In 1991, HCZ was among the first organizations in New York City to open a Beacon Center, partnering with a local public school to keep the building open in the evenings and on weekends to provide a safe haven for children and engage members of the community in enriching educational, cultural, and recreational programs. Our two Beacon Programs also run a much-needed, all-day camp for local youth over the summer and work closely with the community throughout the year to identify and address their needs, fully exemplifying HCZ’s “whatever it takes” approach to helping children and families.
The Countee Cullen Community Center
The Countee Cullen Community Center has served as an inspiration and model for programs across the nation. Countee Cullen works with children from kindergarten through high school, supporting them academically and offering them exposure to the arts, music video production, computer-based music, photography, and dance.
Always working to respond thoughtfully and thoroughly to the neighborhood’s needs, Countee Cullen opened a teen center so students would have a safe space to meet, get academic help, explore the arts, and engage in exercise. The center also helps teens get ready for the transition to college, offering test preparation, visits to college campuses, and internships that help them build both character and work experience.
For adults, Countee Cullen offers African dance and other fitness programs. It also organizes meetings for local leaders to discuss issues of central concern to the community.
The Booker T. Washington Beacon
The Booker T. Washington Beacon (BTW) aims to help students achieve academic success, while also helping them become healthier and more engaged in the world around them. In addition to providing homework help and tutoring, BTW employs specialized teaching artists, who introduce students to photography, video, and dance.
The Center also offers a wide range of programming for adults, including salsa, yoga, boot camp, Zumba, and nutrition classes, as well as GED classes and opportunities for neighbors to socialize and strengthen their relationships with one another and HCZ.