The corner of Carroll Avenue and Quebec Terrace is known for many things—traffic, noise, pedestrian endangerment, but it’s also known for the YMCA haven that overlooks this busy intersection where youth from a dozen countries are growing up together.
In this neighborhood peopled mostly with immigrant families, the Youth & Family Services YMCA Carroll Ave/Quebec Terrace community center—CAQT to everyone who goes there—offers homework help, parent education workshops, and trips to ball games, museums and beach picnics to the diverse neighbors. For over twenty-five years, the Y has been a second home to the school age children of this community. And every year, the center adds new experiences for youth from families who struggle to provide necessities but want their children to achieve great things in school and life. This year, a group of middle school boys met at CAQT weekly to learn how to DJ (music disc jockey for those of a certain age). In addition to learning volume control, beat matching and the skill of cross fading, these young men found a support group and created a circle of peers where they felt safe bringing up their hopes, fears, and problems. By participating in community service projects, they were able to practice teamwork. These youth are focused on their futures and learning how to commit themselves to their personal goals. If you hear music coming from CAQT, it may be the young DJ’s practicing their craft.