UNDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ELIZABETH DABNEY HOCHMAN, a group of kids has been meeting for two years in Brooklyn Heights to talk about “life’s big questions.” Now, they are sharing what they found in a spirituality magazine for youth called KidSpirit, a beautifully designed project that she says is a first of its kind. The advertising-free nonprofit magazine launched nationally in April and features the work of kids in Brooklyn and around the country, although the all-kid editorial board, including Hochman’s daughter Catherine, is headquartered here in Brooklyn.
In the premier issue, “Roots of Spirit,” kids ponder and reflect on questions such as, What are your biggest concerns about the environment? What is spirit? What should you do if you are worried about a friend? What is t’ai chi and what is the source of its power? How are food and spirituality connected? Most contributors are between the ages of 11 and 15.
Editor-in-chief Hochman writes, “KidSpirit seeks to be a place to which kids gravitate to engage life’s big questions — a place to connect on issues of importance in the outside world as well as the inner world of spirit.” You can visit the web site at www.kidspiritmagazine.com to read or submit to the magazine.
Hochman comes from a family of professional writers and has broad experience writing and editing. A graduate of Princeton University with a Master’s in Music from New York City’s Mannes College of Music, she has more than 15 years experience as an opera singer. As the parent of two daughters, she believes that KidSpirit has the potential to play a transformative role in the lives of young people.
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BAY RIDGE UNITED CHURCHPARISHIONER JIM CRUICKSHANKS has been coordinating the church’s chapter of the national Adopt-a-Chaplain program for about a year. The church previously sponsored Chaplain 1LT Virginia Emery, but she has since returned to the states from Iraq. The church’s new sponsoree is LCDR YOLANDA GILLEN, a Navy chaplain serving with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit/Combat Logistics Battalion 24 in Afghanistan. She is married, has four children and is currently caring for 370 troops. She and her unit departed Camp Lejuene, N.C., this March in support of “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Her battalion provides food, water, repair parts and more to those on the front line.
“Helping a sailor or Marine to become spiritually stronger will produce a better sailor or Marine who is stronger mentally, psychologically and physically,” said Gillen. “I see sailors and Marines becoming more spiritually fit, which allow them to make better decisions, be better prepared to deal with the storms of life and also help others in need.”
Bay Ridge United will be collecting snacks, toiletries, CDs and DVDs to send to the chaplain for her troops. Ten boxes were sent to Chaplain Gillen in June. She is planning a “New Dads” class for those Marines/sailors who are newly fathers since being deployed, so Bay Ridge United will also be collecting baby dolls to send.
MARINE BIOLOGIST AT BROOKLYN COLLEGE Dr. MARTIN P. SHREIBMAN was recently featured by the New York Times for his preservation work with horseshoe crabs. The job often takes him to Jamaica Bay’s Plum Beach, where he observed, “It’s prehistoric romance, all over the beaches — I love it.” The prehistoric species crawls ashore this time of year to mate.
Schreibman is founder of the Aquatic Research and Environmental Assessment Center at Brooklyn College, where he has been raising the crabs from eggs for several years. Recently, raccoons broke into the facility and he lost a number of young crabs — a frustration, because as the feds agree, conservation is an issue. The federal government recently placed a moratorium on harvesting horseshoes in Jamaica Bay to preserve the population.
OVER THE WEEKEND, two novice kayakers in a large group almost drowned by paddling too close to one of Olafur Eliasson’s waterfalls under the Brooklyn Bridge. According to the New York Times, Bert Rosenblatt, 36, and Vladimir Spector, 37, in their single capsized kayak, were rescued by a police boat, and taken to a hospital and released shortly afterward, with no injuries. This may be the first waterfall-related accident for the East River. Lesson: look but don’t touch?
THE TIMES ALSO REPORTS that Williamsburg may soon be home of the Knitting Factory, as the community board gave them the OK to move into 361 Metropolitan Ave., the former site of Luna Lounge. Jared Hoffman, the Factory’s leader for five years, says the space will replace the multi-room venue that has been on Manhattan’s Leonard Street since the early ‘90s, affording them an opportunity to expand west (Boise and Spokane are part of the discussion). Renovations are in store for the Luna space, so no move is imminent.
NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD SADAM ALI of Canarsie High School has just become the first Olympic-bound Arab-American boxer. Ali, who competes in the lightweight class at 132 pounds, has been boxing since he was 8 years old. According to his NBC Olympics bio, in November 2007 Ali tested positive for cathine, a drug similar to amphetamines, and within days he took a voluntary suspension. The positive test came when Ali was at a Beijing test event, and likely was triggered when a team doctor gave him medicine for bronchitis. Boxing’s international governing body, AIBA, served him a three-month suspension, retroactive to when he first volunteered, which ended just in time for Ali to be reinstated for his second Olympic qualifying meet.
“I had gone through too much not to make the Olympics,” Ali told the Daily News after earning his Olympic spot. “I know in life you often have to go through some bumps in the road to reach your ultimate goal. I always kept focused and kept training, and I was confident that this moment would happen.”

Newly-ordained Rev. STEVEN PAULIKAS, who has served Grace Church in Brooklyn Heights as deacon for the past two years, is now an assistant to the rector. He will be celebrating the Eucharist at Grace Church for the first time on July 20.