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The Season of Giving

It’s that time of year again! It’s the season of giving and EYTE is the gift that keeps on giving. In true holiday fashion, EYTE started the season with its annual Fall College Care Package Drive in October, then rounded up some turkeys to share with the community in November and ended the season by spreading Christmas cheer with the annual Toy Drive. Due to the pandemic, EYTE members could not embrace and socialize with the Brownsville community as we usually could, but that did not stop them from bringing as many smiles to people’s face as they could (even if those smiles were hidden behind masks).

There is no doubt that the events that have occurred this year is nothing like anyone has seen before. This year more than ever college students needed support and encouragement. College students faced issues such as adapting to online classes, working in a home environment, quickly figuring out traveling and living arrangements, and dealing with technological difficulties. There were even reports of colleges providing limited to no food to the college students that remained in the dorms. Therefore EYTE made sure to send out college care packages filled to the brim with foods and goods to not only sustain the students for a while but to cheer them up with a good surprise during their midterms.

On October 17th, EYTE hosted a College Care Package Drive at Nehemiah park for people to donate and volunteer to pack boxes with food and goods for college students. EYTE founder, Javon Johnson, and volunteers promptly arrived at 11am to layout over 50 boxes to fill and send to college students across America. Not only were they greeted with dozens of boxes but there was also a table for painting posters to encourage people to vote. While the objective of the painting session was to advocate voting responsibility, the volunteers also mentioned that it was a fun, small moment of self care.

Empowering Youth Towards Excellence did not stop there, in November there was the annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway at JHS 292 and P.S. 213. This year will be remembered as the year in which thousands of people lost their jobs and their homes, stores were stripped of essential goods and social contact was limited to virtual screens. During this holiday season, EYTE felt that it was more important than ever to help families get food on their tables and, with the help of donations from local organizations in Brooklyn, EYTE was able to give away turkeys to families in need from a safe six feet distance.

Like a shiny red bow, EYTE topped it’s holiday season off with its annual Toy Drive at various Brownsville schools. Money has been tight for many people, businesses and organizations this year, as the country had to go into lockdown and continues to maintain certain restrictions, however EYTE founder made sure to carve a piece of his budget to make sure the kids in Brownsville would still receive presents on Christmas morning. Like a modern Santa Claus, Mr. Johnson drove around in his black automotive sleigh to deliver toys to teachers for them to give to their students. It was a very merry Christmas for EYTE indeed!

As the holiday season draws to a close and the new year swiftly approaches, Empowering Youth Towards Excellence workers and volunteers continue to find ways to better support and empower their community. It seems no weather or pandemic can keep these dedicated community members from helping those in need. The seasons may change, but one thing that will never waiver is EYTE's mission to be a positive force in it's community


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