King Towers Community Center keeping teens out of the streets by celebrating and giving back for Earth Day

By: Mac-Dege Dessources

The King Towers Community Center is located in Harlem. They have been here for years taking care of the communities children from generation to generation. Since COVID hit New York the center was shut down for a couple of months causing kids to either stay home or find things to do outside. The center opening back up was a challenge according to the director, Iesha Lewis. “During the months of us being closed, I would see teens staying out late, fighting, or even starting up trouble. The center gives them the opportunity to change that.” During my stay in the center teens, parents, and little children have gathered up to celebrate Earth Day and give back essential materials to the community like mask, sanitizer, and etc.

Teens were directed into a room where they were able to draw their favorite animals. In the picture the teens names are Hassan, Abdoul, and Mamadou. Before they were given papers, they had a worker explain how when we treat our world terribly it affects the animals we like as well. They listened as they were drawing and realized that littering, and etc leads to pollution. After drawing their masterpieces it was hung up on the wall so that every time they visited they would see their work. Photo by Mac-Dege Dessources
The teens names from left to right are Moussa, Adrian, Elhadj, Mamadou, Zoumana, Hassan, and Abdoul. They were observing the safari the staff have built for people to walk around and explore. While being guided in the tour they came across a room that helped them understand the importance of recycling. When asked what recycling meant to them half of them could not answer. The staff member in the picture helped them know the difference in just throwing trash and recycling. Photo by Mac-Dege Dessources
The teens are so used to just going outside with their friends playing basketball until the day was over. “School is on my laptop now so I don’t do much. To keep myself from the game I just hang out with my bros” stated Abdoul. This was a fun experience to him because he was able to be hands on and paint his name on something that would be seen by others. The teens jumped on the opportunity of leaving a mark on something that was positive and helped spread encouragement to others. Photo by Mac-Dege Dessources
A man named Corey Harris, from the community wanted to give back but did not know how. He brought his extra food and supplies to the center hoping that Earth Day would be a great opportunity to give away free food. Of course the center supported his idea and gave him chance to work with the teens. Hussein, Elhadj, and Zoumana helped hand the essentials in the community. “It was cool knowing that I probably helped a family who was in need.” Zoumana stated.

The center continuously gives the youth another direction when it comes to being apart of the community. Opening daily helping them find jobs, hobbies, and the time to be with their friends without having to worry of something bad happening. King Towers Community is still open ready to take anyone from any age- hoping to spread love and positivity throughout the community.

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