Brooklyn Community Services Receives Youth Grant from Brooklyn Community Foundation to Empower Immigrant Youth in Coney Island

Brooklyn Community Services Outreaches to Coney Island’s First Generation Immigrant Youth Ages 14 - 18 to Join Youth Stand: Coney Island (YSCI) -- A Career, Education and Empowerment Program

Brooklyn, NY, December 16, 2015 --( The Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) teen empowerment program Youth Stand: Coney Island (YSCI) has been awarded a $30,000 Brooklyn Community Foundation Invest in Youth Grant that will enable BCS to increase participation in the program, particularly with youth from Coney Island’s immigrant Hispanic, Chinese and Pakistan communities.

YSCI is a program that engages young people in Coney Island ages 14 – 18 in activities to help them develop job skills, improve their academic performance and become leaders in their community. Youth from diverse, first-generation immigrant households are invited to enroll in the program, which includes both a workshop and paid internship component.

During the ten-week YSCI program, teens participate in paid internships, as well as service learning projects and weekly workshops on professional conduct, life skills, leadership and communication. The teens also focus on community issues they identify as pressing. Each young person will participate in individual counseling sessions with the staff. The program culminates in a graduation with an awards presentation.

YSCI has attracted many participants from Coney Island’s diverse neighborhoods. The program encourages teens to explore their own neighborhood and also break through cultural barriers with other youth. YSCI empowers youth to build meaningful relationships across ethnic divides. They learn to tackle the complex issues facing their community, while also gaining valuable work experiences through their internships. At the core of YSCI is the opportunity for youth’s voices to be heard as leaders in their communities.

Since 2014, YSCI has served Coney Island teens whose families were impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The program addresses issues such as: high levels of neighborhood violence; the fact that many families, particularly undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for federal assistance, have still not recovered economically or psychologically from devastating losses during the storm; and the severely under-resourced nature of Coney Island, even relative to other low-income areas of New York City.

The Coney Island community, in particular, faces such persistent challenges as high rates of poverty and unemployment, food insecurity, scarcity of affordable housing, and poor overall health outcomes. According to U.S. Census 2013 estimates, 23 percent of all Brooklynites, including 33 percent of Brooklyn children, live in poverty.

Youth Stand: Coney Island was one of 54 new grants that were presented by the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Invest in Youth Grantmaking Program. The grants totaled $1.54 million. The Foundation, the first and only dedicated to New York City’s largest borough, launched Invest in Youth in May 2015 with a 10-year, $25 million commitment to improving social and economic opportunities and outcomes for 16- to 24-year-olds, particularly young people of color.

“Brooklyn Community Services would like to thank Brooklyn Community Foundation for its support of our teen program Youth Stand: Coney Island. This grant will open new opportunities for Coney Island’s immigrant youth to become the leaders of their community for tomorrow,” said Marla Simpson, Executive Director, BCS. “These funds also help BCS as we continue to find new and better ways to serve and empower this multi-ethnic community.”

For more information on Brooklyn Community Services’ Youth Stand: Coney Island, please contact 347-292-3060 or

About Brooklyn Community Services

Brooklyn Community Services (BCS) celebrates the strength of the human spirit. Our mission is to empower at-risk children, youth, adults and families through comprehensive and holistic services: early childhood education; youth development services and educationally rich after-school programs; counseling for at-risk families; treatment, recovery and job training to support the life goals of adults living with mental illness; person-centered rehabilitation and community living support for adults with developmental disabilities and disaster recovery case management and relief services. With a staff of over 400 and 21 sites around the borough, BCS serves over 12,000 people every year. Today, BCS is one of the oldest not-for-profit, non-sectarian social service providers in New York City. In 2016, BCS celebrates our 150th anniversary in ensuring the opportunity for all to learn, grow and contribute to ONE Brooklyn Community.
Brooklyn Community Services
Fern Gillespie