as well as a talk on home safety.


Be’er Hagolah Prepares for the High Holidays


At Be’er Hagolah, the spirit of the upcoming holidays, especially that of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiest days on the Jewish calendar, can be felt throughout the entire school building. All classes have prepared for Rosh Hashanah in myriad ways, each of them depicting the important rituals associated with the holidays. First through fourth graders, gathered in the kitchen of the yeshiva to bake honey cookies which they took home to their parents to enjoy on Rosh Hashanah. Students in each grade are reviewing the prayers for these very special holy days as they ask G-d to grant them a happy, healthy year, with long lives for their parents and grandparents. Photo: Be’er Hagolah Institutes

Let’s Dance Away Breast Cancer


October is Breast Cancer Awareness month; this year the Starrett City Lions Club will be coordinating a Zumba dance fundraiser at the Brooklyn Sports Club (BSC) in lieu of their annual community walk. “We wanted to try something we did about four years ago: we held a dance party along with the walk to help gather donations for the American Cancer Society,” said event coordinator and Lions Club Chair, Janice LaCroix.

Every year, LaCroix coordinates an event for Breast Cancer awareness, and she thought that this time the Lions Club should dedicate efforts to one large scale event that will inspire healthy living and cancer awareness. “There is still no cure for breast cancer, and as long as cure is needed we will work to raise money and spread awareness,” she said. Their fundraiser is a part of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) national campaign, “Making Strides” for cancer research and breast cancer awareness; along with honoring those who have survived or are currently battling the disease.

Photo: Janice LaCroix




Spring Creek Sun’s Alex Smith, Jr. Wins Bessie Award


The Spring Creek Sun would like to offer congratulations to our esteemed graphics designer, Alex Smith Jr. for receiving a prestigious Bessie Award (which is the highest honor that you can achieve in the field of dance). Aside from his work at the Spring Creek Sun, Smith has worked tirelessly as the Executive Chairman of the Thelma Hill Performing Arts Center (THPAC). THPAC was founded and incorporated in 1976, as a dance presenting organization to support emerging choreographers and dance companies of color. Throughout Smith’s tenure he has worked to ensure the company’s artistic development, performance success, and cultivated the ever-changing dance scene at THPAC. Photo Courtesy Alex Smith, Jr.


Community Schools Walk For A Cure


October was Breast Cancer Awareness month. In honor of this month-long commemoration, students at Abe Stark Primary School 346 (PS 346) and Frederick Douglass Academy VIII (FDA VIII) made strides against breast cancer by walking around the Spring Creek Towers (SCT) community in hopes of spreading awareness and raising money for a cure.

Although both schools differ in age groups, they teach the same message, “Supporting the fighters, admiring the survivors, honoring the taken and never giving up on hope.” For the walk, the children donned pink t-shirts, ribbons and buttons to show their support for cancer research. In addition, the faculty in both schools taught students about the disease, the importance of raising money for research and that the walk is one way to honor those who have battled breast cancer.

Photo: Amanda Moses

PS 346 Hosts Fall Harvest Event


Autumn is now in full bloom. Orange, red and yellow leaves fill the Spring Creek Towers’ community with colorful foliage, ushering in tidings of the holidays to come. PS 346 kicked off the fall season with a grand Harvest Festival, which allowed the children to read spooky stories, dress as farmers and pick pumpkins!



Starrett City Early Learning Celebrates Thanksgiving

BY: AMANDA MOSES Students at Starrett Early Learning Center (ELC) learned all about Thanksgiving last month when they hosted their annual turkey day party. ELC staff used colorful children’s books and songs to help the group of three, four and five year-olds understand the concept behind Thanksgiving, which is to be grateful and to help others. Whether it was through reading stories about the relationship between the pilgrims or drawing turkeys, the preschoolers were instructed on the definition of gratitude, the propriety of manners, and the importance of volunteerism. After singing and reciting poems about Thanksgiving, the children enjoyed a delicious turkey meal with stuffing, veggies and cranberry sauce.

Photo: Starret Early Learning Center

Spring Creek Afterschool Students Engage in Nationwide Lights on Program


One hundred of the students in the Spring Creek Afterschool program participated in “Lights On Afterschool.” This is the only nationwide event that showcases the afterschool programs along with and depicts the important roles that it plays in the lives of the children, their families and the community. Since the launch in October 2000, the Afterschool Alliance organized “Lights On Afterschool” to draw attention to the many ways afterschool programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things— such as science, community service, robotics, and poetry—and discover additional new skills. This event sends a powerful message that more kids need quality afterschool programs.


SCT Spreads Holiday Cheer


Tis the season for Spring Creek Towers’ (SCT) residents to decorate their apartment lobbies for the holidays! This annual tradition is special for many of the residents, who take pride in incorporating various, multicultural themes when decorating their lobbies, such as Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year. The Starrett City Tenant Association (SCTA) encourages residents to participate in this festive decorating spectacle throughout the month of December. Since the inception of SCT Towers in 1974, community organizations have worked on creating events and celebrations that unites residents—building a sense of camaraderie. According to SCTA President, Rebecca Caraballo, the annual lobby decoration event builds long-lasting relationships between neighbors, who work as a team planning and incorporating all of their creative ideas into cheerful designs. Photo: Amanda Moses