The Brooklyn Swag Shop is an online store that sells clothing and accessories that reference iconic Brooklyn designs, but its mission goes beyond selling Brooklyn memorabilia and reaches for the lofty goal of changing the lives of young Brooklynites.
Working in tandem with non-profit group the Fund for Public Schools, the Swag Shop donates 10% of its profits toward different projects that will improve the lives of NYC public school children. The project that launched today is focused on raising money for a playground in Brooklyn's PS 4, a school which serves special needs children, including those with severe disabilities.
The founder of the Swag Shop, Liani Greaves, has strong roots in Brooklyn and believes in the kind of grassroots fundraising that can make a huge difference on projects of this scale. Greaves first found out about the school's need for a playground through Anselma Ferguson, an assistant principal at the school, who told Greaves about the challenges inherent in raising funds for school projects like the playground.
Greaves told us that she was "immediately convinced that this was a problem we could solve with grassroots fundraising. I believe deeply in community. Neighbors looking out for neighbors, that's the reality of the Brooklyn I was born and raised with."
Greaves believes that "the most significant impact will be the transformed playground. A green, beautiful playground where before there was nothing. The bottom line is, once you see where these children are playing, and you know the challenges many of them are already facing, once you know, it's one of those things that can't be unseen or unknown. Those children belong to us...and they ought to have a beautiful, proper place to play. The wonderful part of it all is, we can make it happen. We can impact and significantly change their reality. With small donations, $20 here, $50 there, we are going to transform that space and impact the lives of the students at P4K for years to come. It's huge."
It's a truly powerful thing to see the difference that a little community organizing can make at a level as fundamentally important as local schools. We're hopeful that Greaves, the Swag Shop, and the Fund for Public Schools can make a huge difference in the lives of the students at PS 4 and continue to effect change in other schools going forward.
Donations can be made here: Fund for Public Schools
Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen