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How Young Bed-Stuy Activists Pushed for a Shower Bus for Bklyn's Homeless

Two Brooklyn girls are using their voices to help the city's homeless, lobbying politicians and leaders for a shower bus.
Shower Bus, BK Reader
Photo credit: A. Bradley-Smith for BK Reader

Two young Bedford Stuyvesant activists have thrown their voices behind bringing a shower bus to Brooklyn for the borough's homeless community.

Jada Warren, 10, and Serenity Dixon, 11, who have just graduated P.S.5 Dr. Ronald McNair Public School, dedicated their 5th-grade project to getting public support for a bus furnished with shower cubicles that would provide homeless people with a dedicated place to wash.

After studying human rights in class and attending the annual WE Day for young change-makers, the girls were motivated to do something positive for their community.

"I'd found out about the shower bus in the news, and I wanted to bring it to my classmates' attention," Jada said. As she learned, the shower buses were first rolled out in San Francisco in 2013 by a local organization, Lava Mae, that converted public transportation buses into showers and toilets on wheels.

Inspired by the story, the girls mobilized their classmates to write letters of support to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams who, as they learnt, had partnered with Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) to bring a bus to Brooklyn.

The girls' efforts didn't go unnoticed: Adams met with them at Borough Hall to hear their ideas, and impressed by their dedication, BSC also recognized the girls for their hard work.

Jada said the invitation and recognition came as a big shock.

"We're being heard, and it's a surprise for us, we thought the adults wouldn't take us seriously," she said.

Shower Bus, BK Reader

The girls' 5th-grade teacher Cindy VanPetten said Jada and Serenity's drive is what motivated adults and city leaders to support their efforts.

The shower bus is currently being built and expected to arrive in Brooklyn this summer. Meanwhile, Jada and Serenity are not wasting time waiting for its arrival: They are busy organizing donation drives and planning stories to read to people while they wait in line.