Marc Santora has called the Lincoln Square Neighborhood Center at 250 W. 65th St. a second home for seven years.
He oversees roughly 60 children, aged 5-13, as director of the afterschool program at the center. The kids come from the nearby Amsterdam Houses andLincoln Square neighborhood schools like P.S. 191 and P.S. 199. Some children also come from the surrounding Upper West Side area. Activities in the program include one hour of homework help, field trips, and workshops and dance classes due to a partnership with Lincoln Center.
"It's a place where they feel like it's a home away from home," he said.
What is the best part of your job?
Watching the kids grow from year to year and watching them stretch their limits. It's great to see them do things they didn't even expect to do. I'm invested in all the kids here. They've become my family throughout the years.
Are there any misperceptions about the center?
There's some misperception about who we are and what we do. Some people look down on the center but don't realize that everyone is getting a lot out of it. We're not just a babysitting service. We do what we can do to broaden the world-view of the kids here.
What do you feel could be better about the neighborhood?
Where the center is there's not a lot of places to go. Closer to Lincoln Center are restaurants but they're on the expensive side. It would be great to have a diner or a bar, a place where the workers and visitors at the center can go or a place to take the kids to eat.