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The Queens Community House is committed to the personal growth of the diverse people it serves and to the creation of self-reliant, open and responsible communities. Established in the settlement house tradition, it embodies the core beliefs that all persons can and want to grow, and that all can contribute.
Natalie now frequents the Beacon’s teen center, where she plays games and sports and does her homework. “The Beacon is my safe haven. I am here all the time, usually until 9:00 p.m. at night on weekdays. I also come on Saturdays to the art and dance programs. I like the Beacon because there is always something new to do and because the staff members are awesome – they are always there for you, you can talk to them about anything.”
“My experiences at the Beacon have taught me so much about myself,” Natalie continued. “The center helps me with school and gives me confidence. There is also a lot of interaction among the different programs here, so we are like a big family.”
Natalie explained that the Beacon programs encourage students to ask questions and talk about their difficult issues, such as gang violence. Programs also raise awareness among youth about their neighborhood and the importance of community service. Natalie’s Leaders in Training program holds community events, including an annual Christmas extravaganza and a talent show, and organizes activities to raise awareness about improvements that can be made in the neighborhood. When she grows up, Natalie wants to continue working in the community as a speech and language therapist for children at the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation.
Natalie acknowledged that she is worried about the future of Beacon programs. “We have already gotten cuts. Trips have been cancelled, we don’t have any money for dance, and we can’t afford supplies for some of our projects. We don’t want to tell the young kids but they can tell. We are all very worried. We all hope our programs can continue – they are very important to us.”