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August 1, 2016

NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) STEAM Initiative Hosts Community Service Day in South Bronx

Partnership between DDC, LeAp, DOE, and DYCD brings families out for a day of community engagement at M.S. 22 in District 9

Three people sit on the floor and paint on a large piece of paper for a mural.
Volunteers painting murals at the 2016 Community Service Day presented by DDC’s STEAM initiative, LeAp, DYCD and DOE.

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

Dan Leibel
Junior Public Information Officer

Bronx, NY—New York City Department of Design and Construction’s (DDC) STEAM education initiative – in partnership with the Learning through an Expanded Arts Program (LeAp) nonprofit education organization, the New York City Department of Education (DOE), and the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) – hosted a Community Service Day today at M.S. 22 on East 167th Street in the South Bronx. The event was attended by approximately 100 middle school, high school and college students who participated in DDC summer programs this year, who were joined by about 25 members of the local community.

DDC’s college, high school and middle school interns helped organize the activities, which included neighborhood gardening; painting a Community Peace Mural; salsa, bachata and bomba dance lessons; and a father-son basketball tournament. Free bags of groceries were available for distribution to local residents as well. Most funding for the program came from DYCD, which also funds LeAp.

“DDC is very pleased with the level of neighborhood engagement seen at this year’s Community Service Day,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “Our STEAM initiative has been successful in educating students through collaboration and teamwork, both of which are important principles in building a city such as New York. It’s wonderful to bring students from all over the City to join community members to beautify neighborhoods and support one another.”

DDC and LeAp’s partnership with District 9 stretches back to March 2014 and the inaugural Young Engineers Program, which supports Mayor de Blasio’s after school initiative for middle school students. DDC also works with the DOE and DYCD to facilitate a wide range of hands-on STEAM-related programs, all designed to increase early learning opportunities in science, technology, engineering, art/architecture and mathematics fields.

“As we work to provide hands-on, high-quality summer learning to students in the South Bronx and citywide, DDC is a critical partner,” said DOE Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “This is a wonderful program that holds off the ‘summer slide’ and helps our middle schoolers find their passions and talents, and I celebrate the work of the educators and students involved.”

“Although the STEAM initiative typically focuses on architecture, engineering and construction education, community service day is extremely important in teaching interpersonal skills and teamwork as keys to improving day-to-day life,” said DDC Community Partnerships & STEAM Initiatives Deputy Commissioner Lee Llambelis. “We’re happy we could come back to Bronx District 9 and continue to influence the community through outreach and education.”

“The community service day is a great example on how our young people are learning the value of hard work and giving back to their community while also inspiring their peers, neighbors and all New Yorkers to take great pride in their City,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “DYCD is proud to work with DDC to expose our young people to the STEAM educational movement which engages students to explore the world around them and create innovative solutions to problems while learning Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Architecture and Math.”

“This community service day is extremely important for peace and understanding among young people in the neighborhood,” said LeAp Assistant Director Monique Jarvis. “Some kids get killed here for standing on the wrong corner and this event serves as a safe space where they can enrich their community and themselves. Roughly 65 students from 15 different schools in the area signed up as community volunteers and that sort of collaboration is extremely helpful because it is so rare.”

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit