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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Family Dynamics at MS 35

After School • Summer Camp • Beacon Community Center

SCO’s Beacon Community Center at MS35 provides school aged after school and summer programs as well as workshops, enrichment programs, recreational and fitness activities during evenings and weekends for community residents of all ages. The programs promote individual growth, support family life, create a sense of community, and welcome all children and adults living in the community.

SCO’s Family Dynamics After School Program at MS35 offers academic enrichment, homework assistance and weekly instruction in creative/visual arts, performing arts, STEM, literacy, and recreation. Run in partnership with the school and open to all members of the community, the program provides a safe environment where students engage in activities that enrich their education, foster their academic achievement, and prepare them for future success. Our school-based program is an essential resource for working families, providing a safe and enriching environment during out-of-school hours.

SCO’s Family Dynamics Summer Camp at MS35 provides a safe and engaging summer experience, where children can develop academic, creative and artistic abilities through art, music, film, dance and sports. Our camps equip young people with leadership development, character building, recreation, and academic enrichment, including STEM and literacy programs. On-site activities are combined with cultural, educational and recreational trips throughout New York City. The program is open to students in grades K-9. To assist working families, we offer an extended summer schedule 6 days a week that provides structured activities in the evenings and on Saturdays to keep children safe and involved.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

4th-5th graders at Brooklyn Brownstone School / 6th-8th graders at MS 35, and neighboring schools, needing after school. Families in the community needing summer camp. Brooklyn residents looking for free evening and weekend recreational activities

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

4th-8th graders for after school activities; K-9th grade for summer camp

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact the program director at 718-674-8320

Success Stories

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

Madelin, Omariano & Mariano

Baby & Me

“I get so much out of it. I don’t know what I’d do without Baby & Me.” Learn More

Last year, we placed

2,007

youth in employment, subsidized employment or internships

148

students in our transfer high schools who were at risk of dropping out graduated with a Regents diploma