New Community Center Honors Prince Joshua Avitto

The Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center (Photo by Lem Peterkin via Amsterdam News)

East New York residents turned out for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for The Prince Joshua Avitto Community Center, named after the 6-year-old boy stabbed to death in 2014 in an elevator at the Boulevard Houses. Amsterdam News’ Nayaba Arinde reports that on the morning of May 17, together with legislators, Mayor Bill de Blasio and first lady Chirlane McCray, the community gathered at 876 Schenck Ave., across the street from where “PJ” lived.

The center is the effort of Man Up!, Inc., which is headed by Andre T. Mitchell, in partnership with Good Shepherd Services.

“The community response has been amazing,” said Mitchell. “This is a brand-new, two-story $8.5 million building constructed from the ground up on an underutilized parking lot between Boulevard and Linden houses. We have had a soft opening for the past few weeks so they can see the services we have on offer. It is open to community and tenant groups. We have had everyone from the young people to the elders coming in all day, and they are very appreciative of a center in middle of their community because it has been very needed and necessary.”

Mitchell added, “In addition to programming through Man Up! and Good Shepherd, the center will have everything from legal services, to social services, media, arts and computer literacy services and sports.”

Go to Amsterdam News for more from Mitchell, and from Council members Charles and Inez Barron, who were “instrumental” in securing the funding and other support for the center.

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