Wanda Luzon and Jacques Jones at Clason's Point Library.For Bronx teen Jacques Jones, the Clason’s Point Library has long been a safe haven that has kept him off the street.
Now the branch and its staff have helped him finish his high school education. The 18-year-old from the Soundview section of the borough is proud to be getting his diploma this spring thanks to NYPL’s Wanda Luzon, who runs the Teen Zone at Clason’s Point.
“Wanda really encouraged me,” says Jones. “The Library is my stay-out-of-trouble domain. If I didn’t have the Library, I’d be outside.”
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Jones, who has been coming to the library every afternoon for nearly four years, abruptly dropped out of school this winter after he broke his knee playing basketball. However, after more than a month of encouragement from Luzon, Jones enrolled in a nearby GED (General Education Development) program, which has helped him prepare to earn his high school equivalency diploma.
“I wanted him to do something,” says Luzon, who serves as a mentor to dozens of regular teen patrons, who rely on the small branch for computer access, books, and a safe place to go after school. “I wanted a legitimate reason for why he dropped out, but he couldn’t give me one.”
Jones says Luzon’s persistence was just what he needed to get back on track. Now he even has his sights set on higher education.
“I’m going to college,” says Jones, who wants to study business and go into the entertainment field. “I’m very proud of myself.”
Please join Jacques Jones and other Library users who depend on NYPL’s services in speaking out against these cuts. If they are not reversed, up to 12 neighborhood libraries could close and the remaining branches could be open just four days a week. It takes just a few clicks to send a letter to your elected officials urging them to restore funding.