Renaissance Youth Center

About Renaissance Youth Center

The Renaissance Youth Center (RYC) was founded in August 2001 by Bervin Harris and Darren Quinlan to provide opportunities for at-risk inner-city youth in the Bronx. RYC aims to help youth of all ages learn specific educational, cultural, or athletic skills, as well as to teach them lifelong social skills. The Center aims to help give young people the ability to accomplish their goals in life, regardless of their socio-economic background.


  • Music: RYC offers a year-round performace-based music and dance instruction program for more than 350 students. The Center also has a summer tour group – Music With a Message, or MWAM – which performs original songs focusing on social issues. NYPD officers in the Bronx have played with MWAM several times, including at Carnegie Hall.
  • Education: RYC provides academic programs for dozens of children ages 5 to 18, including SAT preparation classes and a science curriculum.
  • Sports: The Center offers basketball and soccer teams for young children and teenagers.
  • Aviation: RYC helps students in its Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics program study aviation with a certified pilot.
  • Youth Council: The RYC Youth Council helps teenagers from across the city to connect with policymakers by participating in community boards and public meetings and partnering with community organizations.
  • Broadcast: Youth in the Bronx staff Teens Live to Tape, a cable-television show focusing on the lives of teenagers and young adults.

Their Story

Listen to Bervin Harris talk about why he started up the Renaissance Youth Center and watch some of his students interview him and talk about what the Center means to them.

The RYC Youth Council sends students to public meetings around the Bronx and the rest of the city. See several of the students talk about what they learned at some of these meetings and how it has made them see their own neighborhoods in a new light.