The Block Center | Come Build With Us!


Block Members attended the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Day of Action in Albany

Two members of The Block Center’s Social Justice Team attended the NYCLU’s Day of Action in Albany today. The purpose of the event was to give community members an opportunity to speak directly with their state representatives about issues effecting our rights as New Yorkers.

Diamond Owens and Sha’Quan Jenkins met with Assemblyman John McDonald, and members of Senator Neil Breslin’s staff to discuss bills that seek to increase police accountability, extend civil rights to students in public schools, and increase state funding for public defenders.

Don’t Block the Truth: Take a Stand Against Teen Dating Violence


On Wednesday, March 1st, The Block Center hosted Don’t Block the Truth: Take a Stand Against Teen Dating Violence at the Troy Boys and Girls Club. Unity House, Inc.’s Domestic Violence Program, Samaritan Hospital’s Sexual Assault and Crime Victims Program, and Troy High School’s WAVE club provided workshops and resources for interested community members.

Notable speakers included Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel E. Abelove, who shared his professional experiences and urged victims to seek out help, and hip-hop artist Var Da Allstar, a native of Albany, who shared the story of his family’s tragic experience with domestic violence which took his sister’s life, who encouraged attendees to take the issue seriously in their own lives and communities.

Event participants took part in five workshops stationed around the gymnasium. “Boundaries and Consent” was presented by Samaritan Hospital SACVAP, “Positive Teen Sexual Health” by Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, “Youth as Activists” and “The Intersection of Teen Domestic Violence and LGBTQ” by Troy High School WAVE, and “Men as Allies,” by The Block Center.

Event organizer Sarah McGaughnea, High Risk Project Coordinator at Unity House Domestic Violence, declared the event a success and shared that the organizations involved plan to meet quarterly to organize further events and partner to engage Troy area youth in the effort to stop domestic violence.

Individuals in the Troy area looking for services related to domestic violence, or education about DV, healthy relationships, sexual health, or youth-related issues, are encouraged to contact these participating organizations:

Unity House Domestic Violence Program:

Samaritan Hospital Sexual Assault Crime Victims Program:

The Block Center:




Troy Record: “Troy Boys and Girls Club volunteer Helping Everyone Recognize Opportunity”


A great article by Pamela Reese Finch about our co-founder, Jerry Ford, Team H.E.R.O., and The Block Center.

“Everything points back to the youth,” Ford said. “I know at 14-years-old, these kids are making choices that can change their entire life. It’s like the Whitney Houston song,” Ford said. “I believe that children are our future because without the children, what hope do we have.”

The Block Center provides teenagers a foundation through intentional programming. “Our block is designed to build good character,” he explained. “Our programs focus on respect, accountability, commitment, honor, action, credibility, trust, ethics and resilience.”

Today more than 100 teenagers learn skills like effective communication, the importance of civic involvement, mentoring and good citizenship, spending time learning how to build a resume, mentoring and taking college tours.

Don’t Block the Truth: Take a Stand Against Teen Dating Violence


The Don’t Block the Truth series of free community events will continue next week on Wednesday, March 1st from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Troy Boys and Girls Club! All members of the community are invited to attend.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that among high school students who are dating, 21% of females and 10% of males report that they have experienced physical or sexual violence in their relationship.

At The Block Center, we believe teen dating violence is a serious problem our community can work together to stop. We need to raise awareness about the issue and help our young people understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships early on, so that they can avoid these problems before they start.

We are proud to partner with Unity House, Samaritan Hospital, Troy High School WAVE, CEO YouthBuild, and the Troy Boys and Girls club to present the event, which will be appropriate for all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Everyone is welcome!

Troy Boys and Girls Club Black History Month Film Series: The Mask You Live In

Please join us at the Troy Boys and Girls Club this Friday, Feb. 17th from 6:00-8:00 PM for a free showing of “The Mask You Live In,” a documentary film that explores the idea of what it means to be a man in todays world.the-mask-you-live-in-film-by-jennifer-siebel-newsom-poster

Troy Boys and Girls Club Black History Month Motivational Film Series: 13th

Please join us for a free film showing and discussion this Friday, February 10th @ 6:00 PM.


Ava DuVernay’s 13th explores the mass incarceration and criminalization of African Americans over the past fifty years. It raises important questions about our country and society in the era since the glory days of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. The filmmaker views her documentary as a call to action:

After you see 13th, silence in this case is consent. You know all of this. You’re a forward-thinking person, you care about it. You can’t just walk out into the night after you see the movie…and do nothing about it.

I’m not saying you have to join a march. I’m not saying you have to push for legislation. I’m saying what this film talks about is the very way that we deal with each other in the everyday. It’s about our relationship to each other as it deals with race. So there’s a lot there to be done.

The Block Center’s Winter/Spring Season Starts This Week!

The Block Center is back! We are launching a sixteen week season this Tuesday, February 7th from 6:00-8:00 PM. All youth ages 11-17 in Troy are encouraged to join our returning mentees. We can’t wait to get started!


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