Washington Heights Facility
The Guardian Angels is seeking funding to continue and expand its community-based programs in Washington Heights – Inwood. These programs are delivered by the Angels and volunteers to local youth and adults (parents, senior citizens) through the Guardian Angels Community Service Center at 1370 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY. The programs emphasize education and steer youth to positive alternatives to drugs, gangs, and violence. Since its inception in 2003, the Center has grown exponentially in service delivery and in target population. Today, the Center is a fixture in this community, a highly-regarded and invaluable local outreach center, offering services to approximately 300 youth and adults at the center each week, and to hundreds more youth through school outreach programs. The Center operates with a small part-time staff and a cadre of volunteers, some of which are young adults who came through this program and attest to its value. It’s up and running 50 weeks a year, 6 days a week, after school and Saturdays and open longer hours as a camp in summers. Programs include martial arts classes, personal safety, homework assistance, nutrition, arts and crafts, games, community volunteer projects, cultural arts trips, computer activities, and movies.
Junior Guardian Angels
The Guardian Angels recognize not only the need to adequately protect the youth of society, but the vital role they play in this struggle for a safe community. That is the philosophy that informs The Junior Guardian Angels, an early prevention program for children from 6 to 15 which teaches values and instills a sense of purpose. The youngsters develop self-esteem through role-playing, verbal defense skills, and community projects that give them a sense of purpose. The Junior Guardian Angels program is administered at the Guardian Angels Community Service Center in Washington Heights.
With so much peer pressure to choose violence as a means of resolving disputes, this program exerts a strong, positive influence on the child’s development. It teaches each child how to make “correct” choices, and helps them to recognize that they have talents and interests that are of value. The program uses a variety of teaching tools to foster an appreciation and respect for each child’s neighborhood. Children are taught how they can function within their community to enhance their community.
Director Dennis Torres
Dennis “Super-Stretch” Torres is one of the original Guardian Angels, joining in 1979. He has been in the martial arts for over 35 years, winning karate championships, and is an inductee of several martial arts Halls Of Fame. Dennis has worked for the past 25 years with various community based organizations, senior citizen groups, youth groups, the NYC Board Of Education, and many gang & drug prevention programs. Super-Stretch is the Director of the Washington Heights & Inwood Guardian Angels Community Service Center and also leads several safety patrols on a weekly basis.