Tag Archives: Flushing YMCA

Immigration resource fair at Flushing YMCA on July 25


| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the office of Senator Toby Ann Stavisky

The Flushing YMCA will host an immigration resource fair on Saturday, July 25, with state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky, Assemblyman Ron Kim, and City Councilman Peter Koo.

Lawyers and other professionals experienced in the immigration process will be at the event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the YMCA at 138-46 Northern Blvd. Only the first 130 attendees will be served because space is limited, so anyone interested in attending should call 646-664-9400 to reserve a spot.

The event is hosted as part of a partnership with CUNY Citizenship NOW!, the largest university-based legal assistance program in the nation. Free legal assistance in Chinese, Korean and Spanish will be available for those seeking to become American citizens.

According to Stavisky, applying for citizenship can be a costly and confusing process even for fluent English speakers.

“Becoming a citizen is a lifelong commitment to the ideals of this country and I applaud all of the applicants for their dedication and perseverance,” Stavisky said.

Koo said that assistance offered at the event would be a serious benefit to many of his constituents and encouraged the community to use it to their advantage.

“Becoming a citizen of a new country can be a complicated process that can leave applicants in a lurch due to missing documentation or inaccurate information,” Koo said. “Every day, my office receives dozens of requests from constituents seeking immigration assistance.”

Kim also encouraged Flushing residents to participate in the fair and to support the initiatives of CUNY Citizenship NOW!

“Many families in our community are looking for help and seeking consultation regarding their legal status in this country. The CUNY Citizenship NOW! Fair would provide a necessary service for those in our neighborhoods seeking to embark on a path to citizenship,” said Kim, who added that the attorneys, paralegals and volunteers at the fair were working to assist those looking to achieve the American Dream.

Eligible applicants must have lived in the U.S. as a permanent resident for at least five years (or three years if living with and married to the same U.S. citizen), must have lived in the U.S. for at least half of the three- or five-year period and must be at least 18 years old. Attendees should bring the following:

  • Green card
  • All passports since becoming a permanent resident
  • Proof of home addresses for the last three or five years
  • Parent’s naturalization information (if applicable)
  • School/employment history for the last three or five years
  • Children’s information (date of birth, A#, addresses if applicable)
  • Marital history
  • Certified dispositions for any arrests, tickets citations and MTA disposition letters (if applicable)
  • USCIS fee waiver assistance available if applicants are receiving a means-tested benefit from a state or federal agency, have a household income at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, have a special financial hardship that USCIS should consider

RECOMMENDED STORIES

YMCA questions its place in Flushing Commons project


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Flushing YMCA

A new recreational center is being built at Flushing Commons, but questions remain as to whether the Flushing YMCA will operate it.

Paul Custer, senior vice president of government affairs for the YMCA of Greater New York, told The Courier in an exclusive interview that the nonprofit organization is looking for answers regarding the project in planned meetings with Flushing Commons’ developers, F&T Group, and the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

The Flushing Y came on board with the Flushing Commons plan as the project’s “community benefit.” Original plans called for the new Flushing Y — which currently operates out of a 90-year-old building on Northern Boulevard — to be created on the second and third floors of a building erected during the project’s first phase.

Those plans, however, were amended in 2009 as a result of economic issues related to the project, Custer said. As part of a redesign, the Flushing Y was relocated to the basement of a retail and commercial building called “The Elm” to be constructed at the corner of 39th Avenue and 138th Street.

“It’s not a very viable place,” Custer said. “It’s kind of hard to make it a community center [from the basement].”

The changes, he noted, compromise the YMCA’s goals transforming its Flushing chapter into a 21st-century community center, allowing it to offer new programs and existing initiatives while also removing any physical obstacles preventing people from participating in them.

Michael Meyer of the F&T Group told The Courier that the group mutually agreed to explore “alternative locations or alternative buildings” at the Flushing Commons site for the Flushing Y.

“We will explore that with them and hopefully we’ll find a way to get there,” Meyer said. “But that’s all on the drawing boards and there’s no certainty.”

In future meetings with F&T Group and city representatives, Custer hopes the Flushing Y could find a more viable place at Flushing Commons. If that goal can’t be fulfilled, he noted, the Y will need to explore other alternatives while continuing to maintain an aging facility. It has reached out to local elected officials for assistance.

Meyer said the Flushing Y “has a home in Flushing Commons” and the F&T Group will construct a recreational center in the project, as required in its deal with the city. Should the Flushing Y choose to no longer participate in the project, he said, the F&T Group would seek another organization to operate the recreational center.

“We’re still building the facility,” he added. “That’s our agreement with the city. There’s no doubt about that.”

One elected official involved in the process, Councilman Peter Koo, was optimistic that a deal could be reached.

“The proposed YMCA in Flushing Commons would provide a tremendous boon to our community,” Koo said in a statement to The Courier. “I have encouraged both sides to come to the table to discuss how the project will move forward and remain optimistic that a mutually beneficial agreement will be reached between the two parties.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Star of Queens: Nan Khin May, CUNY service corps volunteer, New American Welcome Center at the Flushing YMCA


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Nan Khin May

BY ROSS BELSKY

Background: Nan Khin May, 25, was born and raised in Yangon, Myanmar, and now lives in Fresh Meadows. She loves Queens because it is one of the most diverse places she’s ever been and a place where she can taste food from all around the globe. She also appreciates how much time she can save commuting easily to her college and her jobs.

Occupation: May works part time at the office of information technology at Queens College as an assistant, where she learns from her supervisors, coworkers and other students. She also works as an independent financial planner at World Financial Group in College Point, as she would like to become certified after graduating because she wants to help others who are planning to go to college.

Community Involvement: Currently, May is a CUNY service corps volunteer at the New American Welcome Center (NAWC) at the Flushing YMCA. NAWC serves the immigrant population by providing a range of services including ESL and computer classes. The goals for the immigrants are English literacy, cultural competence and self-sufficiency. May translates Chinese and Burmese for them, as well as conducts intakes of client information. The majority of students are adults from China, Korea and the Dominican Republic. In addition, May occasionally volunteers for the Mahasi Meditation Group.

Greatest Achievement: “I would consider getting the experiences of volunteering and giving the community what it needs to be both my greatest personal and professional achievement,” May said. “My 4-year-old niece told me ‘sharing is caring,’ and I couldn’t agree with her more.”

Biggest Challenge: “Going to college and getting all good grades because that is an important requirement in Asian families. Also, dealing with my father’s heart disease and elderly health issues.”

Inspiration: “My aunt. She is my mentor and best friend. She is a very strong woman and she takes care of her family. She loves me like her own daughter and has taught me since I was in Myanmar. With my parents’ support and her guidance, I am able to live here and succeed.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

OpEd: The advantages of Universal Pre-Kindergarten


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

BY WILLIAM NELSON

We at the Flushing YMCA are once again delighted to have the opportunity to serve families through the Department of Education funded Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program (UPK). Research supports that high quality early childhood programs such as “Universal Pre-Kindergarten” give four-year-old children the best opportunity to be prepared and gain the readiness skills necessary for kindergarten.

From a social standpoint the UPK program provides children with the opportunity to develop confidence and a positive self image while forming friendships and engaging in classroom activities.

From an educational and developmental standpoint the UPK program provides meaningful and appropriate learning experiences in a caring, respectful environment.

Experienced teachers facilitate children’s learning across all areas of the curriculum, focusing on literacy, math and science, emotional, physical and aesthetic development.

Programs like ours at the Flushing YMCA have special programmatic enhancements such as computers, a lending library, take-home activity backbacks, an enclosed private outdoorplayground, an indoor gym, and on-going activities for families.  Parents have the opportunity to enroll their children in special enrichment programs as well as ballet.  Extended days are available to meet your needs as we are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and provide FREE swim lessons as part of our program.

What you may not know, is that there are still plenty of free UPK slots available at quality programs through the YMCA network and through other non-profit organizations in your neighborhood.  Some of your children may be on waiting lists, but could be in a program now, where they can be establishing relationships with quality teachers and new friends.

If you are interested in UPK programs at your local YMCA, please check out the YMCA website at www.ymcanyc.org/flushing, or stop into the Flushing YMCA located at 138-46 Northern Boulevard.  Our number is 718-551-9356 or email Lois Rothstein at lrothstein@ymcanyc.org.

Let’s get slots filled and get your children enrolled so that they can get the great head start that they need to succeed!

William Nelson is executive director of the Flushing YMCA

Flushing YMCA hosts Community Service Awards Dinner


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Mike DiBartolomeo

The Flushing YMCA hosted its 11th annual Community Service Awards Dinner to benefit the youth and teens of the local communities at the Kum Gang San Restaurant. The “Special Award for Distinguished Public Leadership” went to Borough President Helen Marshall, and the “YMCA Community Service Award” was presented to Paul Ho, senior VP, Flushing Bank.

News Briefs: Small Business Workshop in L.I.C.


| bdoda@queenscourier.com

LONG ISLAND CITY –

The Queens Economic Development Corporation will offer workshops and clinics for small business owners this fall. While the clinics are free, workshops will cost $25 in order to cover costs.

Topics covered will include networking, taxes, pricing and compliance with city regulations. The workshops and clinics will take place at the Entrepreneur Space at 36-46 37th Street in Long Island City from 6 to 8 p.m.

Speakers include Bianco Di Salvo, a professor in the marketing department at Fordham University, Gail Roseman, a partner at Sholom & Zuckerbrot Realty, LLC, and Susan Harkavy, an instructor on guerilla marketing at New York Designs.

For more information regarding scheduling, call 718-263-0546 or visit www.queensny.org.

Family Fright Night

FLUSHING –

The Flushing YMCA will hold their Family Fright Night on Friday, October 28 at 138-46 Northern Boulevard. Activities will include a haunted house, costume contest, face painting, dancing, spooky stories, carnival games and more. Call 718-961-6880 for more details.

Fall Festival

FLUSHING –

Councilmember Peter Koo and the Parks Department recently announced this year’s Fall Festival on Saturday, October 29 from 1 until 5 p.m. at the P.S. 20 playground (Union Street and Barclay Avenue). Activities will include free rides, games, pumpkin patch, live entertainment, karaoke and more. To sponsor this event, contact Judy Chen at 718-888-8747.

I.S. 178Q celebrates 16th Anniversary

FRESH MEADOWS –

Councilmember Mark Weprin addressed the students, parents, teachers, and fellow alumni who gathered at P.S./I.S. 178Q, the Holliswood School located at 189-10 Radnor Road in recognition of the school’s 60th anniversary.

“The Holliswood School has provided students with an outstanding education for six decades, and I know that it will continue to shine,” said Weprin.

Talent showcase at Cross Island Y

BELLEROSE –

Auditions are still open for this year’s “Y Kids Got Talent” live event to be held on Saturday, October 22 at 6 p.m. at the Cross Island YMCA, located at 238-10 Hillside Avenue. Anyone with acting, singing, dancing, acrobatics, marital arts or musical talent is encouraged to contact Jamé Cohn at 718-551-9314 or by email at jcohn@ymcanyc.org for audition scheduling information.

Chancellor speaks to ACA

ASTORIA –

New York City Public Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott was the featured speaker at the monthly Astoria Civic Association meeting.

Walcott answered a number of questions from teachers, students and parents from Astoria and other parts of Queens during the hour-long meeting, ranging from the Department’s no tolerance policy for bullying to exploring the possibility of implementing additional gifted and talented programs at Astoria’s middle schools.

The association meets on the first Tuesday of every month at Riccardo’s and features a new speaker and topic. The meeting time has changed to 7 p.m. For more information visit the Astoria Civic Association Facebook page, or call 718-545-5353.