This post is the third in a series leading up to Dance Theatre Etcetera’s Safe Harbor Benefit. In each post we will profile one of the awardees of this year’s DTE Community & Culture Awards. Today we profile Raymond Hall*.
After working for Honeywell International for over a decade, Raymond Hall went to work for Pier 41 Associates in his hometown of Red Hook, Brooklyn. In 1994, Ray and his brother Earl- unhappy with the crime and overall condition of their neighborhood – organized a touch-football league at Coffey Park to engage teens that were not involved in productive after-school activities.
This was the beginning of their organization, Red Hook Rise. A few years later, in order to reach more youth in the area, Ray and Earl organized a basketball league at Coffey Park. Next, Red Hook Rise started the literacy program “Read a Line to Educate Your Mind,” where participants received toys and other gifts during the holiday season as a reward for reading.
Having already made a large impact on local teens, the group set its sights on younger children, from ages 8 to 11, and started the program “Books and Basketball.” They set up a reading area near the basketball courts- young athletes were not permitted to play until they had spent time reading – either to themselves or by listening to one of the guest readers invited in from the community. The program is so popular that Borough President Marty Markowitz has stopped by more than once to speak with the children about the importance of reading.
Ray describes his organization’s purpose as meeting whatever needs arise in the community, be it through his annual turkey drive for local families or his extensive work helping with job placement for people in the neighborhood.
For his dedication to the Red Hook community and his commitment to addressing local problems through outreach to local youth, we are happy to recognize Raymond Hall as a recipient of the 2008 Dance Theatre Etcteera Community & Culture Awards.
*portions of this biography were borrowed from a profile done by Partnership for Parks