We are thrilled to announce that Kate Selengia has joined us as BloomAgainBklyn’s first executive director. Kate brings over 13 years of nonprofit experience to BloomAgain, having served most recently as executive director of Momentum Wheels for Humanity, a global organization promoting inclusion for people with disabilities through access to assistive technology and physical rehabilitation services.
Kate had been with Momentum Wheels for Humanity for over 12 years, starting as a program manager and rising to executive director in 2020. She helped oversee Momentum Wheels’ growth from a $3 million to a $10 million organization with expanded programs and infrastructure serving low- and middle-income countries including Ukraine, Uganda, Pakistan, El Salvador, and many others all over the world. A California native, Kate has been a resident of Brooklyn for the last eight years living in Bedford-Stuyvesant with her husband and their 7-year-old daughter, Paloma. She is a graduate of NYU and has a Master of Science degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Kate joins BloomAgain at an important juncture in our nine-year history, as our mission to reduce isolation and loneliness among vulnerable populations has become even more critical in these challenging times. This year the U.S. Surgeon General declared loneliness a public health crisis and has recommended solutions including scaling community programs like BloomAgainBklyn’s, which connects individuals and communities through the therapeutic power of upcycled flowers.
The timeliness in addressing increased loneliness and isolation is why BloomAgain has more than doubled in size over the last two years, now serving over 10,000 older adults, trauma and homeless survivors, immigrants, at-risk youth, and others throughout Brooklyn and other boroughs. Our work has been increasingly recognized by local and national media including The New York Times, USA TODAY, Crain’s New York Business, New York Daily News; and local News Channels 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, and 11; as well as international news outlets such as NHK WORLD-JAPAN (Japanese Broadcasting Corporation).
Kate joins an amazing team of talented individuals and volunteers who have helped build BloomAgain into what it is today. BloomAgain’s outstanding staff includes AJ Jonakait, our director of operations; Sally Demo, director of outreach; Elaine Diaz, community workshop manager, and Emily Hsiao, events and weddings coordinator.
AJ Jonakait first joined BloomAgain six years ago as a volunteer and took over as operations director in 2018. He is the primary liaison with our more than 80 community partners as well as with the BloomAgain volunteers. AJ, who also serves as the editor of the BloomAgain Newsletter, had been assistant director of creative services in the marketing and communications office at New York Law School before joining BloomAgain.
Sally Demo first came on board as a volunteer two-plus years ago and became outreach director in 2022, managing relations with flower sources and corporate partners. Sally’s current role includes fundraising and development. She has worked as a floral designer and event planner in NYC and previously practiced public interest law.
Elaine Diaz joined BloomAgain as a volunteer six years ago from Tommy Hilfiger where she worked in creative services. Elaine, also a professional floral designer, manages our floral workshops, including our weekend workshops where we upcycle donated flowers from weddings and events.
Emily Hsiao, our very newest team member, now coordinates BloomAgain’s weddings and events floral donation program. Emily has been an independent audio producer, having spent a decade at StoryCorps, a national nonprofit storytelling organization.
Looking back to 2014, when Donna Whiteford, my co-founder, and I started BloomAgain, little did we realize what an incredible journey we were embarking on. We never anticipated the impact that repurposing flowers would have in building a community of so many recipients, volunteers, community partners, and donors.
We had a vision that flowers could be a powerful vehicle to foster and facilitate dialogue and interaction among generations—younger, older, and the in-between—and to forge meaningful bonds while building community and giving back to those at risk. Now nine years later, we have created a circle of “people helping people,” working side-by-side with more than 80 community and corporate organizations; we’ve grown a network of 2,500 volunteers serving over 10,000 recipients annually; and we’ve diverted more than 1.8 million flowers from the solid waste stream, giving them a second life and mitigating their environmental impact.
BloomAgainBklyn is entering a new and exciting stage of its growth, and we could not be more pleased to have Kate and the amazing BloomAgain team here to take us to the next level. We are indebted to our staff, our volunteers, our community and corporate partners, and our donors for helping us bloom into where we are today.
Thank you for all your support!
Caroline Gates Anderson
Photos by Susan Rosenberg Jones
There's been a lot blooming this spring and summer at BloomAgain, and we're eager to tell you about it. In a significant development, BloomAgainBklyn was awarded a two-year, $90,000 grant from Brooklyn Community Foundation's Brooklyn Elder Fund to support our work with the borough's older adult population. We are honored to receive this award that acknowledges and furthers our mission to foster more community connectivity through the conversation and caring that flowers provide.
BloomAgain is also grateful for recent grants received from the Cobble Hill Foundation, Bay and Paul Foundations, Plymouth Christian Ministry, Leavitt Foundation, Herman Goldman Foundation, and Give Clear Funds. Our growing "garden" of grants further blossomed this June when we learned that BloomAgain will be receiving discretionary grants from New York City Council Member Crystal Hudson for community programming, and from Council Member Lincoln Restler for an expansion of BloomAgain's composting program for floral waste. A blooming thank you to both these outstanding community leaders!
The partnership between BloomAgain and Citi blossomed in June. Flowers & Finances, a series of workshops sponsored by Citi for underserved older adults to sharpen both their financial and floral skills, continues to flourish with BloomAgain flowers at GRIOT Circle, a community-based, multigenerational organization serving LGBTQ+ elders in Fort Greene. This was the sixth in a series of colorful and educational workshops partnered by Citi with BloomAgain. The series has become one of the most popular and innovative workshops as part of Citi's commitment to financial inclusion.
More than 15 Citi employee volunteers came together to give back and create hundreds of floral arrangements and bouquets at a BloomAgain Corporate Social Responsibility workshop at our location in Cobble Hill. Hundreds of creatively crafted bouquets and arrangements were distributed to the residents at Cobble Hill Health Center and seniors served by RAICES.
August was a time of intergenerational bonding as BloomAgain brought together young campers from Plymouth Church's Bible Camp to engage with the community and make flower arrangements and silk flower crowns under the guidance of BloomAgain volunteers. Their mission of giving and bringing joy culminated at the Heights and Hills' Park Slope Center for Successful Aging where over 50 older adults gathered in the limelight of the bursting colors of the young campers' creations.
In August, BloomAgain joined NYC Mayor Eric Adams in promoting conversations among New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds to combat hate and foster mutual understanding as part of the citywide Breaking Bread, Building Bonds initiative. Our volunteers upcycled hundreds of donated flowers fro the Breaking Bead, Building Bonds dinner held in Brownsville that brought together young people, older adults and staff from the Mayor's office and NYPD Police Commissioner.
May is for Mother's Day, and BloomAgain celebrated "Reflections of My Mother" brunch with the residents of SAGE, the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older people, at Stonewall House in Brooklyn. BloomAgain also supported Council Member Crystal Hudson Mothers' Day Event hosted at the Brooklyn Academy of Music honoring mothers who have given back to the community in District 35.
But, of course, we can't forget about fathers. The Children's Workshop, a community-based early childhood program that offers support to parents with small children, celebrated their caregiver fathers, in June, with BloomAgain bountiful blooms.
Silk flower crowns, boutonnieres, and wearables were all in peak fashion when BloomAgain teamed up with Plymouth Church in June to host a flower workshop with 40 families served by Little Flower Children and Family Services of New York—a nonprofit organization serving children, families, and individuals with developmental disabilities. Ongoing for the last four years, this creative family affair under the tutelage of BloomAgain floral designers went smooth as silk.
Grow NYC has provided BloomAgainBklyn with a superb summer sojourn in its Children's Teaching Garden on Governors Island. In our fourth season, BloomAGain volunteers have been provided the treat of directly harvesting a fantastic array of wildflowers—which are wonderful floral complements to our usual crop for our recipients back on the NYC mainland!
In the spirit of noted botanist Luther Burbank, who said, "Flowers are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul," BloomAgain continues to dish-up floral sustenance to those served by the fabulous food pantries run by First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn and Sisters With Purpose East New York Food Pantry.
BloomAgain provides beautiful blooms regularly to AHRC-NYC, an organization dedicated to serving and supporting people with varying disabilities, enabling those they serve to make and distribute upcycled arrangements to senior centers throughout the five boroughs. A wonderfully empowering experience.
BloomAgain was honored to lead a "make one & take one," wellness workshop this spring for the residents and staff at Cobble Hill Health Center, our longest held community partner. The workshop was served up al fresco in Cobble Hill Health Center's outside yard and garden. The staff members and residents were there "floating in flowers" and had a creative and cathartic time.
This June, BloomAgain held a floral arranging workshop for staff at newly-established partner Graham Windham—one of NYC's oldest child welfare organizations, which serves close to 5,000 kids and their families each year. Foster moms and the devoted Graham Windham staff are the recipients of BloomAgain blooms regularly, but for this event staff got to enjoy the crafting and conversation around flower arranging firsthand.
This spring, BloomAgain capped off its inaugural pilot program with partner New York Edge at MS 382K at the Erasmus Educational Center in Flatbush. It was a triumph highlighted by television coverage on PIX 11 and News 12.
View the two segments here:
News 12 Brooklyn: Students Arrange flowers for vulnerable New Yorkers
Hats off to all those middle school students who were extraordinarily engaged, enthusiastic, and eager to become Agents of Change. New York Edge's mission is to help bridge the opportunity gap among students in underinvested communities by providing programs designed to improve academic performance, health and wellness, self-confidence, and leadership skills through the community engagement and social and emotional learning offered by BloomAgain's Agents of Change Program.
BloomAgain held workshops again this spring semester with students from the Stuyvesant Key Club, a student-run, non-profit volunteer organization from Stuyvesant High School. The students came to Christ Church CobbleHill--BloomAgain's treasured partner and Brooklyn home base--to learn how to be Agents of Change by working with flowers to positively impact the community.
Student representatives from NYU Tandon School of Engineering came onsite at our workshop to pick up some of BloomAgain's beautifully arranged and upcycled flowers in order to distribute them to NYU hospital patients and frontliners.
Spring, of course, is the season of graduations and celebrations, and BloomAgain supported more than a few. CAMBA, INC. hosted an "Intergenerational Tea Party" for older adults and students to come together over tea and conversation through BloomAgain blooms. The YWCA Brooklyn hosted a "college shower" celebrating five graduating scholars, all of whom were showered in BloomAgain flowers. Nido de Esperanza NYC hosted a graduation for preschoolers and their mothers. All were recipients of BloomAgain's fresh and silk floral bouquets and wearables. And for the second year in a row, BloomAgain was able to literally crown students (with silk flowers) from Princess Chambers Inc. At their annual garden party this June, scholarship recipients were honored with signature BloomAgain fresh floral bouquets to accompany those silk flower crowns. And finally, BloomAgain was again delighted to celebrate graduates this year from PS 307 Daniel Hale Williams in Brooklyn. In the past—especially during the pandemic--BloomAgain celebrated PS 307 hardworking teachers for National Teacher Appreciation Day.
Corporate employees from the software tech sector, law firms, and financial and banking institutions were taught the language of flowers via BloomAgainBklyn's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) workshop programming designed to connect companies with underserved and at-risk communities. With BloomAgain's dedicated partner, New York Cares Corporate Volunteer Programs, BloomAgain held workshops for employees at Credit Suisse AG, Morgan Stanley, Citibank, N.A., and Anheuser-Busch. These team-building workshops were also hosted directly with Docusign, Inc.; KPMGandMorgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; PDT Partners; Centerbridge Partners, L.P.; Viking Global Investors LP; Lazard; Apollo Global Management, Inc.; and Alger.
BloomAgain has received generous donations from numerous events and floral partners throughout the years including Starbright Floral Design, Lewis Miller Design, Mimosa Floral Design, Hanato Floral Design, Orchestra of St. Luke's, VERY New York, espnW, Summit NYC, Piropo Flowers, American Museum of Natural History, POPUPFLORIST, and The University Club.
Hundreds of donated wedding and event flowers surround Rolanda Telesford (above), YWCA Brooklyn's Senior Director of Community Development, and two YWCA residents who are the recipients of these beautiful blooms upcycled by BloomAgain volunteers.
BloomAgain is beyond grateful for these wonderful partnerships and donations that help sustain the organization.
It’s that time again; the flowers are blooming and so is BloomAgainBklyn.
In this Winter/Spring edition, you will read how the glorious Christian Dior flowers from the Macy’s Flower Show brought joy and healing to the residents of the YWCA Brooklyn, and how Citi and BloomAgain collaborated on a Flowers & Finances series for Fort Greene and Bed Stuy seniors.
BloomAgain’s commitment to fostering intergenerational understanding and connections reached a broad spectrum of young people through new partnerships with New York Edge, Pratt Institute, The Service Collective, and NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering. We continue to serve new community partners like Graham Windham and Fort Greene Council, while expanding services with existing partners like Cobble Hill Healthcare Center, AHRC NYC, and Buena Vida Rehabilitation & Nursing Center. With much regret, we are foregoing BloomAgain's Spring Fling due to our expanded commitments for building community through the healing power of upcycled flowers.
Support BloomAgain’s mission by donating today.
New York Edge students experience the joy of upcycling flowers, team-building, and giving back.
BloomAgain is a proud partner with New York Edge, whose mission is to help bridge the opportunity gap among students in underinvested communities by providing programs designed to improve academic performance, health and wellness, self-confidence, and leadership skills for success in life. This April, BloomAgain launched its “Agents of Change” program series at MS 382K at the Erasmus Educational Center in Flatbush. Students become change agents by learning to repurpose donated flowers, team-build, and give back to the community. Some student reactions: “There’s beauty in all of life”; “...I felt good about myself”; and “I actually liked it and it made me happy and sharing…”
Fort Greene seniors selecting their flowers and financial decisions wisely.
Citi and BloomAgain hosted another Flowers & Finances workshop in April at GRIOT Circle, a community-based, multigenerational organization serving LGBTQ+ elders of color in Fort Greene.
BloomAgain is now partnering with Graham Windham, one of NYC’s oldest child welfare organizations, which serves close to 5,000 kids and families each year. Foster moms and devoted Graham Windham staff have been the recipients of BloomAgain upcycled florals with wellness workshops coming up. This winter BloomAgain flowers traveled up to Harlem, providing hundreds of floral bouquets for Bronx-based, Unconditional Freedom – Free Food, an organization that serves 350–500 meals in Harlem, once a week, to homebound seniors.
NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill
First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn
We continue to grow our community partnership with RAICES, as we work together to support the Latino, minority, and low-income aging community; and CAMBA, Inc., a non-profit providing a wide range of social services, programs, and initiatives to New Yorkers in need. Happy to launch a new partnership with providing support and programming for children, families and staff, and New Carlton Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, which provides compassionate emotional and physical quality care to all its residents.
Female sports executives inspire 50 young women at the YWCA Brooklyn.
The excitement was palpable when 50 young women received beautiful upcycled arrangements donated by BloomAgain as part of Brooklyn to Brilliance, an inspiring workshop hosted by YWCA Brooklyn, bringing together an impressive panel of female leaders from New York Liberty, ESPN, and Adidas who described their personal journeys and received upcycled arrangements. YWCA Brooklyn is BloomAgain’s longtime cherished partner where we have formed bonds with their women residents over the last six years.
Bankers, fashion designers, and programmers have gotten to experience BloomAgain’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) flower workshops for company employees who want to give back to the community through an excellent team-building experience. These workshops facilitate corporate interaction with underserved and at-risk communities. In conjunction with our amazing partner, New York Cares’s Corporate Volunteer Programs, BloomAgain has partnered with Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and Barclays, with many more to come. Furthermore, if your organization would like to get into flowers, BloomAgain offers these CSRs independently and have recently held workshops for Mint House, JP Morgan Chase, Viking Global Investors LP, and most recently employees from Giorgio Armani and Christian Dior.
The talents of the enormously creative corporate team from Giorgio Armani were in full bloom as they designed magnificent arrangements from spectacular flowers donated by Starbright Floral Design and BloomAgain retail partners. The upcycled bouquets provided peace and healing to First Church Brooklyn Food Pantry and residents and staff at Cobble Hill Health Center.
A talented team of Christian Dior employees repurposed the beautiful blooms from DIOR’s romantic dreamscape that was the highlight of the 2023 Macy’s Flower Show. DIOR staff joined with BloomAgain volunteers to create magnificent upcycled arrangements for the YWCA residents—many of whom are former trauma and homelessness survivors
If you and your company would like to participate in one of these community engagement workshops, please visit our website: www.bloomagainbklyn.org.
Pratt students designed BloomAgain's future “wish spaces.”
This spring BloomAgain embarked on a fun collaboration with interior design students at Pratt Institute who were tasked with creating a new future work space for BloomAgain. The Pratt students studied all aspects of our operations from logistics to sourcing to transportation and came up with imaginative designs for BloomAgain’s shiny new “wish space” headquarters.
Help BloomAgain realize our new “Wish Space.”
BloomAgain made its annual pilgrimage to another higher ed partner, St. Joseph’s College, with whom we have held floral wellness workshops with for several years. Thirty-plus students created beautiful arrangements for our wonderful community partner, Buena Vida Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, in Bushwick, Brooklyn.
St. Joseph’s budding recreational therapists.
"‘Stuy” students excel at floral creativity.
Stuyvesant High School Key Club students joined BloomAgain volunteers for the second straight year to hone their floral skills and create upcycled arrangements for residents of New Carlton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and homebound older adults served by Heights and Hills, longtime partner.
And moving into grad programming, BloomAgain is excited to have recently partnered with NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Once a month, a student from the Prehealth program comes to pick up flowers to distribute to recipients at NYU Langone in Manhattan.
A new partner, the Service Collective, with a mission of engaging Brooklyn youth to take action in their community through volunteer service, came onsite to a BloomAgain workshop to learn the power of creating community through arranging and repurposing flowers. The children created a whole crop of cards and bouquets for the frontliners at the Emergency Department at NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill.
BloomAgain has received many generous donations from numerous event and floral partners throughout the years including Starbright Floral Design, Stems Brooklyn, Viking Global Investors LP, Winston Flowers, Danrie, Pratt Institute, Lewis Miller Design, Rabobank, Ron Hansford, StepStone Group, VERY New York, Hanato Flowers, and Love Wellness, among others. BloomAgain couldn’t be more grateful for these generous partnerships and donations. If you are getting married or having a corporate event and have flowers you’d like to donate, please visit our website: www.bloomagainbklyn.org.
In Full Bloom
The flowers have been opening and so has the world. It’s been a trying and isolating few years, but BloomAgainBklyn has kept our community connected through the restorative power of upcycled flowers. This spring and summer season, and now into the fall, BloomAgain continues to fulfill its mission of reducing social isolation and loneliness amongst the most vulnerable populations by creating connections and conversations through the sustainability of flowers and spirit of community.
We are pleased to share these connections and conversations with you and hope they brighten up your day.
Quincy Senior Residences is a new community partner that BloomAgain has had the privilege of serving by distributing hundreds of hand tied bouquets to the residents of this 93-unit apartment building for low income seniors in Bedford-Stuyvesant. BloomAgain is happy to provide a little cheer and summer flora to these folks.
BloomAgain volunteer preparing bouquets for Quincy Senior Residences
BloomAgain provided another neighboring residence, SAGE’s Stonewall House—the largest LGBTQ+ friendly elder housing development in the country, and located in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the first for New York City—with upcycled florals for their “Spring Into Art” event and throughout the year. SAGE is an organization dedicated to the support and advocacy of LGBTQ+ elders, and in celebration of June’s Pride month, BloomAgain sent a reveling array of arrangements.
SAGE’s Stonewall House
BloomAgain continues to support the frontliners at the Emergency Department at NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill for their tireless care and dedication with buckets upon buckets of blooms regularly throughout the year. Heights and Hills is another long-standing community partner who is a regular recipient of bouquets for their residents. BloomAgain has also been glad to send one of our newer partners, First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn, beautiful flowers and plants for their weekly food pantries, and continues to serve its long-time partner East New York Food Pantry.
NYU Langone Health—Cobble Hill
First Presbyterian Church of Brooklyn
BloomAgain’s partnership with Buena Vida Rehabilitation & Nursing Center has fully rooted, and we’ve been fortunate in this seamless association to be able to send hundreds of flower arrangements and plants to such a wonderful facility.
BloomAgain has been working closely with a new community partner, AHRC New York City, an organization dedicated to serving and supporting people with varying disabilities. Earlier in the year, BloomAgain furnished AHRC NYC with silk flowers in bulk—enough to distribute to their centers around the five boroughs—paired along with a “Bloom Always” virtual silk flower card making workshop video by our own master floral designer, Lisa Oberholzer-Gee. “Bloom Always” virtual silk workshops continue to connect communities, and you can sample the silks workshop here: youtu.be/wX6sXzVCt6o.
Repurposed fresh flowers go to two of AHRC’s centers, AHRC Norfolk in Manhattan and AHRC Queens, for monthly workshops.
AHRC New York City silk arrangement
Grow NYC's Urban Teaching Garden
Harvesting wildflowers on Governors Island at Grow NYC’s Urban Teaching Garden adds colors and textures to BloomAgain’s bouquets, and we are beyond grateful for this beautiful partnership. It is a truly special experience to extend the life of these wildflowers for our community partners.
CSR workshop at Credit Suisse
BloomAgainBklyn offers Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) flower workshops for company employees who want to give back to the community. These are excellent team-building experiences and facilitate corporate interaction with underserved and at-risk populations. In conjunction with New York Cares Corporate Volunteer Programs, BloomAgain has partnered with Credit Suisse; J.Crew; Schroders; Deutsche Bank; Goldman Sachs Group, Inc.; Apollo Global Management and JPMorgan Chase already this year with more to come. Furthermore, if your organization would like to get into flowers, BloomAgain offers these CSRs independently and have held workshops for General Equity Partners; Alger; Kora Capital; and Columbia University, among others.
Apollo Global Management
JP Morgan Chase
Goldman Sachs Group
BloomAgain is active in workshopping with younger bloomers. In Spring, BloomAgain taught a fine group of undergrads at St. Joseph’s College in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, how to integrate floral therapy as part of their training to become social workers and therapists.
Cobble Hill Health Center staff & resident
Workshop at St. Joseph's College
BloomAgain was thrilled to welcome over a dozen members of Stuyvesant High School’s Key Club to Christ Church, in August, for an alfresco workshop where the students performed their act of service for the community. Quick studies, these students made over 100 floral arrangements, hand ties, and silk flower bouquets for our community partners to brighten up many a nursing home residents’ day.
Arrangements created by parents at The Packer Collegiate Institute
Also, this spring BloomAgain traveled to our neighbor, The Packer Collegiate Institute, to work with high schoolers for a extracurricular workshop on the effects of upcycling flowers to combat loneliness and isolation and spread joy to others in the community.
BloomAgain delighted in celebrating the students themselves for two very special commencements. The first was for a graduation of 3-year-old baby bloomers from Nido de Esperanza—a non-profit organization that seeks to break the cycle of poverty by changing the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. BloomAgain sent celebratory silk wearables, including silk flower crowns, corsages, boutonnieres, and bracelets as well as silk bouquets and individual congratulatory cards decorated with silk flowers for each of the little grads.
Through the Bridge Street Development Corporation, Inc.—a non-profit with a mission to provide civic and economic opportunities to low-to-moderate income residents of Central Brooklyn—BloomAgain was honored to send hundreds of fresh flower stems and hand ties in addition to silk bouquets and crowns to a graduating class of their assiduous summer youth interns.
Volunteers try out the crowns for Nido de Esperanza
Remember Your Mother: Mother’s Day 2022
The importance of moms is incalculable, especially those who often go unappreciated. That’s why BloomAgain was humbled to be able to recognize mothers at the CHiPS (Community Help in Park Slope, Inc.) Frances Residence for Mother’s Day. Frances Residence is a private temporary residence program for mothers and their infants and toddlers in need of shelter and support services, and also a partner of our esteemed partner, Plymouth Church. BloomAgain sent the women in the residence fresh flower arrangements, silk flower crowns, and of course Mother’s Day cards to send them a bright and colorful shout out and hurray.
Council Member Crystal Hudson of District 35, in Brooklyn, represents the neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, and parts of Crown Heights and Bedford-Stuyvesant. Now that’s a lot of mothers! This spring Hudson hosted a Mother’s Day luncheon event at the Brooklyn Academy of Brooklyn which featured beautiful BloomAgainBklyn bouquets, exhibiting the power of an upcycled flower.
The Magic Came Back!
We were honored to be able to host our Spring Fling 2022, in May. It was a magical evening of food, fun, friendship, flowers (shocker), and a celebration of community and an incredible champion of change: Martha Kamber, CEO and President of the YWCA Brooklyn, who is the true embodiment of an “Agent of Change,” and a recognized leader for racial justice and gender equality advocacy.
Martha Kamber, CEO & President of the YWCA Brooklyn
To top off the joyous event, Rebecca Naomi Jones—one of Broadway’s best having last starred in Oklahoma! and lead in the Public Theater’s rendition of As You Like It for Shakespeare in the Park—“brought the house down” by performing Stephen Schwartz’s “Ain’t it Good” and “Tea for Two.”
Caroline Koster, BloomAgain board member and Sally Larson, our volunteer honoree
Rebecca Naomi Jones, Actress & Performer
Flowers gone MAD!
This spring, the Museum of Arts and Design hosted their annual Flower Craft Show featuring none other than a BloomAgainBklyn Intergenerational Silk Floral Workshop and Fresh Flower Upcycling Workshop. These dual workshops showed the MAD masses the enormous transformative power of bringing color and creativity into people’s lives as well as promoting sustainability in upcycled flowers to bring joy and gaiety to communities in need.
Museum of Arts and Design's annual Flower Craft Show
Rick and Caroline Anderson accepted the Community Partnership Award for BloomAgainBklyn from its long-time partner, Cobble Hill Health Center. BloomAgain was honored along with the Cobble Hill Association—accepted by its president Amanda Sue Nichols, and Nara Garber, noted community activist and leader, for their commitment and support of the health center’s residents and staff at a gala event held on September 22. BloomAgain’s program of providing Cobble Hill residents and staff with upcycled flowers has become a model for other healthcare centers throughout Brooklyn.
BloomAgain’s long-time partner New York Cares recently initiated a podcast series highlighting their programs, staff, and nonprofit partners. BloomAgain’s founder, Caroline Anderson, was featured as one of the first podcast guests in early September.
YWCA Brooklyn resident with upcycled event flowers
Wedding and event floral refurbishing workshops are held at our longtime cherished partner, the YWCA Brooklyn. For over 130 years, the YWCA has supported women’s rights and provides former trauma survivors and homeless with safe permanent homes and programs to educate, develop, and advocate on their behalf.
BloomAgain has received many generous donations from numerous event and floral partners throughout the years including Winston Flowers; Piropo Flowers; hanato floral design studio; BloomBar; Lindsay Landman Events; L’AGENCE; Raiola Co.; AbraFlora Wholesale; Nuveen; Bureau Betak; Carnegie Corporation of New York; thepopupflorist; Mimosa Floral Design; Botanica Inc.; Metropolitan Museum of Art; Lewis Miller Design, Frank Alexander NYC, David Stark Design, Tin Can Studios, Opalia Flowers, Ron Hansford Design, Villaneuva Designs and Hearst Corporation, among others. BloomAgain couldn’t be more grateful to be floating in flowers thanks to our flourishing partnerships.
If you are getting married or having a corporate event and have flowers you’d like to donate, please visit our website: www.bloomagainbklyn.org.
BloomAgainBklyn Pivots to Serve Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19
BloomAgainBklyn made significant adjustments to ensure that we could deliver on our mission to break the isolation of those at risk. We worked hard and safely to do this. During the pandemic lock-down, BloomAgain has hosted Zoom sessions several times a week for its volunteers who came up with new initiatives to reach our community partners. To replace our flower visits, the volunteers produced floral photography cards, hand-made masks, “hero bites” from Mrs. Fields Cookies, video greeting card produced by PS29 third graders, and musical tributes over Zoom -- all to support and say thank you to the front liners and our community partners.
Harvesting Wildflowers on Governors Island
at GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden
Under the shadow of Wall Street, BloomAgainBklyn volunteers began harvesting wildflowers in early June from the GrowNYC Teaching Garden on Governors Island. These fields of beautiful wildflowers were going to waste because COVID-19 had shut down the garden from the public. Thanks to an exceptional collaboration between GrowNYC and BloomAgain, these stunning wildflowers were transformed into beautiful arrangements for homebound seniors, frontline staff and residents at health centers and their residents.
The new partnership with GrowNYC, the largest environmental organization in New York City, is part of BloomAgain’s continuing efforts to discover new ways to fulfill our mission to break the isolation of at-risk populations.This wonderful collaboration was highlighted in this New York Daily News profile story.
PS29 Third-Graders Express Warm Wishes in Video Card
Unable to return to the class room at PS29 because of COVID-19, BloomAgain renewed its wonderful partnership with the third graders from Ms. Manna’s class to create an inspiring video card that was played for all the residents at Cobble Hill Health Center in June. The video brought great joy and uplifted the spirits of these residents who had been isolated and unable to see their relatives for over three months.
Community Blooms for Cobble Hill Health Center
BloomAgainBklyn brought together diverse community groups to cheer, celebrate, and honor the front liners and residents at Cobble Hill Health Center (CHHC) in early June. When the pandemic began in March, CHHC struggled with the ravages of COVID-19. BloomAgain organized the “Community Blooms” event to uplift and humanize their experiences and donated over 400 hand-tied bouquets and arrangements.
Donny Tuchman, CEO of CHHC, and many staff members were greeted with a barrage of flowers and cheering from community members including neighborhood children holding handmade signs. Assembly Member Jo Anne Simon and State Senator Brian Kavanaugh joined in the cheer!
Money Trees Grow In Brooklyn
In early August, BloomAgain distributed 600 “Money Trees” (Guiana Chestnut plants) to the former trauma and homeless survivors at the YWCA Brooklyn; recipients at Sisters with Purpose Food Pantry; and front liners and residents at Cobble Hill Health Center. This was made possible by the generosity of Golub Capital which had been introduced to BloomAgain by GrowNYC’s Green Space Program – another example of the wonderful collaboration between the two organizations.
BloomAgainBklyn Hosts Virtual Workshop
on GrowNYC Distance Learning Site
Volunteers from BloomAgainBklyn joined GrowNYC to host a virtual workshop on how to create fun floral arrangements with fall leaves which was broadcasted to hundreds of GrowNYC families on their Distance Learning website.
BloomAgainBklyn volunteer Lisa Oberholzer-Gee hosted the interactive workshop and demonstrated how to use leaves and other natural elements to make beautiful fall creations including vases, wreaths, and floral arrangements. Lisa is an NYC-based floral designer and owner of her own flower business.
Watch the full workshop on GrowNYC's Distance Learning site by clicking the link: https://youtu.be/PFg3gegzczY
Credit Suisse Virtual Workshop
BloomAgainBklyn, New York Cares and Credit Suisse have had a longstanding relationship through a series of team building, flower workshops held at Credit Suisse offices. These “give-back to the community” workshops took place every other month before the pandemic struck. This September, BloomAgain launched its first-ever, virtual Credit Suisse workshop with the distribution of flower kits—including wildflowers harvested from GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden on Governors Island, shears, vases, bouquet wraps and other materials -- to employee volunteers throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx. We then hosted a Zoom session led by two BloomAgain volunteers and floral designers, Elaine Diaz and Lisa Oberholzer-Gee, who provided the Credit Suisse employees with a tutorial on flower arranging showing them how to create wonderful arrangements and hand-tied bouquets. The arrangements made at the virtual workshop were then distributed the following day to front liners and residents at our community partner Cobble Hill Health Care, and to homebound seniors served by Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly.
“Give Back to Brooklyn”
Kicking off the fall season, BloomAgainBklyn hosted a “Give Back to Brooklyn” event for young families in Cobble Hill Park to show their support for those hardest hit by COVID-19. Spearheaded by Board Member Rachel Jones Bellas, the fun-filled morning was spent crafting flower arrangements, decorating mini pumpkins and making colorful cards that were distributed to homebound seniors served by Heights and Hills, residents in East New York served by Sisters with Purpose Food Pantry and residents and front liners at Cobble Hill Health Center.
Pumpkins and Pumpkins
In addition to flower arrangements, BloomAgain continued to spread the spirit of fall and Halloween by decorating mini pumpkins with flower stickers. BloomAgain volunteers decorated over 200 mini pumpkins with hundreds of flower stickers, which all went to the residents at Cobble Hill Health Center. It was such a popular addition, BloomAgain continued on with the mini pumpkin production sending hundreds more to Heights and Hills, Little Brothers, and Sisters with Purpose. Cobble Hill Health Center also received a bulk donation of pumpkins from DIG Food Group right in time for Halloween.
Designer Masks for Front Liners
DesignStudio7 has partnered with BloomAgainBklyn to the launch a series of limited edition, Liberty of London masks with 20% of the sales proceeds for each mask going to support BloomAgainBklyn. The Liberty London’s icon vibrant Persephone print reflects the colorful bouquets BloomAgainBklyn makes and distributes to senior health care centers, homebound seniors, trauma and homeless survivors, and others in need throughout Brooklyn.
Each mask sells for $25.00 and can be ordered on the DesignSeven7 website. DS7 masks are handcrafted in Brooklyn, New York.