Hector Batista, Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters New York introduces the panelists at the BCS Community Engagement Summit.

Brooklyn Community Services hosted a Community Engagement Summit on Wednesday, Dec 2, where over 20 organizations were given the opportunity to table and connect with others committed to social change. The event also involved a panel discussion about the most dire issues facing Brooklyn communities and how people are uniting to make an impact around these issues.

The panel was moderated by Monroe France, the Assistant VP for Student Diversity at NYU and featured Matt Cowan (iMentor), Cindy Greenberg (Repair the World), Dr. Melony Samuels (Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger), Eva Vega-Olds (Anti-Defamation League), and Mark Winston Griffith (Brooklyn Movement Center).  Panelists discussed issues including gentrification, hunger, the school-to-prison pipeline, the importance of financial literacy, and the need for genuine collaboration between organizations rather than competition. While much of the conversation centered around volunteerism and the importance of getting involved in organizations within our communities, Monroe France concluded by saying: “We should be in a place where we don’t even need volunteers because we have equity.”