“When I was on the streets I was always trying to take from other people. As a volunteer helping feed the homeless, I learned how I could give, rather than take from people in need.” ~ Alexis, Bonnie Brae Resident
At Bonnie Brae, we believe sports and recreation represent valuable learning opportunities. We give our residents the opportunity to discover new interests and cultivate new strengths, and our Recreational Staff works tirelessly to create activities and opportunities to foster this growth. By participating on a team, taking a vacation, or competing in a tournament, students take risks, learn coping strategies and interpersonal skills, gain confidence and experience personal sacrifice – all while having fun. Some of the activities our boys participate include:
- Bonnie Brae Ambassadors: feeding the homeless with Bridges Outreach; providing water for participants of the Tunnels to Towers run; and assisting at many other community events including: Miles for Matheny School; Tour de Cure for the American Diabetes Association; Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen; and the Hillside Food Bank.
- Knights Drummers: founded in 2006 by a boy from Newark named Nate, and with the assistance of staff member, Willie Randolph, the Bonnie Brae Knights Drum Corps has played on: at community events and parades; on-campus events; and even at Barack Obama’s 2009 Inaugural Parade in Washington DC.
- Sports: Our boys compete on-campus in intramural sports as well as inter-scholastically in: basketball; softball; tennis; track; volleyball; flag football; ultimate Frisbee; and more.
- Games: The winter months are famous for on-campus gaming tournaments such as Chess, Cards or Taboo.
- Musical Expression: From Piano, to Poetry to Guitar to Rap, if our guys have an interest, our Staff try to find a means to clitivate it, bringing in experts and volunteers, where appropriate to assist and educate.
- Photography: Creative expression can take on many forms, and photography is one that has been cultivated. Our guys learn the basics of handling and caring for a camera, while experimenting on the the canvas that is our campus.
- Community Service: Paramount to our program is teaching our young people to give back to the communities where they live and work in a positive and meaningful way. Through our Recreation, Education and Residential Programs, our guys have: cleaned up beaches; helped build sustainable gardens; volunteered at nursing homes; sung at local churches; planted and reaped harvests with America’s Grow-A-Row; and helped stock the local food pantries.