Press Release: Children's Aid to Dedicate New Next Generation Center in the Bronx; New One-of-a-Kind Center Designed By and For Youth Members to Serve Teens Leaving Foster Care and Other Disconnected Youth, April 28, 2008
NEW YORK – On May 6th, The Children’s Aid Society will formally open its new Next Generation Center in the South Bronx, a state-of-the-art facility designed to serve teens leaving foster care and other disconnected youth.
Designed by and for the youth themselves, the Next Generation Center symbolizes Children’s Aid’s new approach to serving vulnerable youth ages 14 – 24 who are leaving, or have left, foster care; or who are neither in school nor working and lacking the basic skills, education and social support systems to make a successful transition into adulthood. The Center also serves community youth.
“By placing all the services and all the experts that these youth need in one beautiful center that was designed by the teens,” said C. Warren Moses, CEO of The Children’s Aid Society, “we have a youth-driven, one-stop shop with all the programs and supportive services together in one very welcoming environment.”
History of the Next Generation Center
Mayor Bloomberg’s commission on economic opportunity estimated in 2006 that over 200,000 young people in New York City are disconnected, that is, neither in school nor working and lacking basic skills. Concerned about the dearth of services for these youth in the Bronx and in New York City as a whole, Children’s Aid wanted to fill the void. In the summer of 2005, Children’s Aid convened a panel of youth to identify what support teens need and how to best make those available.
In response, Children’s Aid developed an array of services, all grounded in youth development principles and focused on personal responsibility, educational achievement, creative self-expression and youth empowerment. Staffed by a team of top professionals, the center welcomes older youth by day who are disconnected with education and employment, and by evening youth in school who desire the center’s youth-driven services and community.
Youth in the earlier, temporary Next Generation facilities consulted with the architects of the permanent center to guide them in designing the new space. The 10,000 square-foot facility includes large teaching classrooms, computer lab, sound studio, teaching kitchen, fitness room and an entrepreneurial café. Art classes, workshops in digital photography and in the culinary arts occur simultaneously with financial literacy classes, tutoring, legal services and housing assistance.
“We’ve also invested in a new electronic case management and tracking system so that we can monitor our members’ progress and create enhanced workshops to meet their evolving needs,” said Lynne Echenberg, Esq., the Next Generation Center’s director. “We’re looking forward to serving many more youth in our new center.”
The Children’s Aid Society’s Next Generation Center is located at 1522 Southern Boulevard (at 172nd St.), Bronx, NY 10460, 718-589-4441. Subway: 2 to 174th Street. Walk along Southern Boulevard to center at corner of 172nd Street. Visitors can take the 5 train to 149th Street-Grand Concourse and change there for the 2, which always stops at 174th Street.
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