Ross’ Story

Ross, a former student at SCO’s Westbrook Preparatory School, is a motivated and engaging young man who has Asperger syndrome. “I’m actually different from many people with Asperger’s in that I’m a very social guy,” says Ross. “On the other hand, sometimes I am unaware of other people’s feelings. I can be impulsive, and I do get overwhelmed. ”

Ross had difficulty adapting at his previous public school due to these challenges. However, Westbrook’s residential school setting gave Ross the opportunity to work on his social skills and develop strategies to help him avoid feeling overwhelmed.

One key element of life at Westbrook is the internship program. While students find comfort and build confidence living and learning with other teens who have similar challenges, they know that they need to prepare themselves to communicate and work well with all kinds of people. Ross’s first internship was at Sports Authority, and he held another at St. Brigid’s Elementary School Camp where he found talking with children about sports very rewarding.

His interest in sports led Ross to his next internship at WCWP 88.1 FM, the college radio station at CW Post. He ran the audio control sound board at sporting events, made guest appearances on a college sports talk show and researched sports information for use on air. He enjoyed his experience so much that he decided to study communications in college.

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CFL at Sunset Park High School

After School • Summer Camp • Youth Employment

Sunset Park High School is the neighborhood’s first and only high school, and as a key community partner, the Center provides meaningful supports to the school and its students year round.  SPHS teachers and staff from SCO’s Center for Family Life co-lead advisories and after school programs that enhance the strengths of each student, promote academic excellence and assist in youth employment.

Sunset Park HS teachers and CFL staff co-lead weekly Advisory Partnership groups that promote college readiness and foster inclusiveness and active participation in the school and community. This partnership ensures that every student is known and supported and all members of the school community are engaged in creating a positive school culture.

After School programming combines the resources of the Center’s After School Program, Youth Employment Program and “Life Lines” Community Arts Project with tutoring and clubs led by SPHS teachers to provide a rich menu of academic and arts enrichment, sports and recreation, community service, college readiness and career exploration activities. A five-day a week After-school Arts Program for students in grades 6-12 provides instruction in dance, acting, vocals, percussion, visual arts, and creative writing, along with daily homework assistance, computer access, and academic enrichment.  A High School Internship Program allows high school students to volunteer as intern staff in the after school program two afternoons per week.

The Summer Youth Employment Program offers summer jobs with employers throughout Brooklyn for youth ages 14-24. Worksites include local government agencies, libraries, hospitals and clinics, child care centers, summer day camps, senior centers and nursing homes, community organizations and retail firms.  A six-week Community Arts Summer Day Camp serves youth ages 10-15. Throughout the year, Performing and Visual Arts Troupes provide pre-professional skill development in theater, dance, music and visual art along with leadership training and opportunities for teens to conduct workshops and performances on family and community issues with a variety of populations.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Youth seeking after school, arts programming, summer day camp, and internships in the after school program

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Students in grades 9-12

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact the program at 718.840.1640

This program is associated with...

Center For Family Life

Our mission is to promote positive outcomes for children, adults and families in Sunset Park through the provision of a comprehensive range of neighborhood-based family and social services. Read More

Success Stories

Ross’ Story

Westbrook Preparatory School

“I’m actually different from many people with Asperger’s in that I’m a very social guy” Learn More

Adam Graves

"Garden of Dreams is the single most important thing we do.” Learn More

Last year,


of children in our early education centers met or exceeded goals for social-emotional development

We help


children get ready for kindergarten

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