For 10 years, Baldwinite Dr. Zodelia Williams has tried to provide children and teenagers with a place of their own, something she says they need. “I see children all the time and they always seem to come for a safe space,” she said. There, the children could receive counseling, homework help, assistance on how to apply to college or just socialize and hang out with their peers.
But that space was never in the same location — Williams’ group, 3D’s Aftercare Inc., never had a permanent home and had to move from space to space. “We’ve used the Baldwin Park community center,” Williams said. “We were able to do stuff at the Percy Jackson Youth Center.”
Now, the students who call 3D’s a safe space will have a permanent home. Williams and community officials on Nov. 23 cut the ribbon on 3D’s Community Empowerment Center at 586 Seaman Ave.
A social worker with the New York City Department of Education, Williams said she wants the space to become a true community center. “I want it to be somewhere the community can go for whatever they need,” she said. “Just a safe space for anyone in the community.”
Town Councilman Anthony D’Esposito honored her goal and past work, saying on Facebook “By collaborating with organizations and community, the team at 3D’s Aftercare Inc. will not only mold our youth socially and intellectually, but enable them to visualize their future dreams, hopes and aspirations.”
3D’s offers a variety of programs, including mentorship of young children, afterschool care and narcolepsy awareness — Williams’ daughter, Daria, has narcolepsy. Williams hopes to bring more to the center, and is in the process of applying for a summer camp license. She said while afterschool help is a big part of what 3D’s does, it’s not the focus of the group. “It’s not only about the grades, but the socialization as well,” she said.
There are also plans for a teen café, a space where teenagers can socialize and play games, and present scholarships to various Baldwin High School students.
Williams is also a co-leader of the Baldwin-based Girl Scout Troop 2305.
3D’s is named after Williams’ three children — Dwight Jr., Danielle and Daria.