Assemblywoman Nily Rozic Steps Up for The Child Center and Our Parsons Beacon Community Center in Flushing
When 12-year-old Rose saw the big cardboard check for $25,000 from her local Assemblywoman, Nily Rozic, to the Parsons Beacon community center she attends for afterschool programming, her eyes widened and her body shifted forward in her chair. “That’s a lot of money!” she said. She immediately began thinking of all the things the center could do with the money to help youth like herself, and also her fellow community members of all ages.
Parsons Beacon, operated by The Child Center of NY, is a youth and community development center that serves as a hub for children, teens, and adults. Our goal is to provide a safe and fun place for community members to come together, and to provide them with a healthy, enriching environment through education, recreation, and the arts. We work especially with young people to build character and set lifelong goals.
Assemblywoman Rozic has been a steadfast supporter of Parsons Beacon, and on October 29, she came to the center to personally announce $25,000 in funding to help sustain a wide variety of programming, including leadership and civics, college and career readiness, and STEM.
“She asked the students questions, like, ‘Who knows where the capital of New York State is?’ And she talked to them about the importance of their program,” says Beacon Director Talia Banks. “She helped them understand who she was as an Assemblywoman and the role she plays. She was really genuine. It feels good to have the support of someone who truly supports what we do. With support like this, we are able to provide our youth, their families, and members of the community with the services and resources they need. I know I speak for all of our community members in saying, ‘Thank you, Assemblywoman Rozic!’”
About 45 elementary, middle school, and high school Parsons participants showed up for the event, along with Principal Tara Mrwik; Child Center Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Community Engagement Deep Ghosh; Senior Program Director Roxy Stark; and Beacon Director Talia Banks.
Banks noted that young people of the community will have a say in how the money is used, as the students of the Parsons Beacon Youth Council will be involved in the decision-making.
The Youth Council is a group of middle and high school students who meet regularly to discuss matters affecting afterschool. Through research, debate, and even participation in events like the DYCD Young Citizens Conference, students gain valuable experience with advocacy work.
Banks reports that word has already spread through the community that the Youth Council will be involved, and it’s gotten other youth to become interested in joining the Council—which is something Banks celebrates.
“Youth voice makes afterschool more enjoyable,” Banks says. “Young people appreciate when they feel heard, and the Youth Council is a great way to learn how to make your voice heard effectively.”
Parsons Beacon holds a special place in Child Center history: On December 28, 1998, Parsons became The Child Center’s first Beacon program, with nine participants and donated supplies and games. Today, The Child Center operates nine Beacon and Cornerstone programs in Queens and Manhattan. These programs embody The Child Center’s core vision that children don’t grow in isolation, but rather as a part of families and communities—and uplifting both is essential to children’s development.
“For a community center to be truly effective, the whole community needs to be invested in it, and that is why it is so encouraging to see a leader like Assemblywoman Rozic support the Beacon Center at the Parsons School,” Child Center CEO Traci Donnelly said ahead of Rozic’s presentation. “The funding the Assemblywoman is announcing today will go a long way to help children and families in Flushing get the opportunities they want and deserve. We could not provide the type of services we do without the help of committed partners like our Assemblywoman, and we are grateful for her efforts.”
“From extracurricular activities to parental support services, Beacon Programs provide an invaluable benefit to students and families across the city,” Rozic said in a statement. “It is with great pleasure that I can support our very own Beacon Program at the Parsons Community School, which has transformed into a vital space for expanded learning and opportunity.”