Alayah’s Story

Alayah was always curious. When she saw something, she wouldn’t just take it at face value. She wanted to learn more. “How does that work?” “Why did that happen?” “What makes it do that?”

Her inquisitive nature was one of the traits that made her such a good student. She loves to learn and always has.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Alayah was at the top of her class. When she moved to New York, however, she risked having to repeat her junior year because some of her credits did not transfer.

Determined to graduate on time with her class, Alayah transferred to SCO’s East Brooklyn Community High School (EBCHS.) East Brooklyn is a transfer high school in partnership with SCO Family of Services and the New York City Department of Education. Students there can earn credits at an accelerated rate, so Alayah was able to earn her remaining junior credits and all of her senior credits in the same academic year.

Upon her arrival at EBCHS, Alayah had one goal: Go to college. She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen.

In the Spring of her senior year, Alayah’s EBCHS Advocate Counselor told her about a college scholarship available through Garden of Dreams, the Inspire Scholarship, and it’s substantial – $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) and a brand-new MacBook.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports to bring life-changing opportunities to young people in need. SCO Family of Services is one of their partner organizations.

When Alayah learned about the Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship, she jumped at the opportunity to apply. With a little help from her English teacher and a letter of recommendation from the EBCHS School Director, Alayah submitted her application.

Immersed in finishing out her senior year and applying to a myriad of colleges, Alayah received an email that she received a Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship! It was, in her words, an “Oh, my God! What a relief!” moment.

It really should come as no surprise. Her insatiable desire for knowledge made her the perfect candidate.

Alayah’s drive to go to college paid off. She was accepted into 16 colleges. Sixteen! In the end, Alayah chose North Carolina A&T University. It’s an excellent school and the people she talked to had great things to say about it.

Alayah plans to Major in Biology on the Pre-Med track, with a Minor in Psychology. She’d love to get into a top medical school and become a surgeon one day. She grew up helping to take care of people. It’s in her blood.

Alayah has set her goals high, but with her talent, drive and determination, she’s destined to achieve them all.

Congratulations, Alayah!

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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SCO Beacon 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 After School Program at MS 35 offers homework assistance, virtual gaming, DIY projects and dance for students in grades K-8. The program allows students to engage in activities that enrich their education, foster their academic achievement, and prepare them for future success. The After School Program is an essential resource for working families, providing a safe and enriching environment during out-of-school hours.

SCO’s 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

Alayah’s Story

Next Stop, College! Alayah O’Sullivan - East Brooklyn Community High School Class of 2022

Alayah was always curious. When she saw something, she wouldn’t just take it at face value. She wanted to learn more. “How does that work?” “Why did that happen?” “What makes it do that?” Her inquisitive nature was one of the traits that made her such a good student. She… Learn More

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

90%

of residents in our NYC shelters were successfully discharged to stable housing

100%

of eligible students at Westbrook Preparatory School passed the Regents exam on the first try

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