New York City’s community board system is unique among American cities. As a bridge between a powerful city government and the nitty-gritty details of neighborhood life, the community board can influence the way money is spent, what can get built, and other factors that impact our quality of life in an advisory way. But how do they work? Are they doing a good job? Do they have any real power? What else can you do with a community board?

CUP teaching artist Dillon de Give worked with a group of students from International Community High School in the South Bronx to find some answers. The investigation led to interviews with various stakeholders in the community board system, as well as a visit to a real live community board meeting. Students learned about the inner workings of the  community board system; they learned that not many people in their commmunity knew of its existence, or that it was volunteer-based.

The group created Now Boarding, a short film to teach others about the of range of influence a community board can have.The film had its world premiere at Anthology Film Archives where students presented their working process and interviewed community board member and neighborhood activist, Damaris Reyes.

Check out the video below!

What People are Saying

“This is life-changing work.”  Berena Cabarcas, principal

“I never knew there was different districts and where to go whenever I see something wrong in my neighborhood. But now I have an idea of where to go.”  Saminath Gnabode, student

“Doing this work helps. When I grow up, if I live in a neighborhood where I want to fix something, I would want to be part of the Community Board.” – Marwan Alsaidi, student

Resources & Links

International Community High School is a progressive public high school in the South Bronx for English Language Learners.

The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit is a resource where you can find your local community board.

Funding Support

Major support for this program was provided by Deutsche Bank. Additional support was provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Special Thanks

Sam Appel, Sabine Bernards, Michael Freedman-Schnapp, Craig Hammerman (Brooklyn Community Board 6), Mychal Johnson, Jessica Silver & Brian Cook (Borough President Scott Stringer’s office), Jose Rodriguez, Tatiana A Tatarintseva, and Lacey Tauber (Pratt Institute)


    Teaching Artist
    Dillon de Give
    Project Lead
    Valeria Mogilevich
    Project Support
    Sam Holleran
    Pema Domingo-Barker
    International Community High School
    Mousumi Akhter
    Mohammed Alkhabi
    Basam AlMaraisi
    Christopher Almonte
    Marwan Alsaidi
    Fanta Drame
    Samirath Gnabode
    Issaka Mamah
    Luisanna Pascual
    Maria Pascual
    Arisbeth Pavia
    Lorena Reyes
    Marielsy Reyes
    Shimme Siddika
    Project Support
    Berena Cabarcas
    Yadira Echevarria
    John E. Sims
    Nick Cregor