Mourning the loss and celebrating the legacy of our former staff member
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched us personally and painfully. Clients’ lives have been devastated. And we tragically have lost three staff members to the virus — beautiful, giving, and selfless individuals who dedicated their lives to service.
In April, we lost a very special young man, Jeremy Beddoe, to COVID. Jeremy was a Child Center legend. He grew up to know he wanted to serve. That is what he did, and he did it incredibly well, first at our former program at P.S. 188, then as Group Leader at the COMPASS afterschool program at P.S. 24, and later as Activity Specialist at Parsons Beacon in Flushing.
As Youth Development Vice President Amanda Etienne said, “Jeremy and his sister Crystal [Beddoe, Interim Acting Director of COMPASS P.S. 24] have served as Child Center YD staff for many, many years. The morning after he passed, I sat on the phone with [Parsons Director] Talia [Banks], laughing and crying about Jeremy’s fun days at Parsons. This is a hit to all of us.”
We mourn the loss of Jeremy deeply, but we also want to celebrate his legacy. His life inspired so many people when he was with us, and we know his memory will, too. We hope the below tributes to Jeremy will give a glimpse into the compassionate, wonderful person he was, and that it will inspire us all to do our best to serve others in whatever ways we can.
“I have never witnessed, in my lifetime, the close bond of a brother and sister, like that of Crystal and Jeremy. I met Jeremy about nine years ago, when he, Crystal, and a close friend of theirs, Christina, would come to P.S. 24 to watch and support our semi and end-of-the-year on-stage culminations.
Jeremy was always humble and unassuming. When he joined our team at P.S. 24, Jeremy had a commanding presence about himself, one that resonated with, “I am here to serve,” and indeed, he did just that. Jeremy was one to never compromise his expectations because he would do much more that required of him.
Jeremy had an astute way of connecting with youth, simply, leading by example. Whenever Jeremy would help a student who may have fallen off track, he would guide that student in the right direction. There were times when Jeremy had to correct a child, but he didn’t just correct that child, he would provide an explanation as to why. Those corrections were more of insights so that that child could learn from his/her mistakes. Well, one may ask the question, how did I know these things about Jeremy? I personally witnessed them myself. You see, when humility is bestowed upon someone, that person uses that quality to transcend it to others among the other innate qualities that person possesses. That is exactly what Jeremy would do. Moreover, when it’s bestowed upon youth, it’s even a greater accomplishment. After all, we are here to serve, and Jeremy, the messenger, has done his work…never in vain, for the beneficiaries of Jeremy’s gifts and talents are the youngsters he served. In short, his kindnesses to others were invaluable. He was a man of his word because he simply practiced what he preached.
“In the words of J.C. Watts, ‘Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.’
“That is exactly what Jeremy did…simply, a man of integrity!”
—Kenny Henderson, Program Coordinator, COMPASS at P.S. 24
“Jeremy Beddoe was an amazing person. At P.S. 24, he showed his passion to not only us, but also the children in the program. He was a positive role model in our participants’ lives. He touched many people along his journey on this earth. He never really knew how many people he touched.
“Jeremy became the brother I never had. He empowered not only our youth, but also our staff. He always put others before himself. He was a great person to vent to, a person to laugh with. Such a beautiful soul. I cherish the moments I had with Jeremy. I cherish the fact that I was able to call Jeremy a friend/brother. I am beyond grateful to have not only have been able to work alongside him, but also to see the amazing work and passion he put into his work with our youth. I will forever hold Jeremy close in my heart.”
—Nicole Freudenberg, Activity Specialist, COMPASS at P.S. 24
“When I first started with The Child Center of NY back in 2013, Jeremy was one of the first people I worked with. As a former participant of the program, I saw the passion and devotion that Jeremy had for the program and the dedication to improve the program for the students. I saw that many students looked up to Jeremy as a role model. I also looked up to Jeremy as a role model; I wanted to become the counselor he was. Whenever any student had a problem, one particular counselor that they would always look for was Jeremy. I remember the time that Jeremy had to move on to another program site. I remember the many upset students and counselors that day. Jeremy kept his promise to always come back and visit, even through his busy schedule.
“Jeremy also loved his family. I am very honored that I was able to work with both Jeremy and his sister, Crystal. I remember many moments of all of us working together, both during and outside of the program. I remember the time that Jeremy and I were actors for Crystal’s media project that she had to do for her class. We basically spent the whole day at the park trying to finish the scenes; of course, the scenes took a lot longer than they should have, due to our jokes and laughter. Jeremy will be missed by many, but let’s make sure he’s never forgotten.”
—Main Kong Koo, Activity Specialist, COMPASS at P.S. 24
“A kind, genuine, and happy soul. I felt that energy before even saying my first words to Jeremy. That energy never stopped or dwindled, either. I always felt happy around him, and I know he brought that around everyone else, too. I was blessed to even get to work with him and witness his creativity and how intellectual he was. I’ll never forget how he made others smile with his own smile, and I’ll miss that too. God bless.”
—Jonathan Mora, former Activity Specialist, COMPASS at P.S. 24
“Mr. Jeremy was a positive gentle giant. He always had kind words to say and a big heart. He would always check on the kids and see how they were doing and always made the kids have a good experience at The Child Center. He would walk around the lunch room, and when I saw him he reminded me of big Shaq. He was a humble, gentle soul, and he will be missed but not forgotten. RIP Mr. Jeremy.”
—Ajayi, former student, now a sixth grader
“I remember supervising Jeremy for about a year at Parsons Community School. Jeremy was a person dedicated to youth development. I would oftentimes see Jeremy talking, laughing, and joking with participants who weren’t considered to be the most popular in our program. I always saw great value in those interactions because by doing so, Jeremy validated those young people by simply listening to their stories. He is missed. SIP.”
—Ronell John, Assistant Program Director, Parsons Beacon
“Having Jeremy as a colleague was an absolute pleasure; I recall working closely with him during each of our respective electives as well as a few events held at Parsons. During his elective sessions, Jeremy seemed to have just as much excitement about his activities as he expected the children to have. It was evident to me that Jeremy was an individual who valued doing their job well. I also remember Jeremy as being ready and willing to help with whatever anyone asked of him. Only positive memories come to mind when I think of Jeremy, and I hope he rests easy.”
—Maya Ijeaku, former Activity Specialist, Parsons Beacon
“This is for my friend Jeremy.
Jeremy was an individual who I did not get to know as much as I wish I could. When I did get to speak to him at Parsons, he was a caring individual who was willing to step up when needed. He was, is, and will be always an example of a good person. May he rest in peace.”
—Evan Cuadrado, Program Coordinator, Parsons Beacon
“I feel blessed to have worked with and known Jeremy. His beautiful soul and positive attitude were always contagious! He always had a positive outlook on things, and he was such a team player. Jeremy also brought activities to Parsons that allowed participants who had interests in robotics. His patience and kindness made him so easy to be around. Jeremy is truly missed.”
—Talia Banks, Director, Parsons Beacon
“Jeremy was a kind and humble soul. Anyone who knew him was blessed by his quiet nature, which echoed a great sense of peace.”
—Jadae Johnson, Program Coordinator, Roosevelt Island Beacon at P.S./I.S. 217
“When I think of Jeremy, I think of a dedicated and loving man who put others first. One who all the kids and team loved, because he loved them. Like all the Beddoes who have blessed The Child Center, Jeremy exemplifies true service and the spirit of community. Even in his passing, he will continue to guide so many. Rest in Peace and Power, Jeremy! You are missed!”
—Nicholas Ferreira, Vice President, Youth Development
“Jeremy exemplified everything that makes The Child Center great. He was a relatable role model to the kids, who believed they could rise because Jeremy, with quiet confidence, believed in them. He was part of this family and we are all deeply saddened. The world is a better place with people like him in it and he will be missed. Our hearts go out to Crystal, his sister, who also is part of the Child Center family, and to the entire Beddoe family. May Jeremy’s good life be of some comfort to you, and may Jeremy rest in peace.”
—Traci Donnelly, Chief Executive Officer
“Jeremy Justin Anthony Beddoe was a caring, kind, and gentle giant. A quiet but deep young man, he really put his all into everything and everyone he was involved with, whether it was his job, church, family, or friends. He was an amazing young man who absolutely loved life. Though these last few years he was in and out of hospitals due to his autoimmune disease, he remained strong and resilient and kept his spirits up. He was always inspiring others in life and through his social media. One of the last messages he wrote was ‘..stay close to your friends, settle any quarrels you may have as tomorrow is not promised.’ Words we will forever carry with us.
“The Child Center of NY was his first real job and he enjoyed every minute of it. In the time he spent within the agency he was able to make a lot of friends, share his love of technology, and make an impact in many young students’ lives. Jeremy was a great son, brother, and friend, and he will be missed.
“The Beddoe family would like to send our love to the agency and his colleagues for continued support, prayers, and condolences. It means more to us than you would ever know. God Bless you all!”
—The Beddoe Family
If you have a memory to share about Jeremy, we invite you to share it with us in the comments section below. May Jeremy rest in peace and his legacy live on through all the many lives he touched.