Rep Your Block

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South Bronx, NYC
Member Since: 2006

"Changing the world one street at a time"

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Newspaper: Bronx Times Reporter
Date: 7/4/2007
Journalist: Jon Minners

An innovative Bronx-based company,, is looking to change the world one street at a time, and is giving Bronxites a chance to own a piece of their ’hood.

The site offers 70 unique products and 119 total selections, including shirts, hats and calendars, all featuring a specific street name, based on the buyer’s selection.

Whether you are from Morris Park, Throggs Neck, Castle Hill, Co-op City, Fordham or anywhere in between, has a shirt that will allow residents to represent their neighborhoods with pride.

But don’t call a clothing company. David Estrella and Lissette Torres, the company’s founders, have so much more in mind. “Awareness is power,” said Torres, of Rosedale Avenue. “Once you are aware of your community, then you can create change.”

The partners both attended Columbus High School but became close friends after their graduation, creating in September. The belief was that if someone wore a shirt or button featuring their street or avenue, they would look to make a positive change there so they could take greater pride in where they come from.

“A lot of people are ignorant of where they come from,” said Estrella, a Boynton Avenue resident. “Some people can live in a community for 20 or 30 years and still not know their neighbors. We were looking to bring a sense of unity to the community.”

The duo has been involved in various other projects as a way of giving back before they came up with the idea.

For instance, Estrella would offer live standup comedy shows at the Whitestone Multiplex, while Torres would teach dance and assist her sensei in teaching karate.

But in organizing block parties, they noticed that sense of pride in one’s community was missing and decided to do something to change that. Clothing was just a starting block, one that has gotten good feedback from those who purchase items on the company’s website, but in truth, Estrella and Torres, who are looking to win nonprofit status, are still developing the company and its mission.

Using the book We Took the Streets by Miguel Melendez as inspiration, the couple decided to go into the community and find out what needed to be done.

“We didn’t know what the first objective was,” Estrella said. “We were looking to create positive changes in the community, but we didn’t know where to start, so we went out to the streets. We surveyed the community … found out what they wanted.”.

The duo asked residents three questions:.
1) What changes would you like to see in your community?.
2) What can be improved from what already exists in your community?.
3) What community do you come from … what street are you representing?.

And both founding members answered those questions..

“The one thing I would like to see changed are the amounts of kids I see cursing and being disrespectful,” Torres said. “I want to bring the kids together to various events and start educating them about the streets. We need programs that will mentor kids.”.

For Estrella, financial literacy programs are needed..

And more. “I’ve moved out to Michigan and the suburbs of Queens before coming back to the Bronx, and I would like to see more trees planted to make all communities more aesthetically pleasing,” he said. “It would make neighborhoods look like neighborhoods, and I would like kids that graduate from fifth grade to plant trees together at the end of the school year so they can start taking pride in something they put into the community.” .

Both Bronxites also want to see residents have more access to nonprofit programs that can benefit them and as part of, are trying to compile a list of such programs so residents can discover what services are available near them..

The duo are also currently filming a television show called Underground Connections, which will feature a section called StreetsRMine, interviewing Bronxites, including famous Bronx personalities who have gone on to achieve great things..

Other plans include an expansion of the website, a presence at Bronx events such as the Annual Raising Kings and Queens Concert, additional block parties and a working relationship with Bronx politicians and community and business leaders to increase positive change in the communities..

“We are trying to be as effective as possible,” Estrella said. “ is our first stepping stone toward our ultimate goal of uniting everyone and making a positive impact in our communities.”.

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