Sister Strengthening Advocacy for Girls Empowerment (SAGE), a program funded through the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council, decorated flowerpots and bird feeders in the Borinquen Plaza Senior Center garden at 80 Seigel St.
Vanessa, a student at P.S. 45 and Sister SAGE member, sat with a group of friends and painted flower pots and planted bulbs in the garden.
“Today, we are painting these pots for the senior citizens,” she explained. “It makes me feel really good, and they know that I care about them.”
Sister SAGE founder Tyese Brown has brought her team of roughly 40 school girls from the I.S. 26 Beacon to the garden several times over the summer to paint benches, lay down mulch and bring life back to the garden.
“People want to give back in the community and empower,” Brown explained about why she decided to start the group. “Especially in these marginalized communities, they know they can change something and make a difference in people’s lives.”
Sha Desa, former president of Sister SAGE, said the program is ultimately built to teach children how to work together and give back.
“We’re teaching children in the community how to respect themselves, how to learn about their culture and learn how to be okay with their culture,” Desa said. “When you give, you receive.”
Ester Blanco, director of the Borinquen Plaza Senior Center, said the program is not only educational for the kids, but it is just as important for the seniors.
“The seniors also participate, so it’s an intergenerational program,” Blanco said. “It not only benefits them, but the seniors also enjoy spending time with the children.”