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NY1 - NYer of the Week

January 9, 2004

Lawyer Gives Up Career To Help The Children Of East New York, Brooklyn

Born and raised in the East New York section of Brooklyn, the latest NY1 New Yorker of the Week wanted to offer the children from his community the skill they need to succeed, from the ground up.

Richard Buery says kids are what inspired him to start an after-school program two years ago, and they're what has kept him going every day since.

"Seeing kids become better readers, seeing the joy when they see a different city, seeing the accomplishment of camping, it inspires you and makes you want to work harder," he says.

Working harder is what Buery has been doing since the day he decided to give up being a lawyer and dedicate his life to the children of the very neighborhood where he grew up, East New York.

"It's been a dream of mine for a long time to come back to the neighborhood and really give back some of the blessings that I received as a child by creating a safe program for children," he says.

So, in January of 2002 he did just that. Groundwork started with a few friends and a few donations, but quickly caught on in the community. Two years later, it's an integral part of public schools like P.S. 328.

"The kids need it, especially within the East New York community," says Groundwork�s Nathan Smith. "There aren't a lot of programs out here for the kids, which is the reason why Rich specifically wanted to identify communities like this. We have great feedback from parents, community leaders, school officials, principals � every kind of feedback we get is positive."

The program focuses on many things, including literacy.

"They helped me improve with my writing, and now I write neat and much clearer," says student Erik Torres.

Groundwork also teaches arts and crafts, and gets the children out into the world by taking them on field trips.

"I think Groundwork is very awesome because it helps me with my homework and we get to go on trips in the summer," says student Omari Johnson.

The group does anything to help strengthen their education and build a better future, not only for the children, but for the entire community.

"It's really the best to spend your days with children who are happy to be here," says Buery. "Being able to give back is really a blessing. I feel like what we do here is not a sacrifice - it's really the greatest honor we can have."

So, for giving back to the community that gave so much to him, Richard Buery is NY1�s New Yorker of the Week.

For more information on Groundwork, visit http://www.groundworkinc.org/.

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