Our mission is to promote preventive services for "at-risk" youth & families and assure the transitional services and permanency planning necessary to helping parents and prospective parents living with HIV/AIDS gain emotional and spiritual comfort in the knowledge that their children will be provided for in a safe, loving and nurturing family environment.


In 2002, COPWA assumed the d/b/a GUIDING LIGHT enabling the organization to expand its mission.  GUIDING LIGHT'S mission is to provide empowerment for young men and women, ages 17-24 at-risk of poverty and incarceration by providing life skills training created specifically to address the social and economic barriers to self-sufficiency for New York City's at-risk young adults.




Guiding Light’ Project There’s No Stopping Us Now aims to bring hope, empowerment, and self-worth to at-risk young men and women, by delivering a variety of programs and services that provide guidance back to socially  productive and acceptable life, and to help stop the cycle of poverty and recidivism.

Young men and women will get sober, learn  productive ways of dealing with adversity, find jobs, move into permanent housing and reunify with children.  By using a holistic approach we provide a full assessment of needs, addressing the immediate needs of each client and using our successful “We’re On The Move” training series to teach life skills.  The primary focus is on realistic preparation for the pursuit of education, employment, and housing.   Interactive workshops and concrete examples will empower participants to broaden their outlook with regards to seeing themselves function with confidence and dignity in the outside world.


There’s No Stopping Us Now instills a broader perspective of the world in which our young men and women live and a society in which they are able to function.  This greater awareness will allow them to diligently view situations, approach obstacles, and solve problems.


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The AIDS epidemic has claimed a large number of parents with young children. These parents are confronted with the need to plan for the care of their children before they are no longer able. Guiding light’s Early Permanency Planning Program entitled Project Bridging the Gap is designed to assist terminally-ill AIDS parents in arranging Standby Guardians for their children before the illness prevents their future involvement.  


The designated guardian provides short-term care, as made necessary by the condition of the parents’ health. This method will prevent the children from entering the system of fostered care with strangers; thus, making it hard for the parent to regain immediate custody of their children, as their health may improve.
Identifying Standby Guardians with the parents’ participation minimize confusion and disorientation in the child and support the development of stabilizing a future home for the children. Parents want to care for their children for as long as they are physically able to do so, but should the time come when they are unable, it will give them comfort in knowing that they have made the right choice in putting a guardian in place.



COPWA/Guiding Light offers a variety of programs that address the underlying, complex factors that create barriers to self-sufficiency among young people and adults, and provides supportive services for children of parents living with HIV/AIDS, New Beginnings/The Closet addresses the immediate and pressing needs families have for basic necessities.


Our grassroots program model is simple and effective. NBTC will provide free clothing and furnishings to individuals and families in crisis by distributing vouchers to those who have demonstrated a need, such as recent prison release, school supplies, unemployment, illness, and other crisis situations. Other programs offer general distribution; this focus on families in crisis distinguishes NBTC from general clothing drives.​


NBTC offers community-wide clothing and furnishings distributions to Harlem and South Bronx families six times annually. While other donations often occur during the holiday season, we recognize that families need assistance year-round, not only in the last month of the year. NBTC will fill this gap in giving to reach even more community members in need. 


To be eligible for these services please download the application and email the application to Lbridgingthegap@COPWA.org. No calls will be accepted.  For more information please download the NBTC brochure


This program is by invitation only.  Be sure to fill out all required information on the application or it will not be reviewed and you will not be contacted for the closet distribution.