Giving Tuesday, often stylized as #GivingTuesday for purposes of hashtag activism, refers to the Tuesday after U.S. Thanksgiving in the United States. It is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season. Giving Tuesday was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season (Black Friday and Cyber Monday).
In honor of #GivingTuesday, we are highlighting the folks of Queens Community House. QCH is a multi-site, multi-service settlement house that serves the diverse neighborhoods of Queens. QCH was formed in 1975 (as Forest Hills Community House) to help heal the wounds of a neighborhood conflict. They offer 45 programs at 25 program sites in the following Queens neighborhoods:
Long Island City, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Corona, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Kew Gardens, Jamaica, Ozone Park, Flushing, and Bayside.
Below is a list of the top 10 programs compiled by Jennifer Weil, Communications Coordinator at QCH.
JEN'S TOP TEN FAVE (AND TOTALLY FREE) QCH PROGRAMS:
1. Queens Center for Gay Seniors - This is a Senior Community Center where LGTBQ+ seniors feel welcome and receive recreation, a hot lunch, field trips and other incredible opportunities.They literally just climbed Mohank Mountain together! They have all the fun! We also have a similar programs for LGTBQ+ teens!
2. Our Social Adult Day Services Program - This program is particularly dear to my heart as it opens daily and offers support, social engagement, and therapeutic activities to older adults who are physically frail, socially isolated and/or memory-impaired.
3. Our Young Women's Leadership School - Everyday after school we teach middle school girls that they can do anything they put their mind to! Our girls recently competed in an Engineering competition where they placed 2nd! They are currently working on building their own robots! GIRL POWER!
4. Our Queens Connect Program - This amazing program trains out of school youth to become a part of the culinary field. After a six week program, they graduate with their safe food handler's license, many hours of in-kitchen training from an NYC chef, and placement in an internship where they work in a real NYC restaurant. Many of our graduates have gone on to open up their own business and become a part of the NYC culinary scene!
5. Our English Classes for Adults - We offer free classes three times a day to adults who want to learn English! Queens being the diverse place that it is - this is an incredible opportunity for so many people in our borough!
6. Our Immigration Counseling and Support programs - This important programs serves immigrants and their families - Carmen, the director (or as I call her Super Woman!) helps so many families get the information they need to become citizens, turn in documents, apply for DACA, etc. She had so many calls this past year her cell phone BROKE!
7. College Access and Success Program - We not only operate alternative highschool for students who don't fit the traditional mold of High School, but we also offer all kinds of College Access support with our CASP Program! Mentors and counselors help our students stay on track to graduate and apply to college. We have so many students in colleges across the country because of this program!
8. Friendly Visiting Program - I LOVE this program! Basically, any individual in our community can volunteer to be a "Friendly Visitor" to a home-bound senior. Meaning, that volunteer visits the senior weekly or bi-weekly just to hang out and chat. Maybe play games or take a walk. Many home-bound seniors are alone for most of the day, so this provides that perk in their day! We also deliver Meals of Wheels with FIVE vans a day barely covering our case load!
9. Teen Centers and Break Dancing - Our teen centers are open everyday until 10pm to allow for teens to have a safe space to socialize, play basketball, etc. One of the most popular teen programs we have is our Break Dancing programs! Breakers from ALL OVER THE WORLD come to our program to learn from our students and battle each other. We host events that pack our community center like no other program can!
10. And of course, a cause near and dear to my heart - our ELEVEN After School programs in Queens! I spent the last ten years in the After School world - so it warms my heart to know that over 10,000 kids have a safe place to go after school.
In short, Queens Community House is an amazing organization that does amazing things for the people in Queens, and they need your help to stay afloat, thriving on public donations.
If you'd like to donate today, click on the link below. Just remember, folks your neighbor benefits, you benefit, Queens benefits:
Words via wikipedia.org, qchnyc.org, Jennifer Weil & Adolfo Steve Vazquez Photo by Adolfo Steve Vazquez