For children and youth, in-person interactions, athletics and extracurricular activities are pivotal to achieving a balanced education. That’s why after school programs are so crucial to child development. 

Particularly in the time we are living in, with Covid-induced school closures always possible, after school activities are more important than ever before. 

Though there isn’t much that can be done in influencing or determining when, or if, schools will close or stay open throughout the rest of the pandemic, there are ways to mitigate the effects of remote learning and ensure children are spending some time interacting with their peers. Here are some groups that offer after school programs to keep children and young adults busy during this uncertain time.

RiseBoro Community Partnership Youth Offsite After School Programs

RiseBoro Youth Center from the Riseboro Instagram account.

For more than three decades, the youth and adult education and development programs at RiseBoro have provided the space for youth and adults to hone their skills in a supported environment. RiseBoro has five locations in Bushwick, which are all included below. To learn more, visit RiseBoro’s website. 

DYCD Discretionary Program (Zip Code: 11237)

In RiseBoro’s black and white photography classes, students will get a chance to develop and print their own pictures. Music lessons are provided on an individual basis to teach students the primary skills needed to play an instrument (guitar, piano, drums and bass) of their choice. Physical programs include basketball, volleyball and fitness activities. Programs are offered during the evenings and weekends at 1474 Gates Ave. 

Phone: 718-381-9653

Hours: Monday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m. 

Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Beacon/​Advantage/​Empire State Program at I.S. 562 (Zip Code: 11207)

Located at I.S. 296 at 125 Covert St., the Beacon/Advantage program provides activities all school year long. Elementary school children are assisted with homework and participate in recreational activities. Middle school students have the ability to construct their own schedules from the activities offered. This list of activities includes project-based literacy activities, STEM activities, physical activities, including dance, martial arts, yoga and more, and arts activities, including drama, sports journalism, song writing, music production, computer animation and more. Programming is offered to high school youth and adults during the evening hours. 

Phone: 718-919-4453

School year hours: For students ages six to 13, Monday to Friday from 3 to 6:30 p.m. 

For teens and adults: Monday to Friday from 6:30 to 10 p.m. 

All are welcome on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Summer camp hours: In July and August, Monday to Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The RiseBoro Sister S.A.G.E. group from the RiseBoro Instagram account

Compass After School Program at P.S. 86 (Zip Code: 11237)

At P.S. 86, academic instruction, STEM activities, workshops, individual and group counseling, recreational activities, theater arts activities, musical activities, homework assistance and tutoring are offered after school with a focus on empowerment and mentorship. Summer camp programs are also available with a focus on “educational, recreational and cultural enrichment.”

Phone: 718-573-4081

School year hours: Monday to Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. 

Summer camp hours: July and August from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Extended School Day/​Advantage Program at I.S. 349 (Zip Code: 11221)

Academic, creative, social-emotional and recreational activities are offered during I.S. 349’s after school program. Youth can create their own schedules from the activities offered. This includes project-based literacy activities, STEM activities, physical activities, including dance, martial arts, yoga and more, and arts activities, including drama, sports journalism, song writing, music production, computer animation and more. This program is only available to students in grades six through eight. 

Phone: 718-418-6389 ext. 316

Hours: Monday to Friday from 3 to 7 pm

School-based SONYC (Zip Code: 11237)

SONYC at All City Leadership Secondary School located along 1474 Gates Ave. provides middle school students with homework assistance, tutoring and the opportunity to participate in activities and clubs, including sports, STEM activities, creative writing, arts and crafts and more.

Phone: 718-381-9653

Email: [email protected] (Krystle Mercado)

Hours: from 2:15 to 5:15 p.m. (dates not specified)

Bushwick Leadership Center – El Puente (11221)

Bushwick’s El Puente performers from the El Puente Instagram account. 

Founded in 1982, this community center is focused on youth development within the greater context of community improvement. El Puente has a total of six leadership centers in North Brooklyn, one of which is in Bushwick, that offer a skill-based program with an emphasis on mentorships, academic enrichment and health and wellness. The Bushwick Leadership Center, located at 311 Central Ave., provides a safe and enriching community for youth between the ages of 13 and 21 and their families. El Puente’s year-round program focuses on “holistic leadership development,” which includes one-to-one mentoring and project-based learning while integrating social action.

Phone: 718-452-0404

Still Waters in a Storm (Zip Code: 11237)

Students from the Still Waters in a Storm Instagram account.

This one-room schoolhouse located at 286 Stanhope St. welcomes youth between the ages of five and 17 to practice their reading and writing skills in a safe environment. Though temporarily closed, classes are continuing online. Both youth and adults study a text together to read and discuss what they found inspiring. 

Phone: 646-579-5025

Email: [email protected]

Hope Gardens Community Center – Coalition for Hispanic Family Services (Zip Code: 11221)

Image from the Hope Gardens Community Center Instagram account

Hope Gardens, located at 422 Central Ave., provides a variety of activities within its after school, adult and summer programs. You can check out Hope Gardens’ gallery and videos on its website, but to keep up-to-date on the latest classes Hope Gardens is offering, be sure to follow its Instagram page. Some of Hope Gardens’ most recently added programs are dance classes for middle school and high school students, which happen every Monday evening, and photography workshops every Wednesday evening.

Phone: 347-452-3742

Big Green Theater – Bushwick Starr (Zip Code: 11237)

The Big Green Theater classroom from The Bushwick Starr Instagram account.

Initially established by The Bushwick Starr founders Noel Allain and Sue Kessler in partnership with Jeremy Pickard and eco-theater collective Superhero Clubhouse, Big Green Theater offers a digital rendering of after school creative classes that help elementary students find their creative voices through playwriting, the study of climate justice and participation in live performances. To learn more about the program, visit The Bushwick Starr at 419 Elder Street. 

Phone: 917-300-9538

Y Afterschool – North Brooklyn YMCA

After school at the YMCA from the Y Afterschool Instagram account

Along with aiding students with given coursework at school, Y Afterschool provides interactive classes where youth can socialize and develop critical thinking skills. The curriculum was created in a way that fosters health and recreation, builds confidence in youth and strengthens learning abilities. According to the Y’s website, the staff-to-student ratio is 1:10. The YMCA has two Bushwick locations that offer educational programs, recreational programs, volunteer and community service opportunities, outreach support groups, family events and holiday and summer camps at: 

YMCA Beacon Center at MS 347/349 at 35 Starr St. (Zip Code: 11221)

Hours: Every regular school day from 3 to 6 p.m.

For more information, contact the beacon director, Rick Rivera.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 718-947-0604

Eastern District YMCA Center at 125 Humboldt St. (Zip Code: 11206)

Hours: Every regular school day from 3 to 6 p.m.

For more information, contact the program director, Johnathan Serrano. 

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 718-782-8300

Free teen programs are also offered that focus on developing leadership skills, college prep, sports and youth empowerment. You can find a list of programs here

Bushwick United

Bushwick United hosts programs and workshops for preschool students and their families at all of the group’s eight locations. Along with lessons in math, science, social studies, language and literacy, social-emotional development and health, Bushwick United also provides speech, occupational and physical therapy and counseling for students with learning differences. Free workshops for parents include nutrition class, parenting class, financial workshops, asthma training, behavioral management workshops, autism information, children’s health needs and more. For more registration information, including the necessary documents to register, you can visit the website here. The eight locations are listed below:

136 Stanhope St., 11221

Phone: 718-443-0134 

331 Central Ave., 11221

Phone: 718-453-9040 

200 Central Ave., 11221

Phone: 718-5991877 

600 Hart St., 11221

Phone: 347-695-1562 

77 Wilson Ave., 11237

Phone: 718-821-2345 

178 Leonard St., 11206

Phone: 347-296-8152 

741 Flushing Ave., 11206

Phone: 347-497-3676 

243 South 2nd St., 2nd Floor, 11211

Phone: 718-388-3433 

Stagg Street Center for Children (Zip Code: 11206)

Sponsored by the Bushwick Improvement Society (BIS), Stagg Street Center, located at 77-83 Stagg St., strives to inspire long-term learning through the development of critical thinking skills. This includes fostering feelings of positivity in regards to learning, self-empowerment and cognitive development through activities. The center has a toddler program for those between the ages of two and three with a focus on relationships, competence, play, space and family engagement. Stagg Street’s Pre-K program gives children the age of four the head start to strengthen their academic skills, and the organization’s after school program for children aged between five and 12 supplements coursework and includes a wide array of activities in the areas of athletics, recreation, technology, arts and crafts, gardening, food and nutrition and more. You can see the documentation required here

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 718-388-1395

Featured image from the Y Afterschool Instagram account.

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