In 1991 a group of life-long Brooklyn residents came together and committed to starting an all-volunteer youth program that primarily worked with disadvantaged and troubled youth from Brooklyn.
After a year of intense research, planning and fundraising the Horizons Youth Program offered its first program in the summer of 1992.
The program was a free instructional basketball camp & league for teenaged boys that served 80 youth from all over Brooklyn. The following summer the number of boys more then doubled and a girls program was added. The next year saw the continued growth of the basketball program and the addition of drama and soccer. By this point Horizons was offering some after school programing as well.
The goal of the original founders was to run their volunteer effort for four years, establish a strong program and then hand it over to another group of volunteers. However, they ended up running the program for six years, during which time they provided high quality programs for youth from all over Brooklyn including up to 400 young people in each of the last two years.
In 1998 the founders turned the program over to a new group of administrators. Unfortunately, they were only able to keep the program running for another two years. Recently, after much urging by Horizons alumni and other community members, the original founders along with some new supporters re-established Horizons.
Using a similar model that continued to attract young people through their passion for arts and athletics during the summer of 2010 the newly reformed Horizons Leadership Project offered an eight-week basketball program to a small group of middle school boys.
In the summer of 2011 the program expanded to offer a basketball program to middle school girls and a coed visual arts program. During 2012 after school programing was offered in the spring and high school aged participants joined Horizons in the existing programs and the new drama programs.
In all of these programs the young people spend more than 50% of their time working on academic and life-skills development in an effort to assist them in reaching their full potential in academics, work, and life. For many of these young people their schools are failing them, their health outcomes are startling dire, they are being engulfed in the school to prison pipeline, and increasingly they are unprepared to enter into the work force. In order to help them overcome these barriers and emerge as productive leaders in their fields of choice Horizons focuses on five distinct areas:
Academic Support & Enrichment Leadership Development Health & Fitness Critical Thinking Career Development