Bramoff to Lead SAFE in Sag Harbor

Brooke Bramoff speaks with her husband Eric prior to the Drug Free All-Stars basketball game against Pierson faculty in the high school gymnasium on Friday. Michael Heller photos.

Brooke Bramoff has been named the newest project coordinator for SAFE in Sag Harbor, the nonprofit that aims to educate community members about the dangers of substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors among area youth.

Brooke Bramoff, photographed prior to the Drug Free All-Stars basketball game against Pierson faculty in the high school gymnasium.

Ms. Bramoff, 39, was hired to take the position in mid-September and replaces Danielle Laibowitz, a Southampton resident who was hired in 2017 to replace the Coalition’s original coordinator Michelle Wilks.

For the Syracuse native, who is married to Sag Harbor School District Athletics/Wellness Director Eric Bramoff, the opportunity to work for SAFE in Sag Harbor returns her to roots in health education. A graduate of SUNY-Cortland, Ms. Bramoff is certified in kindergarten through 12th grade health education and was a middle school health educator in Syracuse for seven years before moving to the South Fork in 2014 when Mr. Bramoff, a Sag Harbor native, was hired to serve as the Athletic Director for the Bridgehampton School District. Choosing to spend a few years getting her sons, Dylan and Ethan, settled into their new home, when Ms. Bramoff heard about the opening with SAFE, she knew immediately it was the right fit.

“I have a real passion to try and keep kids on a health track, drug free and safe,” said Ms. Bramoff. “This was a way to be very much involved in that but outside of a traditional classroom setting.”

Members of the Pierson faculty compete against the Drug Free All-Stars for an audience of Pierson Middle School students in the high school gymnasium on Friday morning.

Ms. Bramoff has had to hit the ground running. SAFE in Sag Harbor formed out of the Sag Harbor Coalition, a group of parents and professionals dedicated to curbing substance abuse among local youth. The Coalition partnered with HUGS in order to gain nonprofit status, which allowed it to be eligible for the five-year, $625,000 federal grant it earned in 2015 through the Drug Free Communities program, which supports roughly 2,000 groups like SAFE. The organization has just entered its last year of grant funding and will be applying for a five-year extension Ms. Bramoff said in an interview on Tuesday.

“I am pretty confident that the work we have done already will lead us to a second, five-year grant,” she said. “Outside of working on the grant, my goals right now are really just to get into the community and the school and get everyone on the same page in terms of education and participation. We all need to have the same goal in mind: keeping the kids in our community safe.”

Ms. Bramoff also wants the group to be inclusive and viewed as an organization that wants to help and offer opportunity, not necessarily as a group that sits in judgement. The Drug Free All-Stars, a group of retired and semi-pro basketball players who promote good choices through basketball, performed an exhibition game with staff last Friday at Pierson Middle-High School, drawing a large crowd of students with strong messages about staying away from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. That kind of event, said Ms. Bramoff, supports the mission of a group like SAFE in a fun and engaging way students want to be a part of.

“It was great messaging and great interaction,” she said. “I think everyone, across the board, had a good time. The more we can get out information, be out there, the better we are going to be – whether it is through social media like Facebook, through events like that, or through pamphlets and PSAs that help parents understand what is out there.”

Being a parent of two students in the Sag Harbor School District — one in the elementary school and one in the high school — is something that will aid her work going forward, said Ms. Bramoff.

“I am around all the time and know a lot of parents and community members,” she said. “I think just having that connection to the community is really important. The interaction is easier, it is natural.”