North Shore Youth Council’s history can be traced back to the early 1980s. NSYC was born as a reactive movement to the rising statistics of substance abuse and teenage runaways on Long Island at the time. While steps were being taken on a national level to combat these and other issues, several Rocky Point community members recognized an immediate need to take action locally. Driven by the desire to save as many youth as they could from the often unpredictable and violent behaviors of phencyclidine, otherwise known as “PCP” or “angel dust,” as well as the grim reality of life on the streets, these individuals spawned an innovative model for youth prevention programming that continues to this day.
The founding members of the grassroots organization, Betty L. Hicks, Ann Henry, Mary E. Brower, and Irene Chirco, established NSYC to initially serve the Rocky Point School District. At the time, no such prevention programming of this type existed for youth in the North Shore area, and it was seen as especially beneficial for the community as a whole. NSYC was officially incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation on January 6, 1981. In its Certificate of Incorporation, NSYC listed its purposes:
To establish, coordinate, and implement educational, cultural, recreational, and social programs for the youth in the Rocky Point School District.
To encourage youth to participate in total community activities and programs.
To stimulate, encourage, and foster efforts, both public and private, to discuss, deal with, and resolve issues and problems concerning youth in the Rocky Point School District.
To encourage interaction and communication among current youth programs in the Rocky Point School District to ensure services are not duplicated.
To establish Family Life Education Programs to guide and support the family and its changing needs.
In its early days, the members of NSYC worked tirelessly to promote community involvement and outreached to many local newspapers and journalists to help promulgate their efforts. NSYC eventually began to expand its efforts and focused on offering additional information on drug and alcohol abuse and peer pressures. Through a linkage with the Town of Brookhaven Youth Bureau, NSYC worked to engage local parents to increase both the quantity and quality of youth services available to the North Shore area, arrange annual drug awareness presentations, establish parent and community councils to organize and disseminate information, and implement parent training workshops.
Through the years, NSYC began to recognize the need for additional resources for families, as the dynamic transitioned from a one-working-parent-household to a two-working-parents-household. By establishing new partnerships with neighboring school districts, elected officials, and working to obtain available federal funding, NSYC focused heavily on creating the bridge between the school, the community, and the home. With the implementation of comprehensive services like school age child care, Friday night recreation, open band nights, summer recreation, open gym events, peer-to-peer tutoring and mentoring, individual counseling, and more, NSYC pioneered a prevention model that flourishes today.