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Beacons of Hope: New York City's School-Based Community Centers

NCJ Number
Date Published
16 pages
Publication Series
This paper profiles New York City's Beacon Community Center Program, which provides a variety of activities and services for particular communities served by a center.
In 1991 a New York City Mayoral Commission implemented the Beacon Community Center Program, which called for residents' input into the centers' development and management, so that activities and services could meet each community's particular needs. A basic principle is that neighborhoods should address overlapping needs of residents with an extensive, but integrated, variety of services rather than try piecemeal approaches to social problems. A primary mission of the 37 Beacons now in the city is to give residents, particularly youths, tools to help them avoid crime and violence and to solve community problems. Among the array of services and programs provided are mentoring, tutoring, employment training and counseling, and cultural and recreational activities. Many of these services are aimed at addressing the risk factors associated with crime and violence by strengthening protective factors, such as bonding with role models and developing healthy peer groups. Targeted efforts include antiviolence programs and campaigns, conflict resolution training, public education about drugs, substance abuse treatment, community beautification projects, and athletic activities that involve youths and local police officers. Characteristics of Beacons that make them promising include local control by residents, a comprehensive program for all ages, an emphasis on personal responsibility, and a safe environment where problems can be discussed and solved. 1 exhibit, 19 notes, and photographic illustrations

Date Published: January 1, 1996