As NYC neighborhoods go, Red Hook has more than its share of fascinating characters, whose lives contribute to cryptic, tumultuous stories. Strange artifacts often drift into the streets, where they beg for explanation. As it happens, one of us who will remain nameless has a mysterious little blog called Found in Red Hook, which grew out of her odd finds during her neighborhood walks. The photographs that make up the soul of that site became the inspiration for the following video, which shows a bit of Red Hook, before and after Superstorm Sandy. Taking the lead from years of work we did through Digital Story Workshop and then Little Creatures Films, the video weaves together two of the threads we are combining in our Find & Seek program at the library: treasure and children. Red Hook, lost village by the sea, within yet very separate from NYC, is home to many hidden treasures, and many little children. At Find & Seek we are wondering: can't we find a way to bring the treasures to the children (metaphorically and literally)? Don't the children need to explore the treasures? Don't they have a lot to say about the treasures? (See Spirit Ship for more on mysterious treasure-finding in Red Hook). Could the children's framing and reframing of the treasures help to transform a neighborhood with many aching needs? One year post-Sandy, those needs and questions are still very prescient. If you have a few moments, sit back and take in this six-minute collection of stories and images from our neighborhood by the sea:
What Sandy wrought, Red Hook has come together to heal. But the process is long, and it is by no means finished. Sandy brought to light many inequalities that have become entrenched in Red Hook over the past century. Find & Seek was borne out of our need to respond to the disenfranchisement Sandy shined a light on, but which was always there before the storm, and which is still here. We are developing our innovative early childhood program to respond to real needs in Red Hook. We are seeking partners who are able to support our work with dollars, so that we can continue to provide open-ended play, materials exploration and storytelling to Red Hook's youngest.
If these images and stories call out to you, perhaps you would like to pitch in and help with what we consider a project in long-term healing and prevention. You can give tax-deductible donations online through our fiscal sponsor World Education Endeavor (type "Find & Seek" in the PayPal memo). We will soon be launching a fundraising campaign on RocketHub, and we will also be raising funds locally, in collaboration with our partner Samora Coles' Alex House Project, a program which provides mentoring and resources to young mothers. To strengthen Red Hook's ongoing healing process, and to support children and families' resilience in the face of the struggles life brings, we are commited to getting to know Red Hook's youngest and their families, and to providing excellent early childhood education that is free and accessible.