In 2001, when the Action Center entered the scene, the Rockaways was home to some of the highest rates for poverty, drug abuse, health disparities, low educational attainment and academic failure.
This disadvantaged urban community was entrenched with the irritants of adversity brought on by the painful invasion of gangs, displacement, homelessness, foster care and prison generational recidivism. It was viewed by most as a fertile ground for EPIC failure. However, The Action Center made the choice to view the Rockaway’s as a breeding ground for pearls.
We feel that the similarities between pearls and the potential within our children are striking. A pearl is the only natural gemstone that can be made in a human lifetime. And our children are truly jewels. When sand or dirt makes its way inside the shell of the oyster, it coats it over and over again and creates a beautiful pearl. Much as the protective layers we as parents and the Action Center as an agency utilizes to address the challenges within our community.
To that end we made it our mission to help the people we serve find their pathways to becoming the pearls they were meant to be, to turn adversity into beauty, irritation into art. They illustrate, in the same way as Action Center children and families do, that even the worst and most painful invasions; drugs, poverty, gangs, and despair; can be addressed and turned into becoming something of healing artistry and a glowing example of a mortal threat transformed into magnificence.