BUFFALO (WKBW) The Belle Center, located on Buffalo's west side, has a slogan "serving children through seniors."
It starts at a young age. The Belle Center offers daycare programs for infants starting at just 6 weeks old, all the way through preschool, prepping students for regular school and closing the language gap that face many of these non-english speaking children.
"We've found that children that attended our program here at the Belle Center were ready for kindergarten because they already received the services here. Maybe English as a second language, the reading program that we do here, the second step that we do here, that the children were prepared," Childcare Director Laurie Beck said.
For school-age children, the Belle Center offers after-school tutoring and skill programs for grades K-8.
"When they walk through the doors they are excited, they always want us to help them with any homework that they might have or projects that they may have. It's like an extra hand for the parents knowing that their child is in a safe environment," After-school Program Director Donna Glasgow said.
Adult programs and classes are also offered, teaching English and life skills to many on the West Side.
"It's so important because so many of them come from different countries and different cultures. And here they need to be able to live and function in everyday society," ESL teacher Catherine Pudhorodsky said.
Like Iraqi refugee Alaa Faraji, who says his life was hard when he first came to this country, and was turned around by the Belle Center.
"Now I can make anything here, and now here in (the) USA. I can go to (the) doctor, I can go shopping, I can do anything," Faraji explained.
But the services don't end there. There are recreational programs, a food pantry, and the center is the hub for Americorps Buffalo, a volunteer organization performing service projects and mentoring throughout Western New York.
"It is fulfilling. I mean it is rewarding when you're able to help someone move forward and learn, it's very rewarding," Belle Center Executive Director said.
For more information, or to donate to the Belle Center, head to http://www.thebellecenter.org/