Casey’s work in the prevention field began in 1998 at the Queens Community House Beacon Program. This program served 1500-2500 children per year in Queens, New York City.
The concept for the Beacon Programs of the late 90s was that teens in urban neighborhoods are at risk for drug abuse and are likely to get involved with drug trafficking unless steps are taken to keep them on the right path. One of the major risk factors identified by studies during this era was boredom. By converting schools into youth centers from 3pm-10pm every day, the Beacon Programs aimed to keep kids busy with engaging and enriching activities, reducing the likelihood of substance abuse and narcotics trafficking.
From 1998-2004, Casey worked in the Beacon Program as their Men’s Development Specialist, creating and implementing activities that would attract teens into positive pursuits while also creating an opportunity for informal counseling.