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Red Hook Initiative

Cause Area

  • Crisis Support
  • Education & Literacy
  • Employment
  • Health & Medicine


767 HICKS STBROOKLYN, NY 11231 United States

Organization Information

Mission Statement

RHI believes that social change to overcome systemic inequities begins with empowered youth. In partnership with community adults, we nurture young people in Red Hook to be inspired, resilient, and healthy, and to envision themselves as co-creators of their lives, community and society.

We envision a Red Hook where all young people can pursue their dreams and grow into independent adults who contribute to their families and community.


RHI serves 50 high school members through our Youth Leader program, the second stage of our Empowerment Pipeline. This is a four-year program that is designed to train teenagers in basic employment and leadership skills, while supporting their holistic development. Within this program, young people not only gain their own skills and knowledge, they also begin to teach their peers and share their knowledge and skills to improve their own community.

Youth spend one year focused on each of these program areas:

Peer Health Educators: training focuses on reproductive health education including: sex and sexuality, menstruation, sexually transmitted infections, HIV, sexual decision making, and counseling techniques. Youth Leaders then use this knowledge to teach workshops to young people in Red Hook. PHEs escort peers to medical appointments and provide one-on-one counseling.

Peer Counselors: training focuses on social and emotional health issues including: active listening, conflict resolution, gangs, depression, suicide, drugs and alcohol, sexual decision making, sexual identity, rape and sexual assault, and counseling skills. Upon completion, Youth Leaders create workshops for Red Hook teens that discuss these issues in a way that is meaningful to them. Peer Counselors can also provide basic screening and support for RHI participants, under the guidance of a social worker.

Radio Interns: training focuses on using media to identify and discuss community issues. RHI Radio, is a youth-run, on-line radio station. Young people learn the history of radio, develop technical skills, and learn how to conduct interviews. They then use these skills to create their own radio programs. This project gives a voice for young people to express and share their ideas and views of the issues that impact their lives.

Math & Science Scholars: training focuses on learning math and science concepts through hands-on learning. Youth leaders then develop lessons and activities to teach these concepts to younger members during the middle school after school program and through community science events.

RHI Ambassadors: provides individual support to each young person to ensure they are on track to graduate and create their own plan for life after high school. Participants also practice public speaking and exercising their leadership through self-initiated projects that focus on creating positive community change.

All enrolled high school members receive the following: social work screening, behavioral health screening, academic screening, college readiness programming, career exposure programming, resume preparation and referrals for employment/ internships, and social justice activities.

Additional services offered for high school age youth participants:

  • Counseling
  • SAT Prep Classes
  • Tutoring
  • Educational Advocacy
  • Reproductive health counseling and HIV testing
  • Job development services

Young Adult

RHI serves 65 young adult members during the final stage of our Empowerment Pipeline. The services and programs offered support young adults to transition to life as an independent adult progressing on a self-determined path.

RHI College Scholars: supports alumni who are working toward a two or four year college degree. Members are supported with financial aid applications, scholarship opportunities, and form a strong network of emotional support to succeed at the college level.

Young Chef Program: This 10-week training program provides members the opportunity to gain basic culinary arts skills to qualify for employment in the food and restaurant industry. Additionally, members improve their overall health by increasing their knowledge of health and nutrition through healthy food choices. Training is offered by "guest chefs" from local restaurants.

Crews: small peer groups are used to create a supportive environment for young adults working toward a common goal like a completing a GED, finding a job, parenting, or stress reduction.

Additional services offered for young adult participants:

  • Counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Educational Advocacy, including college support services
  • Reproductive health counseling and HIV testing
  • Job development services


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