We have exciting news! This September, QCH will operate
two additional Beacon Programs in Queens. Beacons are school-based community centers designed to offer comprehensive support services for children, adults, and families while strengthening neighborhoods - a mission that goes hand in hand with that of Queens Community House.
In addition to the new Beacons -- at JHS 210/Elizabeth Blackwell School in Ozone Park and PS 149/Christa McAullife School in Jackson Heights -- QCH was awarded a renewed grant for the Beacon program at JHS 190/Russell Sage in Forest Hills, which we have operated since 1998.
The Beacon model was developed in NYC in 1990 and became the city's first after-school initiative to be replicated across the country. The model partners a community-based organization with a public school to create a community hub for after-school programming, teen leadership activities, financial and employment workshops, exercise and nutrition classes, ESOL, cultural celebrations, and more.
"Our Beacon programs are designed to engage youth, adults, and families in ways that encourage lifelong learning and strengthen peoples' connection to their neighborhood," says Helena Ku, QCH
Assoc. Executive Director. "Our Beacon in Forest Hills is known for its success in incorporating civic engagement opportunities for the youth, and we will replicate that component into the two new programs as well."
Adding two Beacons will enable us to bring QCH's broad array of services into these neighborhoods, while collaborating with other organizations to provide the services we cannot.
"QCH's organizational experience is extraordinarily appropriate for the Beacon program model," says QCH Executive Director, Ben Thomases. "Operating intergenerational community centers is what we do. We're excited to extend our reach to even more young people and families in Jackson Heights and Ozone Park."