Passion and care for the young, especially young boys, are two things that led Sharon Rose to where she is today. New Dimension in Care Early Intervention is an organization she started in the 1990’s across from PS 213 in Brooklyn. There, Rose watched as little children were dropped off by their parents morning after morning from as early 6:30 a.m.
Rose, a mother herself concerned about the children’s safety along with her initiative and drive to care for families and children, led her to another decision; this time she would extend the hours of her program at New Dimension in Care Early Intervention for Children. She would accommodate the parents of these children by providing the services to keep the children before and after school hours until the parents were able to get to them. Having established this new program in her business, Rose sought funding from the Office of Family and Children Services and an amount of the funding was provided to her organization to assist her with the children’s program.
This sets the stage for what was to follow and what is still happening over 25 years later. The children would then have a warm place to go to each morning before the school is open at 8:00 a.m. It was also a safe place to return at the close of the school day and remain housed until 6:30 p.m. when their parents would pick them up. Rose reflected on the numerous times she had to go across to the school while school was in session as some of the children got themselves in trouble. The parents would call on her after the school contacted them and Rose would be the person mediating with the school on behalf of the parents. She had limited funding, but she developed a safety net for the mom’s program to help the families. Additionally, the work was meaningful and rewarding for the young children who came to her. In the midst of taking care of others, Rose also had a young family herself to take care of.
During Summer 2005, Sharon Rose’s young son, Christopher Rose was gunned down in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and died in the arms of his friend on the street. This pivots an unexpected shift and uneventful twist of fate and left an indelible mark on the heart of Rose and her family. About 16 years later after the death of Christopher, Rose defied the odds and continued to care, and remained passionate about helping boys and families.
“Here I am looking out for other kids and my son got snatched up,” she wondered. Today she operates as the executive director of the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign, Inc. with two locations in the East New York and Flatbush in Brooklyn. The core service for this program is to provide safety for children and families. Rose is dedicated to managing and supporting the needs of the children. “Youth… it’s like a plant, if you plant it in a bad environment, it is not good it will die,” she reflected.
The Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign is about building the lives of the mothers and their children. The organization receives donations from state and city agencies in New York as well as other organizations, in order to continue to be a support tool for the families who are in need of the help. “Our outreach is very grassroot — local organizations, community events, hands-on and just been supportive to each other,” she added.
Sharon Rose continues with her drive and innate skills to develop the lives of families and a mental health awareness program is now included into her program at the Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign Inc. The Executive Director notes that although the strategies have changed based on time, the passion and purposes are still the same to engage the young people in skills that will enhance their abilities. “There is a need for more leadership and training institutions to protect the young boys from the streets,” Rose added. Plans are also afoot in trying to seek funding and revive the Science, Technology, Engineer, and Mathematics (STEM) program the organization once ran. “This is to empower the next generation of scientists,” Rose commented. During the conversation, Rose reflected on the effectiveness of the STEM program when it existed at the center and how impressed parents were with the performances seen in their sons who were participants in the program.
The Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign, Inc. will continue the Mommy’s Program distributing all kinds of goods and services for pregnant women and mothers with infant children. The youth programs will remain viable and effective as the young people need to be positively engaged Sharon Rose commented. The Christopher Rose Community Empowerment Campaign continues to serve and does its outreach hoping that more youth (males in particular) will embrace the programs the organization has been offering to them for several years. The strategies have changed but the care and the purpose remain strong, improving the lives of families and youths in the communities wth one location in East New York and the other in Flatbush.
Rose, a Jamaican, has never seen herself only in that category marginalizing her character only in one way. Instead, she went beyond as someone who can always help to improve the lives of families and children especially focusing on how a young man’s life can improve to help make him a greater asset to his community.