Jasmine’s Story

I entered foster care at 16 years old and was placed in the home of “Aunt” Nessa, as I liked to call her. Few people knew of my situation; it was our little secret. I was embarrassed by the family dysfunction that led me to this strange place in my life, and with the support of my SCO caseworkers, I realized that education was my way out.

My goal was to attend Spelman College. I faced some naysayers; guidance counselors who said it was too expensive, others who felt I would never get in. But my SCO caseworkers and staff supported my decision. They stayed on top of me, making sure I filled out every document and scholarship. It was the staff’s unwavering support and positive reinforcement that sustained me.

I was accepted to Spelman with scholarships from several organizations as well as financial support from SCO’s education and permanency program, which helped me afford my housing.

But that was just the start of my journey. During summer break, I earned an internship volunteering with foster youth and their families through AmeriCorps that changed my life. I didn’t want any special treatment, so no one at my job was aware of my status as a foster youth. But as I worked in the family visiting room, much like a fly on the wall, I watched young people about my age visiting with the children they had lost custody of, some pregnant again. I saw a vicious cycle happening before my eyes.

It was that summer I realized that as a woman of color, as a foster youth, and as a human being who just cares, it would be a disservice if I didn’t take advantage of my unique pairing of lived experiences and desire to affect change.

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need.

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Brooklyn Youth Center

Located in Brownsville, the Brooklyn Youth Center provides a wide array of services to run away and homeless youth throughout the borough of Brooklyn. Youth Center staff provide crisis intervention, counseling and mediation as well as services to help youth pursue educational and career goals and develop independent living skills.

We treat all youth and their families with dignity, respect, privacy, and utmost confidentiality. ALL SERVICES ARE FREE. NO APPOINTMENT NECESSARY.

Call our Hotline for help:  877-4-DROP-IN • (877-437-6746)   Read our Brochure»

  • Case management
  • Emergency shelter referrals and advocacy for transitional housing
  • Family mediation
  • Mental health
  • Health and substance abuse treatment referrals
  • Hygiene assistance
  • Food and emergency clothing
  • Homeless prevention services
  • Assessment and referrals
  • Youth and family resources
  • Public education and awareness of the NYC DYCD continuum of services for runaway and homeless youth
  • Application assistance for NY/NY III supportive housing

Hours:
Open 24/7

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Young men and women in Brooklyn who are runaway or homeless

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Young men and women who have already reached the age of 14, but are not yet 25 years old

How to Access this Program or Service

Call our Hotline at 877-4-DROP-IN (877-437-6746).  Or call 311/DYCD Youth Connect (1-800-246-4646 or 646-343-6800)

Success Stories

Marissa

Bronx Arena High School

"She made me feel good about myself." Learn More

Jasmine’s Story

From Foster Care to Advocate

Today, I am at Teachers College Columbia University earning my Masters in Clinical Psychology on a full scholarship, so that I, too, can be a source of support for youth in need. Learn More

We inspire

9,900

children and teens through academic, after-school, summer and work readiness programs

91%

of women in our residential recovery program remained substance free

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