Expanding Summer Options for Teens 

Three young people stand in front of a mural of irregular blocks of peach pink blue and yellow

Beyoncé thumped out of the speakers. Staff and young people helped themselves to a full spread of barbecue, rice and beans and fried chicken. In the room next door, a lively pool game was underway. 

That’s how the Teen Expansion program at our Youth Center brought another summer of good times to a close.  

Teen Expansion is funded by the New York City Housing Authority to serve young people living in public housing at the Isaacs Houses and Holmes Towers. It runs on weekday evenings in the summer to provide a safe and enriching place to go. This year it offered a wide range of things to do, including cooking classes, a spelling bee, podcasting, a cupcake decorating contest, and a group project to paint a colorful, abstract mural on the wall. 

“The Spelling Bee was a highlight,” said Program Coordinator Yazmine Ortega. “Friendly competition is where the fun happens!” 

16-year-old Mikey came nearly every night. His highlights included field trips to the Wildwater Kingdom at Dorney Park and paintball at Area 53 in Brooklyn. He also liked playing games on the Youth Center’s Nintendo Switch.  

“They have a lot of activities,” he said. “It’s a really fun place to be at.”