On Thursday, a small crowd gathered outside Bed-Stuy’s P.S. 5 – Ronald E. McNair to welcome the shower bus built for homeless New Yorkers back to where it all began.

The Brooklyn Community Service Mobile Shower Unit, that came into action in 2020, was strongly advocated for by P.S. 5 students, notably young advocates Jada Warren and Serenity Dixon.

The young advocates wrote letters and petitioned local politicians about the need for a bus in the borough, after learning about similar efforts in San Fransisco, California. They even took a travelling pitch deck to Borough President Eric Adam’s office, to show why the issue was so important.

And the leaders listened.

P.S. 5 Principal Lena Gates and Serenity Dixon. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith.

Warren and Dixon worked alongside Turning Point and Brooklyn Community Services, which were already working on the project, to bring the shower bus to fruition.

“The start of our journey until today is what life is all about, the power of using what you have learned and transforming that into helping others,” Dixon told the crowd.

BCS’s shower bus visits P.S. 5. Photo: Anna Bradley-Smith.

The now middle-schooler said her and Warren initially wanted to know why something as basic and important as a shower wasn’t available to many in Brooklyn, and then wanted to get everyone involved in changing that, including their classmates, to “show what community service means.”

“Today we are 7th graders who have not forgotten our lessons learned,” Dixon said. “This summer in the midst of the pandemic, I filmed a commercial about homelessness for Unilever, and Jada continues to work on projects for middle school.”

At Thursday’s event, P.S. 5 made a large donation of toiletries and supples to the bus, which will be handed out to Brooklyn residents in need.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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