South Bronx residents don’t have to travel to Manhattan to get a glimpse of a beautiful tree: They have one right in their community thanks to the efforts of NYCHA’s South Bronx Youth Leadership Council (SBYLC) and South Bronx Senior Champions.
On December 10, residents of all ages joined to decorate and light the “Unity Tree,” a community Christmas tree. This intergenerational event brought together community members of all ages and featured caroling, turkey donations, and a special visit from Santa.
Last year, this holiday tradition was revived by the SBYLC after a few seniors told its members about a tree that was once decorated as an annual community project and had become a symbol of unity. The SBYLC wanted to host a neighborhood project that would bring together people of all ages to build community and beautify the neighborhood.
In addition to the SBYLC and South Bronx Senior Champions, residents from Betances Houses, NYCHA Bronx developments, members of the BronxWorks Betances Community Center, and NYCHA staff attended the event.
The SBYLC is one of NYCHA’s 10 Youth Leadership Councils across the city, which bring together residents ages 14 to 21 to address issues in their communities while building leadership skills. The SBYLC works with NYCHA’s Public Safety Advisory Committee on youth outreach and with community members to help resolve neighborhood issues one project at a time. South Bronx Senior Champions are part of NYCHA’s new program for older adult residents to volunteer in their communities to actively engage fellow seniors.