As a community leader and CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, Shelton Haynes understands the importance of youth. As the future of the Roosevelt Island community, a small island located in the East River between Queens and Manhattan, the island’s children are an important part of Haynes’ view of the island’s potential. Now that the renovations to the youth center have been completed, Haynes recognizes that it’s the human element of the Youth Center that is having the strongest impact on the Island’s youth.
Understanding that the young people of the island are vital to his plans to revitalize the small community of 12,000, Shelton Haynes has made it his legacy project to undertake a 1.5-year renovation of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. Self-funded by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, the youth center received a $2.1 million upgrade so that it could accommodate more youth programs to help cut juvenile crime and improve outcomes for the island’s young people.
Shelton Haynes Has Big Dreams
But once the program had been considered, Shelton Haynes saw an opportunity for more. “I had bigger dreams for this program once I saw the potential. We expanded the scope of the use of the space,” Haynes stated in a recent interview. The island’s youth center has flourished under Haynes’ management. With renovations now completed, the youth center is safer and has better usability than it has had in the past.
Now featuring a learning kitchen, educational garden, music room, computer lab, gaming center, STEM lab, and activity room, the Youth Center has reopened to provide a range of educational, enrichment, and life skills opportunities for the island’s youth to learn about. Since that point, the Youth Center has hosted a range of activities, including biking, garden clubs, chess tournaments, and many other events.
RIOC Has a Wide Range of Programs
By partnering with other community groups, the Roosevelt Island Youth Center is able to offer a wider range of programs for the island’s youth. One of the organizations includes iDig2Learn, where organization members help children at the Youth Center in learning math, science, and healthy eating through the exploration of plant life.
Featuring a new multimedia theater that allows performing arts to be undertaken at the Youth Center, the facility provides not only traditional performing arts but also instruction in the latest filmmaking and podcasting technologies on the market. These skills allow the youth of the island to work towards media careers or entrepreneurship, giving them a promising future, something that Shelton Haynes understands will help grow the island’s potential in the future.
Giving Back To The Community
“This part of my job is the most exciting because we are giving back in a way that I couldn’t even imagine. I’m most proud of that,” Shelton Haynes mentioned in a recent interview. With this strong dedication to the island’s youth, Roosevelt Island has strong potential to maintain its small-town atmosphere and sense of community, despite its location between Queens and Manhattan in the heart of New York City.