Charity & Grassroots in Midwood

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1222 Avenue M
Brooklyn,
NY
US

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

After years of budget cuts weakened the once-thriving natural environment of Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Alliance banded together to restore, renew, and pique public awareness of the park's important role in the community. The Alliance raises almost $9 million a year for its restoration projects and has been instrumental in restoring such cultural cornerstones as the 1912 Carousel, the Lefferts Historic House, and the nearly 150 acres of woodlands in the park's ravine, which is Brooklyn's only remaining forest that hasn't been gentrified by witches.

95 Prospect Park West
Brooklyn,
NY
US

For more than 15 years, the stain shirkers and blot extinguishers at Laundry.bz have saved Brooklynites from being avalanched in dirty duds. The company’s lightning-fast service helps clothes-havers overcome the time constraints created by their hectic lifestyles and tedious commutes, ungriming their garments so they don’t have to wear the same barbecue-covered trousers to each week’s rib-slinging competition. Simply hand over your bedraggled accouterments at your doorstep, then wait for Laundry.bz’s talented dirt demolishers to bring them back looking mannequin fresh. Next-day service is the standard ($0.90 a pound), but for folks down to the last set of skivvies, same-day service is also available ($1 a pound). Unlike cleaners who offer extraneous services, such as wedding-dress tie-dying and personal training for pants, the team at Laundry.bz focuses solely on the art, science, and metaphysics of laundry, tackling not only clothes but also blankets ($7 each), comforters ($10 each), and other specialty items.

237 7th 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