Tag Archives: youth development

Team Spotlight: Q&A with Linet Peña, Assistant Program Director, Flushing YABC

Linet Pena, LTW coordinator at Flushing YABC (Young Adult Borough Center)

Linet Pena, LTW coordinator at Flushing YABC (Young Adult Borough Center)Linet Peña’s official title is Assistant Program Director/Learning to Work (LTW) Coordinator. But that doesn’t even begin to convey the enormity of Linet’s undertakings, the intensity of her responsibilities, and the impact she makes, every single day.

Linet is what’s known as a primary contact at a transfer high school, Flushing Young Adult Borough Center (YABC), a school for over-age and under-credited students who are at risk of dropping out or previously had done so. A primary contact is a caring and qualified individual whom students can count on for guidance and support.

We say at The Child Center that it’s never too early or too late to change the trajectory of a life. That saying is true only because of people like Linet. Read this Q&A with Linet to find out how she does it and why. Continue reading

Christopher’s Story

Christopher, a graduate of Flushing Young Adult Borough Center (YABC)

During COVID, I worked construction during the day and did my schoolwork online in the nights.

When it was time to go back to regular [in-person] school, I didn’t want to go back. I was a senior, but I didn’t have enough credits to graduate on time. I wanted to drop out. But my guidance counselor, Mr. Baglio, told me, hey, would you like to join this program that helps you get your credits? He explained to me about Flushing YABC [Young Adult Borough Center at Flushing High School], which is a school for students like me.

At first, I didn’t want to hear anything about it. I was already working and didn’t want to do school anymore. But Mr. Baglio convinced me. He said they [the YABC staff] would support me and work with my schedule. I took the offer and went to YABC.

I’d get up at 5 a.m., go to my construction job, and then go to YABC right after at 3 p.m. It was killing me because I also had a night shift job. Eventually I got a job at a bagel shop—went in to work at 5 [a.m.], out by 2 [p.m.], went to school from 3-8:30. But I was struggling to pay my bills. I had a lot of difficulty around that time. I got kicked out of my house. In my culture, parents are often quick to judge and not really listen. I was going to give up on school. I was done.

The only thing that stopped me was Ms. Peña. Ms. Peña was my primary contact at YABC. Every single time I thought about dropping out, she’d remind me I was almost done. She’d say, Chris, you got this, don’t give up; you are going to finish high school. She was always there to listen and help me with solutions. When I told her about my job situation, she helped me find a job at FHS [Flushing High School] that fit into my schedule. It was a paid internship through the Learning to Work program. I worked with Mr. Max in the IT department of FHS doing inventory. He helped me develop business wise. I didn’t know how to communicate, how to speak to someone in an office. Now I’ve worked with a lot of staff at FHS. Teachers know me very well. I got a lot of respect from them, and they told me that they would help me with getting a job if I ever needed it.

Ms. Peña also helped me figure out what I wanted to do after high school. She had people come in to talk to us about different jobs, what they do day to day. There were people who had jobs in business, real estate … and a police officer. Becoming a police officer kind of hit me as something I want to do. He said that it’s always good just to help the community. A lot of Hispanic people don’t understand English very well, they need help sometimes, and it’s good to help the community. That’s something that interested me. He gave me ideas to organize myself a little better, talked about college. I took his advice. I decided to go to Queensborough Community College to study criminal justice. I’m starting my first semester now. I’m doing that!

I am where I am because of Ms. Peña. I cried to her when I graduated. I couldn’t believe I really did it!

I also want to thank Mr. Max. When I started in the technology room with Mr. Max, I was used to carpentry, not computers. I told him, I’m slow, you’re going to get frustrated with me. But he taught me everything. I took inventory on 500 computers! He taught me new things every day. It feels good to learn! I always thought, I’ll stick to construction, but you know what? It’s always good to learn.

To read more about Flushing YABC, see this Q&A with Program Director Jaimee Diehl and this spotlight on YABC’s career fair.

Update, October 2023: Christopher is now a first-year student at Queensborough Community College, and he sent us this update:

“My first semester of college was fun, but, at the same time, very stressful trying to fit in with a lot of new people. Most of my professors were nice and great at teaching. I just didn’t pass algebra and will have to retake it next semester. It’s fine. .. I think I learned [better] this semester! I got good grades aside from that. My second semester was much better. I met a lot of people, thanks to the soccer team.

I was able to represent the Tigers (Queensborough community college men’s soccer team) with number 23 this year, becoming QCC’s center back. Being part of this team really showed me a lot of things, from celebrating wins to also knowing how to lose as a team. There are many things that still must get fixed within the team, but we can work on that next semester. Honestly speaking, college can be fun when you make it fun, but it can also be a pain when you’re not doing what must be done. There’s a lot of things that need to be learned and worked on, one step at a time. My goal is finishing school with a criminology degree and to be able to join the NYPD. There’s still many steps to get there, but as long as it’s rolling towards that direction, I’m fine. Good things take a long time to make.”

Career Fair: Charting the Path Forward for Over-age and Under-credited Students at YABC

Students at YABC career fair

Students at YABC career fair

By Jaimee Diehl, Program Director, Young Adult Borough Center at Flushing High School

Last month, the Young Adult Borough Center (YABC) at Flushing High School in Queens held a career fair to get students excited about what comes after graduation, and to see their academics as part of a larger plan. Increasing high school graduation rates is a key goal of The Child Center of NY. Continue reading

Photo of the Month: Lunar New Year!

A P.S. 182 family attends The Met's Lunar New Year Festival

A P.S. 182 family attends The Met's Lunar New Year FestivalMeet Tahmid and M.D., students at P.S. 182 in Jamaica, Queens, and their parents Mohiuddin and Humaiara.

In honor of Lunar New Year, they, along with 60 members of the P.S. 182 community, attended The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Lunar New Year Festival. Together, students and their families celebrated the Year of the Rabbit with performances, interactive activities, and artist-led workshops for all ages.

P.S. 182 is what is known as a Community School. Continue reading

A Night with the NY Mets during Black History Month

Mets reps from the Black Professionals and LatinX Employee Resource Groups connect with Queens youth at our Basie Beacon program at M.S. 72

Introducing youth to new possibilities is a key way The Child Center of NY works to increase high school graduation rates — one of The Child Center’s central goals — and get young people excited about preparing for their future.

On February 5, The Child Center of NY collaborated with the NY Mets and the Queens District Attorney’s Office to host a career panel at our Basie Beacon Program at Catherine and Count Basie Middle School 72 in Jamaica. Continue reading


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