Buffalo – New York State Assemblymember Jonathan D. Rivera announced, as part of the NYS Assembly’s Budget Initiatives process in which state grants are provided in support of services that benefit local communities, that $32,000 in state funding has been acquired for the Belle Center at 104 Maryland St. in Buffalo.
Since its inception, the Belle Center has been a refuge for at-risk youth within Buffalo’s West Side community and has provided invaluable services to its residents who otherwise may not have had access to such amenities.
The center’s Universal Pre-K and Child Care Center offers an innovative full day of learning with a certified teacher and support staff. Its programming offers nutritious meals, an enclosed playground, full-size gym, 5-lane lap pool with a certified lifeguard, locker rooms, multi-purpose rooms, indoor/outdoor basketball courts, art room, game room, and computer lab.
In addition to the center’s crucial youth services, which provides for children ages 5-12 and evening programs for ages 14-21, an Adult Education Program also helps participants to attain the fundamentals necessary to create a successful future.
As a result of the pandemic, the center’s budget for youth services has been placed under stress. The organization’s staff will rebuild its Positive Youth Development programming and will expand extended evening hours when at-risk youth are most vulnerable.
As the center fully reopens, it will also increase programming in phases for the age 14-21 demographic.
Lucy A. Candelario, Executive Director of the Belle Center said, “I am so grateful for Assemblymember Rivera’s support of the Belle Center’s work with youth. Our youth especially, have suffered under COVID-19. Thank you, Assemblymember Rivera for your support in procuring Office of Children and Family Services funding. These funds will help us meet the needs of West Side youth.”
Assemblymember Rivera said, “For years, the Belle Center has provided a safe environment for youth to participate in recreational activities. This funding will allow the center to continue its noteworthy and admirable mission to provide vital services for those youth who need it most within our community.”