2012 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
The Buffalo Division is pleased to honor Nestor Hernandez, former executive director of The Belle Center, as a recipient of the 2012 Director’s Community Leadership Award.
The Belle Center, located in Buffalo, New York, is a community center in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood known for gang activity. Since 2006, Mr. Hernandez has worked to create and implement a strategic plan to expand and fund the services of The Belle Center, increasing the operating budget from $544,000 to $2.4 million. Mr. Hernandez’s goal was to develop The Belle Center as a beacon in the community, provide a safe place for children to learn and play, offer a convenient location for adult immigrants to learn English, and provide day care on a sliding fee scale.
Mr. Hernandez, a Citizens Academy graduate, collaborates with FBI Buffalo and its Safe Streets Task Force to provide an FBI fitness activity for at-risk youth participating in the center’s summer program. He’s also worked with the FBI to educate The Belle Center staff on gang recognition and awareness. Mr. Hernandez has demonstrated leadership in supporting youth and educational programming; raising community awareness; helping to deter violent crime, gangs, and drugs within the neighborhood; and advancing cooperation between law enforcement and the Hispanic community in Buffalo.