Beam Center's mission is to crystallize self-directed growth in youth through ambitious, collaborative project-making. We use traditional and advanced tools, technologies, and craft to honor the individual voice, celebrate the joy of producing something larger than ourselves, and inspire lasting wonder. Our programs support youth to take bold steps towards personally meaningful futures and foster conditions for educational equity.
Beam Center builds together with NYC youth, artists, engineers, makers and educators on projects that are rooted in real-world issues and opportunities. Young people learn to collaborate and create while learning skills in woodworking, physical computing, 2D/3D fabrication, textiles, video production, coding, and design. Beam projects help young people build their character and self-esteem, stay on track to graduate, develop skills that are crucial in today's workplace, and prepare for a life of continual learning and meaningful action.
We now work with over 6,000 students from diverse populations each year and support over 200 educators from 25 public schools across NYC to transform approaches to education. Over 90% of Beam youth are low-income, Black, Latinx or newly immigrated, and the vast majority of our partner schools are 80-100% free-lunch eligible; many have high rates of English Language Learners or students with learning challenges (IEPs). We have had remarkable success with students who have struggled in traditional school settings.