Our Mission

The mission of Boys & Girls Harbor is to empower children and their families to become full, productive participants in society through education, cultural enrichment, and social services. Since our founding, we have strived to level the playing field for children and young people. Our history, mission, and programs are connected by the principle that a person’s socio-economic status should not pre-determine access to quality education or to opportunities to develop to one’s highest potential.

The Harbor Empowers Children and Their Families…

We believe that knowledge is a force for empowerment. When children have enriching quality educational experiences, they are empowered to discover their own intelligence and their individual capacity for greatness. Throughout a child’s school-age years, we strengthen students’ intellect and creativity through extended learning and preparation for college and career. Children’s achievements are their parents’ achievements, too: and with each milestone passed they grow stronger together.

To Become Full, Productive Participants in Society…

From knowledge and strength come the empowerment of children and families to attain greater self-sufficiency and optimism for the future. Harbor alumni have grown to success in the fields of law, finance, education, the arts, commerce, and as leaders in their communities.

Through Education…

We begin by making young children’s first encounter with formal education a positive one. School-age students receive afterschool and summer learning experiences that support their positive youth development and promote their critical, creative, and reflective thinking.

Through Cultural Enrichment…

We know that sequential and standards-based training in vocal and instrumental music, dance, and theater arts is essential to the intellectual, communication, and developmental growth of children and young people. Most Harbor students do not go on to professional performing arts careers, but all of them benefit from an array of performing arts opportunities that allow them to grow, collaborate, and create performances that stem from their lived experiences.

And Social Services.

Since our founding, we have worked to address the shifting needs and challenges faced by the students we serve. Today, our programming consists of a combination of education, counseling, and positive alternatives. Harbor students are knowledgeable about the consequences of substance abuse, gambling, and other risky behaviors. Peer groups and sports and art activities strengthen students’ pro-social attitudes that increase their resilience, and communication skills. Family workshops allow children and adults to develop more empathetic and effective inter-family dynamics.

A Brief History of the Boys and Girls Harbor

Boys and Girls Harbor was founded by the late Anthony (Tony) Drexel Duke when he was barely out of his teens. As he explained in a later New York Times interview, “Too many human resources are not being used and people are feeling they’re being left out of the dream. We’ve found that children on the street have a dream. They reach out for whatever tools we can give.”

Tony Duke’s legacy and vision live on in every student and staff member of Boys & Girls Harbor.