Turning Point is a community-based organization located in Sunset Park and Red Hook that serves all of Brooklyn. We provide holistic support to underserved individuals through education, health and social services programs that make a real difference in our community.
We are devoted to empowering individuals to achieve mental, physical and spiritual wellness, and we pride ourselves on offering programs and services that truly turn lives around. Together with our donors, staff, volunteers and community partners, we are building a better Brooklyn one person at a time.
Turning Point offers programming in the following service areas:
- Outreach and Testing Services
- Substance Abuse Treatment including Mental Health Services
- Scattered Site Housing
- Transitional Housing
- Educational and Vocational Services
Learn more about each of these service areas here.
Turning Point relies on a passionate group of employees, board members and volunteers who are committed to helping our clients find mental, physical and spiritual wellness. Meet our program directors and board members here and learn how you can get involved.
1975 – Discipleship Ministries Forms
Reverend Doug Heilman forms Discipleship Ministries, an organization that offers teenage gang members counseling and crisis intervention as an alternative to the street. Discipleship Ministries would later come to be known Turning Point.
1981 – Discipleship House Opens
Discipleship expanded its services with the opening of Discipleship House, a home for up to 12 young men with nowhere else to turn.
1982 – Employment Program Launches
Discipleship Ministries starts an Employment Action, a program aimed at helping young people find jobs.
1983 – Pre-GED Program Launches
Discipleship Ministries starts a pre-GED program designed for young dropouts who read below an 8th grade level.
1984 – Substance abuse phone hotline opens
1986 – Discipleship receives state funding and expands
New York State grants funding to Discipleship Ministries, and as a result, the organization is able to open a Literacy Program and Outreach Center.
1987 – Discipleship begins serving the HIV/AIDS community
Discipleship Ministries starts one of the first outreach, case management and supportive services programs in NYC for people with HIV/AIDS.
1990 – Transitional Housing Program Launches
Discipleship opens a 37-bed housing facility for homeless Youth Ages 18-25.
1992 – Drug Prevention Program Launches
Discipleship establishes drug prevention program for youth.
1993 – HIV/AIDS Program Expands
Discipleship receives a Medical Reimbursement Certification for the HIV/AIDS program.
1994 – Scattered Site Housing Program Launches
Discipleship develops a 40-unit Scattered Site Housing Program for people living with HIV/AIDS
1995 – Education, Outreach and Housing Programs Expand
Discipleship creates the Red Hook Housing Development Fund Corporation to provide housing to low-income young adults. The Educational Center opens with computer, math and writing labs.
1996 – Henry Street House opens
1998 – Employment becomes priority
Discipleship opens the Employment Skills-Building program and initiates the Career Development program to prepare people for work and help them find jobs.
1998 – New units are added to Scattered Site Housing Program
Discipleship Ministries helps more people living with HIV/AIDS to find stable homes by adding 26 new units to the Scattered Site Housing Program.
2002 – Discipleship Ministries becomes a member of STRIVE
The organization joins with this holistic career development program to help more people find lasting careers.
2003 – HIV/AIDS primary care clinic opens
Discipleship helps people living with HIV/AIDS get the care they need.
2004 – Discipleship Ministries Becomes Turning Point
Discipleship Outreach Ministries, Inc. formally changes its name to Turning Point in an effort to signify the organization’s entrance into a larger community of agencies working with the hurting.
2005 – Turning Point offers mental health services
Dr. Carl Jean-Francois, M.D. begins providing psychiatric services to Turning Point clients, signifying the organization’s commitment to physical, spiritual and mental wellness.
2005 – Turning Point improves services for US immigrants living in Brooklyn
2006 – GED offered at Turning Point
The Education Center becomes the first official GED test location located within a community based organization in NYS.
2006 – Turning Point awarded contract with NYS Division of Parole
2007 – L.U.C.H.A Project launches
L.U.C.H.A. Project (Latinas Unidas Contra HIV/AIDS) is created to address the needs of Latino women in Brooklyn.
2007 – Turning Point expands HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services
Turning Point received CLIA waiver from the NYS Department of Health to conduct rapid HIV testing, and as a result was able to launch a Mobile Health Unit. Turning Point also collaborated with other community partners to form the Brooklyn Expanded Syringe Access Provides Initiative and the Early Intervention Services program also began operations at this time.
2007- “Bridge Back to Health Project” launches
The Bridge Back to Health program begins providing holistic mental health services via psychiatrist and therapists at Turning Point.
2008 – Turning Point addresses underage drinking problems
Turning Point conducted a Town Hall Meeting on Underage Drinking at P.S. 503/506, the only initiative of its kind in downstate New York.
2008 – Turning Point launches Arts and Culture Collective
Youth in this new program complete leadership training, team building, and job readiness skills, and collectively decide the direction of their work. Students host art exhibitions, take yoga, band, and art classes, and complete 3 murals throughout New York.
2008 – Turning Point Educational Center expands college and career programs
Turning Point helps students achieve more while in the Educational Program in preparation for success in college and careers by significantly strengthening its College Access and Career Readiness programs with support from Robin Hood and the Brooklyn Community Foundation.
2009 – Turning Point becomes one of two Literacy Zones selected in New York City by the State Education Department
Turning Point helps non-reading adults learn essential skills.
2009 – Scattered Site housing expands
Turning Point adds 150 new units to its Scattered Site Housing program for people living with AIDS and concurrent mental illnesses, MICA or substance abuse issues.
2009 – Project EXCEL launches
Turning Point extends its services to disconnected youth through this program focused on integrated life skills and community services.
2009 – New Educational Center opens
Turning Point opens new center for educational programs at 423 39th St. in Sunset Park.
2009 – Sunset Terrace opens
This 20-bed emergency shelter is launched to serve runaway youth.
2009 – “We Care About You” shower program launches
This initiative is started as a “first step” in the process of getting individuals off the street.
2010 – Turning Point honored by New York State
The Public Health Association of New York honors Turning Point for its outstanding service in areas of public health.
2010 – Turning Point Educational Center hosts its first College Jam
This an annual event was launched to encourage the entire community to envision, what “beyond the GED” means. The Jam is a day-long conference for Turning Point students, focusing on concrete and soft college skills that students can walk away with.
2011: Shifts in executive leadership take place
Ray Figueroa, Executive Director since 2002 retires. Tata Traore-Rogers is hired as Turning Point’s first Chief Program Officer, and a search begins for an Interim Executive Director.
2011: Jerardo Calixto is named a student of the year for New York State
2012: Carlton Mitchell is hired as Turning Point’s Interim Executive Director
Carlton comes to the agency with more than 30 years of executive management experience in nonprofit, private and public sectors.
2012: Turning Point GED student Jimmy Joseph Point-du-Jour is named a Student of the Year and Turning Point Teacher Joe Zimmerman is named teacher of the year for New York State
A Turning Point student is honored by a Student Of The Year award for the second consecutive year, and a Turning Point teacher is one of only two teachers in the state to be honored with the Teacher Of The Year award.
Our Donors and Partners
Turning Point would like to thank the following donors and community partners for their support: