The Y has been an integral part of Chinatown and the Lower East Side since the 1970's. For more than four decades, the facility at 100 Hester Street has continuously served these dynamic communities with a rich variety of programs for people of all ages.
In 1993, the Chinatown YMCA received one of the first grants from the New York City Department of Youth Services to create a "Beacon" center, which currently operates at MS 131 in collaboration with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Beacons are public elementary and intermediate schools that double as community-based organizations after school hours and on the weekends to provide children and adults with a safe and fun environment. Today, there are currently 80 Beacons located throughout New York City. The Beacon Center at MS 131 provides community access to a wide variety of school-based educational, recreational and counseling services and creates a safe haven and nurturing environment for neighborhood youth and adults in lower Manhattan, with an emphasis for the Chinatown and Lower East Side communities.
More recently, the Y responded to an increasing demand in both Chinatown and the Lower East Side for increased healthy lifestyles programming, and launched its new Houston Street Center, located on the Bowery, in 2006. Since it opened, the center has quickly become a neighborhood "hot spot," with state-of-the-art recreational and educational facilities. From swimming and fitness programs to after-school and older adult programs and community events, the Houston Street Center has become a new hub in one of New York's most historic and diverse neighborhoods.
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