Shana’s Story

I have been challenged with addiction for 10 years, and have been in and out of outpatient treatment and detox several times – but I would always relapse.

When I arrived at Morning Star, I was at the lowest point in my life. Things were spiraling out of control. My four children had been taken from me and placed in foster care with a family member. And then I learned that I was 5 months pregnant.

I arrived with the worst attitude in the world. I was just so angry all the time. But at Morning Star, I started to reflect and gain clarity. I realized that I was hurt and angry with myself. And that’s when the healing began. Everything had been a fight up to that point. But I had nowhere to run – I had to face my problems.

Morning Star helped save my life. They never gave up on me.

Every interaction with my counselor and every staff member helped prepare me to re-enter the world clean and ready to thrive.

I attended treatment 5 days a week, attended a medical assistant program, and became certified in a workforce development program for nontraditional roles for women. And I learned that I am worth it! From now on, I show up, set up, and remain teachable.

When my baby, Liliana, was born, I can’t express how much the onsite child care at Morning Star II helped in my recovery. It made it possible for me to go to treatment, attend school, and focus on me. The structure kept me accountable for being a parent and prepared e for the real world.

I knew I was finally on a path to a better life when I left Morning Star. The court saw the improvements in me, too, and my children came back home to me. I never thought that would happen. Today, thanks to Morning Star, I have a home and my family lives under one roof.

I still visit the program to let them know of my progress. My goal is to be fully self-supported. I know there will be obstacles ahead of me. But I am prepared to take it one day at a time.

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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

John Brown

"SCO has a direct impact on your neighbors." Learn More

Shana’s Story

Family First

Morning Star helped save my life. They never gave up on me. Learn More

Last year,


of children in our early education centers met or exceeded national literacy performance standards


of 12th graders in SCO's Family Foster Care program graduated high school, with 65% enrolled in post-secondary education