Far Rockaway organization gives girls a ‘Window’ to the future


| mhayes@queenscourier.com |

Photos courtesy of Angrela Hines
Photos courtesy of Angrela Hines

One Far Rockaway organization is aiming to provide young girls with a greater sense of life, more than just “what they see outside their windows.”

Project Window was created with intentions to provide a feeling of camaraderie and a common ground for young women to speak about friends, family and life, as well as opportunities to reach their full potential and face life with confidence.

“I wanted to help girls get help and not become a product of their environment,” said Angela Hines, the program’s creator.

Hines, a Far Rockaway native, is no stranger to struggle. She dropped out of high school and became a teen mom.

However, she was determined to succeed, and started college, with three children to take care of. After graduating, she went on to law school, now with five children. Through hard work, she persevered, got her degree and started work at Queens Family Court representing children.

“I saw at-risk girls,” she said of her time in the courts. “Girls who were struggling in school, with poor family life. I knew I wanted to help, and if I could help just one girl, it was worth it.”

With that, she began Project Window.

Hines works with girls at P.S./M.S. 138 once a week; they sit together and discuss bullying, teen violence, domestic violence, etiquette and more. They also travel to sites outside of the neighborhood so Hines can show them that “there is life outside the only community they have known.”

“Ms. Hines sees that we can do [well] in life,” said participant Domenique White, 13. “Before the program started, all of us girls were rowdy and disrespectful.”

White said that before Project Window, she picked on people and was a “big bully.” After meeting with Hines and airing out problems, White has learned to think positively and change her attitude.

The school’s assistant principal, Shallonda Daniels, said that she has seen a significant change in the girls since they began Hines’ program.

“[The] program has given the girls an opportunity to share their thoughts and learn that there is more to life than what they see outside in their communities,” Daniels said.

Initially a pilot program, Project Window is now looking to expand to all of Far Rockaway. The Ocean Bay Action Center has offered up a larger space for Hines to hold mentor sessions, and the community has put themselves behind her, supporting the initiative.

“I can’t even describe the feeling I get when I see the girls and how they’re changing,” said Hines. “I really feel like this is working.”

If you would like to know more about Project Window or contribute to the initiative, contact Hines at 347-306-8688.

 

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