project leader
Signe M
1805 Amsterdam Ave
Manhattan (West Harlem, Sugar Hill, Hamilton Heights)
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THANK YOU for joining us last Friday for our Empowerment Fair on W 136th St!

the project

Moving into our 4th Summer of Empowerment Fairs, WHEC is raising funds to support our 2015 season. Once a month over the summer we close a block most in need of empowerment; low income areas with issues of youth on youth violence. We bring to the block local resources and organizations that can address the issues that are keeping youth and families from excelling to their greatest potential. These resources include legal aid, educational opportunities, job training, affordable healthcare and screenings, voting rights, post-incarceration guidance and much more.  We also engage our youth with sports on the street: basketball, soccer and a climbing wall.

Our WHEC board of volunteer staff (5 local community leaders) conducts the outreach and coordination of the agencies, community organizations and block associations as well as working with NYPD to close streets and engage nearby businesses. Another 10-15 volunteers help on the day of each event.

Our mission is to reach those in need when and where they are most able to accept the help- on their blocks while surrounded by a positive message and empowering atmosphere.

Our goals include:

  • Reach 6 blocks that are most in need of resources they may not know about and connect them with those resources
  • Empower 600 local West Harlem Residents with the resources they need over the 2015 season
  • Collect 200 WHEC Empowerment Surveys which captures the needs of people as well as the skills they can offer
  • Increase our supporter base by 20 Partners who will help us to empower West Harlem residents
  • And finally, we want to create a model that can be replicated in other communities that are in need of empowerment.

the steps

Summer Empowerment Fairs 2015

April 24- WHEC Partner/Resource meeting

May 31st- WHEC Gospel and Brunch Fundraiser

  • May 22- Event #1-  W 134th
  • June 19th- Event #2-  W 144th St
  • July 24th- Event #3- W 148th St
  • August 21st- Event #4-  W 151st St
  • September 25th-Event #5-  W 136th St
  • October 16th- Event #6- W 149th St


  1. 2 months out from event- secure resources, organizations and agencies, recruit and confirm Youth organizers for events (local schools, YMCA, local youth centers etc)
  2. 1 month out from event- Purchase sound equipment , create flyers, empowerment packs and assemble.
  3. 2 weeks out from event- Send reminder emails to all resources and volunteers- confirm tables and chairs needed
  4. 1 week out from event- social media updates and email to all elected officials, outreaching within 5 blocks of targeted block with flyers and handshakes
  5. Week of event- Post NO PARKING signs, reserve van for equipment haul on day of event
  6. Day before and day of event- purchase supplies, snacks, water for event
  7. Day of event:
  • barricade street and close down parking/traffic on street
  • transport tables, chairs, supplies and sports equipment to block
  • check in volunteers and speakers for event
  • set up tables and chairs on block
  • Check in resources/agency tables
  • Oversee snack table
  • Mentoring and youth outreach
  • Set up basketball hoops/soccer/climbing wall
  • Distribute and collect empowerment surveys
  • Breakdown and return equipment to storage area


  • Post pics and recap on social media. Shout out to volunteers, resources, agencies
  • Send thank you and recap email to WHEC Coalition Partners, volunteers and resources
  • Enter surveys into database
  • Follow up and connect "needs" and "gives" from survey if applicable

why we're doing it

WHEC is a coalition of community leaders, concerned citizens, clergy and professionals in West Harlem who are empowering our community on a grassroots level, one block at a time. In 2011 we saw a troubling trend among the youth of West Harlem. Rising crime rates and homicides left our youth facing hard decisions on the street and entering the criminal justice system at alarming rates.  Many youth were returning home from incarceration and needed guidance and assistance to return to the street where they grew up. In an effort to get ahead of the upcoming Summer season and usual spike in crime, the Commanding Officer of the 30th Precinct gathered many like minded community leaders who wanted to find real solutions to the issue at hand.

After a brainstorm meeting it was decided that we had all the resources and tools we needed right in West Harlem to empower the community, but people who most needed them didn't know about or have access to them.  So we decided to bring the resources to them.  With the guidance of the 30th precinct we began to target blocks with high crime rates and poverty and bring resources to them.  Since that time we have closed down 1 block per month over the summer for a day of Empowerment in West Harlem.

We want to create alternatives for our youth, especially during the warm summer months when crime peaks. This project provides mentorship for youth and resources and opportunities for the adults in their lives so they can focus on parenting.


THANK YOU to an ANGEL Donor who just gave $300 to support a Youth Stipend!


Disbursed Budget:

Youth Summer Job Stipends $600.00

Sports Equipment/Workshop equipment $191.42

Empowerment packs, printing, office supplies $360.00

Snacks and Water for community $300.00

Portable PA System $400.00

Vehicle rental for moving equipment $250.00

Water Coolers $80.00

Arts/Craft/Supplies $200.00 

* some funds will be used for winter workshops

RAISED = $2,607.00
less ioby Platform Fee  $35.00
less ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $119.07
less ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $71.44

Updated Budget:

Our PA System rental has been generously co-sponsored. Here is our updated goal. 

Youth Summer Job Stipends $600.00
Basketballs, jump rope, hula hoops $200.00
Empowerment "packs"- Quick fact sheet that lists ALL resources by category and issue that needs resolve, Empowerment Surveys(needs and gives), SWAG from Vendors,
Printing cost, paper and folders
6 events+60 = 360
Snacks and Water for youth- 6 events $300.00
Portable PA System $400.00
Vehicle rental for moving equipment $250.00
Water Coolers $80.00
Arts/Craft/Supplies $200.00
TOTAL COST: $2,390.00

SUBTOTAL = $2,390
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $72

Original Budget:

Youth Summer Job Stipends $600.00
Basketballs, jump rope, hula hoops $200.00
Empowerment "packs"- Quick fact sheet that lists ALL resources by category and issue that needs resolve, Empowerment Surveys(needs and gives), SWAG from Vendors,
Printing cost, paper and folders
6 events+60 = 360
Snacks and Water for youth- 6 events $300.00
Portable PA System $800.00
Vehicle rental for moving equipment $250.00
Water Coolers $80.00
Arts/Craft/Supplies $200.00
TOTAL COST: $2,790.00


SUBTOTAL = 2,790
ioby Platform Fee  $35
ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) $140
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $84



THANK YOU for joining us last Friday for our Empowerment Fair on W 136th St!

Dear WHEC Empowerment Partners and Family-

It is only with your help and support that we can continue to make a difference and bring empowerment to West Harlem. THANK YOU for joining us last Friday for our Empowerment Fair on W 136th St! 

From the bottom of our WHEC heart we thank you for coming out to #empowerwestharlem! 

Check out some pictures on Facebook of how we came together!

Facebook (westharlemec) and Twitter @westharlemec
Please post your photos if you took any and be sure to tag us! #empowerwestharlem and #empowermentworks

Help us further: 

We will see you at the next Empowerment Fair on October 16th @ 151st St- another block greatly in need of empowerment!

Send us stories for #empowermentworks

Send us your success stories!
We would like to share how your presence at the Empowerment Fair connected residents with the services you provide! We will use this as a testimonial on our Facebook page #empowermentworks and as support for future grants and donations!
Fill out and submit the Partner Testimonial form at our website! 

In Hope and Empowerment
WHEC Board

Rev Donnell Harper - Chair
Alicia Barksdale- Vice Chair
Signe Mortensen- Corresponding Secretary
Jewel Johnson- Treasurer
Louise Murray- Financial Secretary
Carolyn Thompson- CB9 Liaison

The story of a West Harlem resident, turned business owner, empowered by the resources delivered during WHEC's street fairs...

My name is Cheryl Hayes, I graduated from the New York School of Dog Grooming and have been a Certified Master Groomer since November 2010. Starting my own business has always been a dream of mine, but I stressed over financing for a storefront. Working from home was an option that fueled my ambition. While attending the "National Night Out" on 143rd street, 2013, Darryl T. Downing of the Harlem Business Alliance, offered an opportunity to finally “Start-Up.” He challenged me to follow through and complete the assignments of the H.B.A. Technical Assistants, Lawrence King then Baunita Greer.

In February of 2014 “Strollin Pawz Dog Grooming Service” became a legitimate home based, certified M/WBE small business. This certification covers New York City as well as New York State. Baunita Greer, assisted me through every step of the M/WBE certification process. “She's awesome!” In November 2014, I became a freelance partner and Premier Master Groomer at Mia's Bathhouse For Pet's. 

Just think, if not for the West Harlem Empowerment Coalition’s Street Fair, I may never have been exposed to the numerous offerings of HBA. I recommend the Harlem Business Alliance to anyone who wants to own their future endeavors. They helped me to become a free agent. From here the only way is up. “Thank You WHEC! And Thank You HBA! ”

Cheryl Hayes, CMG

Strollin Pawz Dog Grooming Service (owner)

How does empowerment make a difference in the lives of West Harlem?

A Small Business Owner in West Harlem, Mr. Cooke, was empowered on Sept 20, 2014 by our empowerment partner Harlem Business Alliance:

Mr. Cooke's Testimonial:

"The Harlem Business Alliance has been a part of my plan of success from day one. I am a real estate business startup. They have provided useful services like networking events, an incredible staff/support team, resources and a comfortable workspace. All have proven to be invaluable to me.

Just imagine, it was September 20, 2014 that I attended the WHEC - West Harlem Empowerment Coalition "Resource Fair 144th Street." It was there that I was introduced to HBA. In that short amount of time my company has grown to employ 7 people!

When you have a dream, Harlem Business Alliance will partner with you to make sure you reach the next level!"

Learn more about Mr Cooke's new business

We are thrilled Mr Cooke found his empowerment through small business services at our Empowerment Fair. Congratulations Mr Cooke!

Thank you and photo for West 144th Empowerment Fair


June 19th Empowerment Fair Flyer Posted!













More information at

First Empowerment Fair a success! Almost 50% Funded!

Hello Empowerment Funders and beyond!

What an amazing day we had on W 134th St in West Harlem last Friday!  As we rested this weekend, we reflected not only on Memorial Day but on the way community came together to empower our neighbors last Friday!

Who was Empowered?

Around 100 adults and children came through W 134th St- attracted by the sports and craft activities and stopping by all the resource tables that were stationed on the street and manned by our diverse Empowerment Partners. We served this block last year and noted a big improvment on this block since then!  Empowerment works!

Our Amazing Empowerment Partners

20 empowerment partners come out to provide W 134th St with much needed guidance and help regarding post-incarceration, immigration services, drug abuse, literacy and education, fire safety, sports activities, transportation alternatives, housing servies, health services, jobs services and MORE.

A special thanks to the NYPD 30th Precinct for helping clear the block, set up, break down and working with the community to empower W 134th St! And a special shout out to NYPD Manhattan North for the CLIMBING wall- always a huge hit and brings out the masses.

Groups that joined us for this Fair include:

NYPD, FDNY, NY Public Library, Community Board Nine, Councilman Mark Levine's Office, African Hope Committee, America Scores, Center for Alternative Sentencing and Employment Services, Convent Ave Baptist Church, Literacy Inc, Manhattan District Attorney's OFfice, Transportation Alternatives, Washington Heights CORNER Project, West Harlem Group Assistance.

We expect even more to join us on June 19th as we build up momentum and continue to get the word out!

Challenges- why we need full funding!

Our challenges at this fair were apparent during set up and break down!  We need to rent one large truck to transport all our equipment to and from our storage area! We move 10-15 tables, 50 chairs, 2 large basketball hoops and other sports equipment and supplies for EVERY fair and it takes multiple trips (and extra time). We also continue to borrow sound equipment from our partners and need a WHEC owned system so we can be independent!

With the funding we receive through our ioby campaign we will solve these challenges in future fairs this summer!

Thanks and don't forget to spread the word to your family, friends and networks!

In Hope and Empowerment - WHEC

Photos from 134th Street Fair!



Great Planning meeting today! Next Funding goal- $2000!

Hello Empowerment Funders!

We had a very inspiring meeting today with the WHEC Board and numerous new Empowerment Partners!  Literacy, Criminal Justice, Transporation alternatives, Small Business support- just to name a few!

We went over details for the first Empowerment Fair of the season which is on May 22nd @ 4-7pm at W 134th St btw Broadway and Amsterdam.  A block very much in need of support and resources!

We are looking forward to our first Fair and are so energized by all those that have donated here and are reaching out to volunteer!

We continue to need volunteers and donations to reach our next goal! Please spread the word and check out our website for more information on how you can get involved!


30th Precinct Clergy Meeting

We joined the 30th Precinct for their annual Clergy meeting yesterday.  It was a great chance to meet the men and women who work in our community churches and ask them to join us on our mission to EMPOWER West Harlem.

We are almost half way to our first milestone!  $800 by May 7th!  WE CAN DO IT!

In Hope and Empowerment,



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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