This fall, Great Performances welcomed interns from The Thinkubator. Trains Internship Program to help on a variety of projects. One of the projects was preparing an article about GP’s previous The Thinkubator program. Fatima Hernandez worked with the marketing team to research and prepare an article about The Thinkubator and Great Performances collaboration, which we share below.
THE THINKUBATOR AND GREAT PERFORMANCES—SHARED LEARNING AND DISCOVERY
by Fatima Hernandez
The Thinkubator is a unique Bronx based organization that focuses on training, educating, and connecting Bronx youth to work learning experiences as well as providing employment and educational opportunities. This organization offers resources and opportunities to help Bronx youth develop and grow as professionals as they are given the tools they need to improve the world around them.
To many students from the Bronx, this organization resembles opportunity and hope that isn’t often provided to minorities in New York. Many students have moved on to become apprentices and in some cases become part of the Thinkubator staff to continue providing these resources and extra help to students from the Bronx. Until this past September
The Thinkubator was originally known as the Bronx Private Industry Council partnered with Here to Here. Aside from partnering with different organizations and companies/businesses, the Thinkubator also provides access to smaller groups like the Youth Council which is relatively new and was made with the purpose of getting the students to tackle community problems. Such as food scarcity and the negative impact of Covid-19 on the community.
Great Performances and The Thinkubator came together to find a way to incorporate Bronx culture into their catering business. A group of 22 students came up with different ideas such as a website renovation , adding a Bronx inspired playlist, and adding a mixture of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Honduran, and Dominican food to Great Performances’ menu since majority of the population is made up of these ethnicities. This project lasted 5 months in which the students got to visit the Great Performances office to learn further about the company while also taking trips to Katchkie Farm, their organic farm, to really understand the roots of nature of their produce.
The students got to experience first hand what goes into cultivation, farming, and processing food and later participated in hands-on activities in the kitchen. Although the students focused on different aspects of the project such as researching, presenting, and or creating, they all felt the pressure of making sure their pitch reached their objective
Some of the struggles they encountered throughout this time were mainly about how they would get their pitch across so that it wouldn’t only be successful in their heads, but that if Great performances ultimately decided to apply these changes, it would also run smoothly. Some students were also worried that they would incorporate too much Bronx culture and this would take away from other Bronx companies who had been there before Great Performances. Luckily the students had help from co-facilitators and apprentices who helped plan, schedule, and guide the students in the right direction with their ideas.
The students were divided into two teams: the ones who were working on the website renovation Focused mainly a new point of engagement for the website trying to incorporate videos, a live feed on the companies Instagram page and adding a playlist personalized by the kitchen staff to further allow the audience to connect with Great Performances. They also customize the cursor so that it was better fitted for their plant forward philosophy just as a creative way of engaging the community. The students who focused on working with the restaurant pitch looked into the diversity and variety of the Bronx culture. Each student in this project contributed a dish that was significant to them and their heritage. Overall the students had one big question to tackle “ what is Bronx culture?”
Although the objectives were met and the final results were pleasant for everyone the real reward was knowing that the company and the students who represent the Bronx culture had created a long lasting relationship. Great Performances wanted to find a way to incorporate Bronx culture into their menu and they did this through the students perspectives and personal experiences. They got to learn about their culture and the significance of their food when the students presented their platter/beverage.
About Fatima Hernandez
Fatima Hernandez is a senior at the Bronx Center for Science and Mathematics. She participated in the Thinkubator Trains Internship Summer and Fall 2020, interning at the Bronx Borough President’s Office and Great Performances, respectively. She is the captain of the CitySquash squash team, a proud resident of the Bronx, a member of the Thinkubator Leads Youth Council, and Leaders of the Future- pilot TV program from BronxNet. Fatima lives in the Bronx with her mother and younger brothers.