Charity & Grassroots in Brighton Beach

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Since 1952, this nonsectarian Jewish community center has entertained, strengthened, and educated community members with enriching programs and recreational services. Around 780 people a day lift weights, splash in the pool, or attend book readings. Children and teens absorb knowledge about scholastics, cooking, crafts, and drama during after-school programs and summer camps, while adults talk literature in book clubs, stretch out during yoga sessions, or unwind by meditating in a room filled with stacks of already-completed taxes. Seniors, meanwhile, can play a round of billiards or backgammon in a social club, learn basic computer skills, or take free, arthritis-friendly aerobics classes. The dedicated staff make a point of welcoming all community members by speaking Russian, Hebrew, Chinese, Spanish, and Upper East Side.

3495 Nostrand Ave
Brooklyn,
NY
US

The instructors of Brooklyn Fitness & Swimming are at home on almost any terrain—land, water, and the air between a court and a basketball hoop. They channel this versatility while coaching students of all ages in the fundamentals of fitness. Children can learn to swim at the Sportspark swimming pool, or improve their athletic performance during sports training. Sessions for adults range from boot camps led by ex-military personnel to interval training on the beach, as well as private, custom workouts. Regardless of their specialty, teachers back up their expertise with certifications and backgrounds in exercise-related fields.

10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn,
NY
US

Puppetry Arts organizes creative-arts programming that combines the art of puppetry with cultural exploration. Puppetry Arts reaches out to a variety of audiences with its community and educational programs, youth-empowerment activities, and professional theater program. In recent years, it has fueled new musical productions including Anthropomorphic, which examines the imposition of social standards on youth, and expanded its creative scope by incorporating video and animatronic puppets into its repertoire. Puppetry Arts goes into schools to help improve literacy and oral-language skills through puppetry and mask activities, as well as a youth-empowerment program that teaches young people how to express themselves artistically. The organization also provides professional theater, which aims to help emerging artists reach out to new audiences with thoughtful material.

339 2nd St
Brooklyn,
NY
US

One of the SLI's next projects will adorn the surfaces of the Community League of the Heights headquarters in the Washington Heights neighborhood. A team of two professionals and 15–20 youth artists will design the mural with the goal of stimulating dialogue on violence and gun control. While designing the mural, the young artistes involved will earn a stipend and gain valuable experience in artistic development, public presentations, collaborating with their peers, and realizing a complex project, simultaneously sparking important conversations in their neighborhood.

540 President St
Brooklyn,
NY
US

Thinking of the city rarely calls images of fog-ringed mountains and wolf-filled forests to mind, but Discover Outdoors—formerly known as Outdoor Bound—turns these scenes into reality. Owner, avid outdoorsman, and eight-time marathon runner Kirk Reynolds makes sure of it. He and a staff of experts—each a licensed trail guide and Wilderness First Responder or Wilderness EMT—temper the stress of city living with day trips to nearby natural enclaves and weekend camping excursions. The getaways thrill with activities such as hiking, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and horseback riding.

International trips, meanwhile, quench a thirst for life-defining adventures beyond trips to the grocery store during peak Saturday hours. Among them: hikes up famed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, treks to Machu Picchu in Peru, and jaunts through the Canadian Rockies. Some of the journeys even grant travelers the opportunity to fundraise for a worthy cause as they explore.

139 Flatbush Ave
Brooklyn,
NY
US

Like many other only children, Saran longed for a little brother or sister when she was growing up. She never got a sibling, but when she was 15, her mother did surprise her with a dog, Kiki. Kiki quickly became the sibling Saran never had, and even when she left her native country of Guyana to attend college in Florida, she never forgot the bond she'd built with her dog. Saran went on to earn an MBA, later ditching her corporate career to start her own business?a pet grooming and boarding facility named in honor of her now late canine companion.

Kiki's Pet Spa & Boutique hasn't just been a comfort to Saran's animal-loving spirit, but also to other pet owners dealing with socially or physically challenged pets. That's because the compassionate staff isn't simply grooming and minding animals. During boarding and daycare sessions, they're encouraging the pets' social development and helping both owners and pets adapt to the setbacks of injuries or degenerative conditions. Staffers can also come to your home for dog walking and cat visits, and they can arrange photo shoots or portrait sittings for when your animal is having a good fur day.

239 Dekalb Ave
Brooklyn,
NY
US