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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, May 23, 2022
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Rotary Corps to Support My Brother’s Workshop

With the start of the territory’s first Rotary Community Corps, members and graduates of My Brother’s Workshop will be encouraged and trained in the finer points of community service, and will eventually be able to teach their friends to do the same.

In a recent meeting, members of the Rotary Club of St. Thomas Sunrise and My Brother’s Workshop began to lay out the ground rules for the program, which was proposed a few months ago by Rotarian Shaun Pennington. My Brother’s Workshop, a vocational program for at-risk young men run out of the St. Thomas Reformed Church by retired mechanical engineer Scott Bradley, has long been a partner with the local Rotary, and the two groups have been collaborating on the idea since last year.

According to the proposal, a Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is defined as a team of non-Rotarian men and women that are committed to their community’s long-term development and self-sufficiency. Pennington explained during the meeting that the new RCC would be sponsored by Rotary Sunrise, which would work with the members of My Brother’s Workshop, provide them with additional professional and life skill development opportunities, and help them develop over time into community leadership roles.

Pennington’s proposal uses a three-pronged approach, which also includes helping My Brother’s Workshop members secure internships or jobs, advance learning opportunities and give underlying support for essential services where needed.

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“Individuals and organizations within the community with resources, expertise and formal authority will be engaged to offer MBW associates work opportunities, training and guidance to meet vocational and entrepreneurial goals,” the proposal said.

Pennington said that government agencies such as the Labor, Human Services and Police departments have already been engaged. A variety of community members ranging from attorneys to activists were also present at Rotary’s recent meeting and ready to help out.

The final step of the plan is involving My Brother’s Workshop members and graduates of the program in conflict resolution training and other development workshops that could lead to them becoming peer counselors. Three of My Brother’s Workshop’s current members have already taken and passed a test to mentor peer s, according to Bradley.

“Through this program, the Rotarians will help groom our guys, teach them how to be community leaders and mentor them,” Bradley said. “This is empowering us to do more with the boys and helping us get more funding and equipment for what we do. What we’re really adding is another avenue for the boys to have an impact on their community.”

Through My Brother’s Workshop, Bradley instills the importance of community service and involves the young men in his program in regular activities, such as fixing up playgrounds, repairing community buildings and helping families.

“From that foundation, the next step for the boys is to be more organized about giving back to the community,” Bradley said, “and that is what the RCC will do. They are learning how to be Rotarians that can be leaders in the community.”

The original timeline for getting the first RCC going and ready to meet Rotary International’s guidelines was two years, but Pennington said that could well be revised to a year or less, based on the amount of enthusiasm, encouragement and commitment received from the community .

“It is a self-sustaining program,” Pennington told members and graduates of My Brother’s Workshop. “When people begin to come together, we’re going to try to give you whatever support you need to be self-supporting and to go out in your own communities and help.”

“I think there is enough of a structure within Rotary and My Brother’s Workshop, and some of the other community agencies to all get involved in this major effort,” she said. “It is an exciting prospect to take what you’ve learned and give back to your friends and others in the community.”

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With the start of the territory’s first Rotary Community Corps, members and graduates of My Brother’s Workshop will be encouraged and trained in the finer points of community service, and will eventually be able to teach their friends to do the same.

In a recent meeting, members of the Rotary Club of St. Thomas Sunrise and My Brother’s Workshop began to lay out the ground rules for the program, which was proposed a few months ago by Rotarian Shaun Pennington. My Brother’s Workshop, a vocational program for at-risk young men run out of the St. Thomas Reformed Church by retired mechanical engineer Scott Bradley, has long been a partner with the local Rotary, and the two groups have been collaborating on the idea since last year.

According to the proposal, a Rotary Community Corps (RCC) is defined as a team of non-Rotarian men and women that are committed to their community’s long-term development and self-sufficiency. Pennington explained during the meeting that the new RCC would be sponsored by Rotary Sunrise, which would work with the members of My Brother’s Workshop, provide them with additional professional and life skill development opportunities, and help them develop over time into community leadership roles.

Pennington’s proposal uses a three-pronged approach, which also includes helping My Brother’s Workshop members secure internships or jobs, advance learning opportunities and give underlying support for essential services where needed.

“Individuals and organizations within the community with resources, expertise and formal authority will be engaged to offer MBW associates work opportunities, training and guidance to meet vocational and entrepreneurial goals,” the proposal said.

Pennington said that government agencies such as the Labor, Human Services and Police departments have already been engaged. A variety of community members ranging from attorneys to activists were also present at Rotary’s recent meeting and ready to help out.

The final step of the plan is involving My Brother’s Workshop members and graduates of the program in conflict resolution training and other development workshops that could lead to them becoming peer counselors. Three of My Brother’s Workshop’s current members have already taken and passed a test to mentor peer s, according to Bradley.

“Through this program, the Rotarians will help groom our guys, teach them how to be community leaders and mentor them,” Bradley said. “This is empowering us to do more with the boys and helping us get more funding and equipment for what we do. What we’re really adding is another avenue for the boys to have an impact on their community.”

Through My Brother’s Workshop, Bradley instills the importance of community service and involves the young men in his program in regular activities, such as fixing up playgrounds, repairing community buildings and helping families.

“From that foundation, the next step for the boys is to be more organized about giving back to the community,” Bradley said, “and that is what the RCC will do. They are learning how to be Rotarians that can be leaders in the community.”

The original timeline for getting the first RCC going and ready to meet Rotary International’s guidelines was two years, but Pennington said that could well be revised to a year or less, based on the amount of enthusiasm, encouragement and commitment received from the community .

“It is a self-sustaining program,” Pennington told members and graduates of My Brother’s Workshop. “When people begin to come together, we’re going to try to give you whatever support you need to be self-supporting and to go out in your own communities and help.”

“I think there is enough of a structure within Rotary and My Brother’s Workshop, and some of the other community agencies to all get involved in this major effort,” she said. “It is an exciting prospect to take what you’ve learned and give back to your friends and others in the community.”