Harlem’s Frank White Garden a lesson in community, change for teens

A community garden in Harlem is helping young adults become an element of environmental change. 

In the concrete jungle of New York City, the environment is dominated by skyscrapers, but look harder, and among them are small community gardens, such as the Frank White Memorial Garden. Part of the Brotherhood Sister Sol organization, known as BroSis, the garden teaches young adults how to grow vegetables and tend to the garden, but more importantly, the lessons are about helping the environment and their community.

BroSis is an organization dedicated to assisting teens on their path to adulthood through academic, social, and political comprehension. 

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As caretakers for the city’s Frank White Memorial Garden, BroSis offers six programs including an environmental program that teaches Harlem teens about environmental recreation and sustainability.

Gabriel Maldonado, environmental program facilitator of The Brotherhood Sister Sol works in the greenhouse of the organization's Frank White Memorial Garden in West Harlem Aug. 13, 2021.

Among them is Satnam Chaudhary,16, who has been with BroSis for almost four years. While joining the organization on community projects and working on the Frank White Memorial Garden, he has learned the basics of urban gardening.

“I come back for the sense of the community that’s here, the sense of bonding,” said Satnam. “It’s a learning experience. You learn how to do all these different tasks. For example, in the greenhouse and (working with) my facilitator who is helping me and teaching me how to rebuild the house itself.”