Red Hook 11-year-olds make a difference after pushing lawmakers to fix bridge

Monica Makes It Happen

Red Hook students pushed their local officials to renovate a bridge near their school — and it worked.

Some Brooklyn students took their social studies assignment to a whole new level, pushing city and state lawmakers to finally fix a pedestrian bridge that needed repairs.

It was a class assignment given to Fifth-graders at P.S. 676 last year: see a problem in your neighborhood and advocate to fix it.

They may only be only 11 years old, but their principal said they are community activists creating real change in their neighborhood.

“Three million dollars awarded to upgrading the bridge that’s amazing,” said Principal Priscilla Figueroa.

After receiving their assignment, the kids chose to fix the Hamilton Avenue Pedestrian Bridge just a few blocks away from their school.

It connects Carroll Gardens and Red Hook. The bridge was falling apart and unsafe.

For months, these students used their free time and lunch time created a model of the bridge with a kids architecture building set and wrote letters to their elected officials, from the governor to former Assemblymember Félix Ortiz. And it worked.

The students got a commitment from the state department of transportation to secure the funding and finally fix the bridge; construction starts this month.

“The political power of these kids. It’s extreme power. We are teaching them to be leaders,” said Figueroa.

The DOT agreed.

“We applaud the students of P.S. 676 for their determined advocacy and civic engagement. After reviewing their concerns about the Hamilton Avenue pedestrian bridge, NYSDOT took immediate steps to enhance safety,” said Diane Park, a spokesperson for NYS DOT.

Their principal said their next project  is renovating the green space at the foot of the bridge. PIX11 will keep you posted on their progress.

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