O’Connell On-Site Manager Ray Hall, and his brother Earl, founded Red Hook Rise in 1994 with the goal of creating safer streets for kids in the Red Hook houses. The brothers grew up in NYCHA Housing, and count many of the neighborhood parents as friends. Red Hook Rise is not just a hobby for them — it’s personal.
Red Hook Rise enjoys office space in our 499 Van Brunt Street building (a.k.a. the Beard and Robinson Stores), and we’ve been happy to be a part of the all-volunteer youth development organization’s 20-year struggle to bring a brighter future to Red Hook kids.
As in any neighborhood, too many kids here are distracted by the unsavory side of street life. The Hall brothers’ programs seek to provide enticing alternatives, thereby helping Red Hook’s next generation to achieve their dreams.
Their mission is “to provide sports, educational and physical fitness programs that empower and educate youth. These programs have helped young people recognize their abilities and talents while igniting their self-esteem. The organization intends to provide them with the tools, resources and opportunities necessary for growth and prosperity. We seek to create the kinds of opportunities for Red Hook’s young people that more fortunate children may take for granted.”
For example, Red Hook Rise’s “Books and Basketball” program works with school-age kids to promote literacy. (“Read a line to educate your mind,” says Ray Hall.) Before they’re allowed to play ball, the kids are asked to read a paragraph out loud from a book of their choice. The message which the Hall brothers send is that the only guarantee in life is an education. The program has gathered the attention of city leaders and elected officials, and has received accolades from Mayors Dinkins and Bloomberg.
The Halls also run a Thanksgiving turkey drive for needy families who otherwise would have to go without.
Red Hook Rise accepts donations, as a non profit 501(c)3 tax-exempt charitable organization. If you’ve got a little extra, why not share your good fortune with those who don’t? That’s what we believe at The O’Connell Organization, and we’re proud to support Red Hook Rise and the entire non-profit family housed at our properties on the Red Hook waterfront.