Participatory Budgeting

Last week Me ( Jalis ) Alden and Jesus attended a participatory budgeting meeting at the Red hook Initiative during which we got to experience first hand how participatory budgeting works.

Participatory budgeting is a different way to manage public money, and to get people involved with government. It is a democracy in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget.


RHI youth engaging in conversation with speaker

You can join too by becoming a delegate were you are a big part in the decision making process. You can also volunteer to help out in different ways, if you want to do any of these you can go to the site click participate and find out how you can make a difference in your community.

We split into groups and listened to other opinions and voiced which ones were most useful. Many groups wanted arcades and movie theatres but our group wanted things that could actually affect the community in the long run like an elevator at smith and 9th, and programs that can help young adults live on there own.

Digital Stewards Take on Philadelphia

On October 24, 2014 the Digital Stewards team headed to Philadelphia for Rise Conference.

First stop, we got there we took in some sights then made our way to the Jewish American Museum. After an early morning trek without breakfast, our 4 brave young adults mentally prepared to represent Digital Stewards, everyone ate the breakfast placed in the lounge.


After everyone was full and ready we headed into the conference room were we listened to people from different organizations give advice on entrepreneurship.


After everyone headed to eat lunch and made last minute preparations to present.

Tony, Rob, Alden, Abdussabur and Jalis stepped on stage to tell the Digital Steward story.

[jaebi add the story line]

Following the conference, and a job well done, the team earned some free time to explore the city of brotherly love. We made our way to a nice populated store area were we found a place called Campos to taste a famous Philly cheese steaks, I myself had a pizza steak and cheese (it was heaven).

Check out some highlight from the presentation in the videos below!


Video from Digital Stewards on Vimeo.

IMG 0684 from Digital Stewards on Vimeo.

The Feast Fest 2014

IMG_5549The Digital Stewards attended an event known as The Feast Hackathon. At this event, Tech savvy people from all over come together to brainstorm and prototype their ideas to help Brooklyn prepare for natural disasters.The hackathon conference kicked off friday October 10th 2014 at Pioneer Works in the red hook section of brooklyn.

The Conference started with wise words of inspiration from various founders and co founders such as
Dustin Yellin, Founder of Pioneer Works
Jerri Chou, Founder of The Feast
Jim Rutt, Trustee at Santa Fe Institute
Harley K. Dubois, Co-Founder of Burning Man
Ben Huh, Founder and CEO of Cheezburger
Speaking on how we learn, grow, and adapt to do meaningful work on the day to day basis.
Which then led to morning talks that surrounding the ideas of knowing yourself and working with others to bring your ideas to life. The conference also covered a lot of areas such as embracing the constantly changing future, intimacy in relationships by TED superstar Esther Perel, Co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Ben Cohen, and even some activities for the attendees to take part in.

The first activity required everyone to take a seat. On each chair was a bag with a word and a date on it. Attendees were asked to walk around the space and try to make a sentence using their words and others. This also helped people talk and get to know one another as it often sparked conversation with others and I. After making sentences, Attendees were asked to line up around the room by the order of the dates printed on each bag. when everyone was in place, the words turned out to craft a poem constructed by “The Haiku Guys”.

That afternoon sparked conversations on the body and the mind connection with talks from Jonathan Ford, Founding Partner and CCO of Pearlfish on the evolving of the human body and using the latest research to optimize the human body health in the future. Friday’s event ended with a few key take aways

1.”To uphold and improve their independent livelihoods, freelancers must work together to redefine how our society views work.”

2.”Strong mind-body connections will empower us to enact meaningful change now and in the future.”

While there, the Stewards demonstrated these key values by displaying a rapid prototype for backup communication in a crisis called “NAB Alert”. This system would essentially provide communication for a neighborhood when power and internet are down. The device would send out alerts and updates on where to get food and supplies.

There was also ideas of a NAB Alert app that could turn your smartphone into a NAB Alert device. This would mean that your phone would also broadcast the alerts to others nearby. The NAB Alert would use Bluetooth Technology to send the updates out to residents. The existing nodes in the “Red Hook Wifi” mesh network would be upgraded to be able to use IMG_0906Bluetooth and send the alerts to nearby devices.

“A basic schematic of NAB Alert.”

Digital Stewards Help NYC Rise

RISE_073_blog565Rise NYC is a challenge that seeks proposals for projects that help small businesses prepare for future storms, sea level rise, and other effects of climate change by using new technologies to enhance the resiliency of their building systems, energy infrastructure and telecommunication networks.

Proposed technologies should improve flood-resistance or -resilience, enable systems to fail gracefully, expedite recovery, or support the continuation of services during a storm or other similar event. RISE : NYC is looking for technologies that have the greatest potential to improve resiliency and catalyze future private investment and wide-scale adoption across the five boroughs.


Digital Stewards of the Red Hook WIFI network were picked as a finalist in the competition. RHI believes that social change to overcome systemic inequities begin 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 aim to expand our WIFI to small businesses that were affected by hurricane sandy. Digital Stewards will work with partners to install backup solar energy to their gateway nodes. To add on we want to make a cost effective model that could be replicated in other NYC communities, and in the event of a power outage these small businesses will be able to communicate and get real-time updates.

The Digital Stewards are already responsible for the installation, maintenance and promotion of the community WIFI network and increasing digital literacy in Red Hook.We are proud that as we gain skills for a career in technology, we are also working to benefit the community we live in.We are excited to expand our network and the opportunities it is creating for the residents of Red Hook.


This was one of the best experience I have been a part of, it was a fun and to network to get more partners not to mention the new and different types of food I tried and loved. The Finalists showcased their technologies and solutions to the public at Technology Demo Night on October 7, 2014.

Nearly 300 attendees came to explore finalists’ projects and learn about innovative resiliency technologies and approaches to strengthening the communities and small businesses that were impacted by Hurricane Sandy. It’s fun to see businesses and organizations focused on making the next disaster easier for all.

Digital Boot Camp 2014


(From Left) Kerry Landgarten, Marc Marrero, and Jaebi Bussey directing a set.


On July 14th, 2014, the Digital Stewards began a program called “Digital Boot Camp”. At this four week “Boot Camp”, The Digital Stewards and others began learning film and media production skills, such as how to properly use a camera, set up lights for a desired look, set up sound equipment, and directing a set.



Jon Mayer, one of the facilitators of Boot Camp, Helping Hassan Stevens set up lighting equipment.


For the first week of Digital Boot Camp, the Digital Stewards were tasked with taking pictures while focusing on certain objects, Setting up the cameras exposure correctly, and using the “Rule of Thirds”. An example of “The Rule of Thirds” is when the subject of your photo is off the the left or the right of your shot, or on the “left third” or “right third” of the screen. An example can be seen below:




During the second week of Digital Boot Camp, the Stewards were tasked with making a “Silent Film”. The Stewards began writing a storyboard for their films and began filming as soon as they could. After getting all of their shots, they returned and began editing their films. When all groups finished their pieces, all of them were shown to the entire group.

The third week of Digital Boot Camp was dedicated to finding facilities that were willing to allow the Stewards to create a sort of commercial for them. The facilities included the Miccio Center, the distillery Widow Jane, South Brooklyn Community High School, and Flickinger Glassworks. This project was going to become their “Final Project” and the key to completing the boot camp. As soon as the Stewards were assigned their subjects, they began planning and shooting their commercial for their respective facility. This work also carried over to the fourth and final week of Digital Boot Camp.


Kerry Landgarten being interviewed for the South Brooklyn Community High School commercial.

For the final day of Boot Camp, the Stewards held a showing of their final projects. All participants of the boot camp as well as some staff of Red Hook Initiative and South Brooklyn Community High School, and even some friends and family came to see what everyone accomplished over the past four weeks. Links to their silent films and commercials can be found below for your viewing.


Silent Films:


(Lottery Ticket)

(Don’t Stop)




(Miccio Community Center)

(Cacao Prieto/Widow Jane)

(Flinkinger Glass Works)

(South Brooklyn Community High School)



The Participants of Digital Boot Camp 2014.