NYC Beacons Youth & Adult Programs

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Program Description

Beacons programs are school-based community centers serving children age 6 and older and adults. There are currently 80 Beacons located throughout the five boroughs of New York City, operating in the afternoons and evenings, on weekends, during school holidays and vacation periods, including the summer.

Youth Programs
Beacon youth programs are designed to help participants acquire the skills and attitudes they need to graduate from high school, succeed in their chosen career, and give back to the community. Typical programs are intended to build:

  • Academic Enhancement: Activities designed to help with school including tutoring, homework help, reading clubs, and financial literacy
  • Life Skills: Activities designed to increase personal responsibility, self esteem and confidence.
  • Career Awareness/School to Work Transition: Activities designed to educate young people on career opportunities and assist with the transition to work or higher education. Activities include career exploration workshops, work readiness opportunities, help transitioning from middle school to high school and from high school to college/vocational programs.
  • Civic Engagement/Community Building: Activities designed to strengthen leadership skills, community awareness and civic responsibility. 
  • Recreation/Health & Fitness: Activities designed to promote healthy lifestyles such as cooking programs and organized sports.
  • Culture/Art: Activities designed to provide students with opportunities to express themselves through music, dance, photography and drama.

Adult Programs
Beacon adult programs are designed to enhance skills and promote social interaction, community engagement, and physical activity. Typical adult programs include:

  • Adult Basic Education (ABE)
  • General Educational Development (GED)
  • English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
  • Parenting Skills
  • Family Relations
  • Tenant Education and Advocacy
  • Intergenerational Activities
  • Recreation

New York's Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)

Strategies for sustainability

DYCD is committed to building and expanding on partnerships that generate innovative and practical programs for youth, their families and communities. DYCD is also the designated Community Action Agency for New York City, which is the local grantee for the Federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG). CSBG funding supports a wide variety of programs that address the conditions of poverty.

Impact of program

DYCD supports New York City youth and their families by funding a wide range of high-quality youth and community development programs, including:

  • Beacon Community Centers 
  • Cornerstone Community Centers 
  • Fatherhood Initiative
  • Immigration services 
  • Jobs and Internships for Youth 
  • Literacy Programs for Adults and Adolescents
  • Out-of-School Time Initiative 
  • Runaway and Homeless Youth services 
  • Summer Youth Employment Program
Evaluation tools


Key elements towards success

The Department of Youth and Community Development funds local community-based organizations to provide services that promote positive youth development and strong, healthy communities. 

Challenges to meet them

Among our most significant achievements of the last two years has been preserving and increasing funding for programs despite limited resources during very challenging financial times.
DYCD is particularly excited about the recent expansion of our Out-of-School Time (OST), Cornerstone, and Immigrant Services and Literacy initiatives.

Length & stage of project

The Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) was created in 1996 to provide the City of New York with high-quality youth and family programming.