March 21st, 2012
Center for Hope celebrates one year serving local youth
Three Newburgh youths who enjoy the programs at the Center for Hope recently shared their experiences with the Orange County Legislature’s Human Services’ Committee. The students, seated from left to right, are Angelica Flowers, Maurice Johnson, and Lanya Longford.
Newburgh - A little more than a year after its grand opening, Orange County’s Newburgh-based Center for Hope is showing clear signs of positive results reported Orange County Commissioner of Social Services David Jolly at the February meeting of the Orange County Legislature’s Human Services Committee. To underscore the Commissioner’s message, three youths, a parent, and the Center for Hope’s Director, Isabel Rojas, made a presentation to the legislative committee.
Located in the heart of Newburgh at 280 Broadway, the Center for Hope is an educational and recreational program for at-risk youth and their families in the City of Newburgh funded by the County and operated in partnership with NHS Human Services. The Center is targeted at City youth ages 11 - 21 who are most vulnerable to the impacts of crime, violence, and gang activity. It offers a broad spectrum of educational and recreational opportunities, as well as athletic pursuits. A schedule of programs and events is also available for parents and guardians.
“The Center for Hope is my safe haven, a place to escape all the things that are happening on the street,” said 15 year old Angie Flowers.
Speaking to the legislative committee members, Director Rojas reported that the Center has 255 member youth. “Each day the Center opens its doors at 11 a.m. and most kids arrive by 3 p.m. for homework club. We are working toward creating a stronger commitment to education for all of our members,” said Rojas. “Homework club helps us enhance our young people’s academic performance by providing them with access to tutors who help them through the day’s homework assignments,” she continued. “This model appears to be working as we’ve seen improved academic performance from Center members.”
The Center for Hope is open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Recent efforts to enhance Saturday class schedules have resulted in increased attendance. The Center offers classes in a variety of areas including: arts, clay-mation, photography, creative writing, pottery, yoga, music and of course, academic areas such as math, reading, and science. To encourage reading and enhance the use of and awareness of technology in the Center, the reading group is currently using Barnes & Noble Nook e-readers made possible with support from Barnes & Noble’s Newburgh store location.
Recently, Mount Saint Mary College partnered with the Center for Hope to assign students mentors from the Colleges Higher Education Opportunity Program.
“As a result of the Center’s collaboration with MSMC, the young people are now gainfully employed, enjoying the satisfaction of earning a paycheck, and learning a valuable lesson while also being partnered with a mentor from the student body at the college,” said Commissioner Jolly.