Tag Archives: New York Cares

Cambria Heights high school scholar set to graduate in three years


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Rosmary Reyes

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While most high school students are happy to leave school when the bell rings, Rosmary Reyes takes extra classes, which sometimes keep her as late as 6 p.m.

Now that extra time is about to pay off.

Reyes, a student at Business, Computer Applications & Entrepreneurship High School in Cambria Heights, is set to graduate after just three years.

“I feel like as soon as I get out of high school, I can get into the real world and closer to my dream of being a lawyer,” Reyes said. “The faster the better.”

Reyes, 16, maintains a 91 percent average in school, is a member of Arista, the National Honor Society, and is in the running to be her school’s valedictorian or salutatorian. She speaks fluent Spanish, and also knows American Sign Language, which Reyes learned so she could communicate with her deaf cousins.

Besides her academics, Reyes participates in a great deal of extracurricular activities and volunteer work.

She is president of the school’s student government, editor of the yearbook, a member of the journalism and the recycling clubs, and she also tutors students who need help in specific subjects. Reyes volunteers at the annual high school fair for eighth-graders and the college fair.

Outside school, Reyes is a New York Cares team leader and has volunteered to help many causes, including working in a soup kitchen and taking part in a coat drive for a senior citizens home.

“It’s not just for academic achievement or looking better for my resume,” Reyes said. “I like [volunteering] because I want to do it. I like helping people and being in leadership roles.”

Even before high school, Reyes was an exceptional student. She received student of the month and student of the year awards from M.S. 61. Reyes pushes herself to do more, because of her philosophy to stay motivated.

“When you are tired and just want to give up, you should just stop for a moment and imagine what you can achieve if you try just a little bit more,” Reyes said.

But her ideals aside, Reyes recognized that she wouldn’t have been able to achieve all of her accomplishments without her family as a backbone of support.

“[I] give thanks to my parents for always giving me the resources I need, and my sister for always giving me the push I need to achieve my goals.”

Reyes is now waiting to hear from St. John’s University, where she plans to continue her education. She then wants to go to law school to become a civil litigator or human rights lawyer.

“I always found a true passion in it,” Reyes said. “The thing I like about lawyers is that they get to help people who may not be able to help themselves.”

 

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Queens pols hold coat drive with nonprofit New York Cares


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember Costa Constantinides' Office

With the winter still in full force, a group of elected officials are making sure those in need across the city are staying warm.

Together, Councilmember Costa Constantinides, Senator Michael Gianaris, and Assemblymembers Aravella Simotas and Michael DenDekker have collected a total of about 100 coats at their district offices for people in need across the city.

“It is important during this cold season that we provide help to those in need,” said Constantinides. “It’s an honor to work with a great organization like New York Cares. My colleagues in the state government and I look forward to collecting warm coats for those who need it most.”

The lightly-used winter coats were donated by members of the communities surrounding the district offices and the gathering of coats is in collaboration with the nonprofit New York Cares.

“Having recently experienced record low temperatures, I know we all appreciate the dangers freezing weather poses to our most vulnerable neighbors,” said Gianaris. “Let’s work together to keep our fellow New Yorkers warm this winter.”

 

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Howard Beach students play with US Open champs


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Dominick Totino

Sandy-affected Howard Beach students felt the love during a tennis clinic with US Open champions.

Twelve students from P.S. 207 went to Grandstand Stadium last week, where they participated in the United States Tennis Association (USTA) “Returning the Love” initiative.

Through the program, organized by New York Cares, the tennis tykes, ages five through nine, were able to play with stars like Andy Murray and meet Serena Williams.

“The kids were in awe that these major, major stars were taking the time to be with them,” said Stefanie Hanley, third grade teacher who accompanied the students. “They went through a lot during [Sandy].”

“They need to get back to smiling and get back to being kids again instead of worrying every time it rains.

They hear thunder and they get nervous,” she added.

P.S. 207, severely damaged by the storm, was closed for two months. During that time, students traveled to P.S. 232 in Lindenwood to go to school.

P.S. 232, which Hanley said is “already overcrowded,” doubled up on class sizes and averaged about 50 students per class while P.S. 207 was closed for repairs. Also, teachers’ supplies were “stuck” in the damaged building, and they were prohibited from getting them due to a hazardous oil smell throughout the site.

After reopening January 1, teachers and students have been trying to return to a sense of normalcy.

“It’s unbelievable that it’s almost a year now and they’re still going through this,” Hanley said. “[The students] have been through a lot.”

However, the tennis clinics put the smiles back on the students’ faces. They played doubles with reigning male champion Andy Murray and also hit the courts with Ana Ivanovic and Stanislas Wawrinka.

NBC’s “The Today Show” filmed a segment that same day, and the kids were able to watch a doubles match – Matt Lauer and Serena Williams versus Savannah Guthrie and Andy Murray.

“All of them want to play tennis now. They’re asking if we can have it in school,” Hanley said.

Hanley said that in her nine years as a teacher at P.S. 207, they have never been invited to “anything like this.”

“So many nice things have happened to these kids because of [Sandy] that really the good is outweighing the bad,” she said. “I think they’re ready to put everything behind them and start all over and really put their best foot forward.”

 

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Mets offer fans tickets, other rewards for participating in volunteer projects


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY LUKE TABET

The Mets are asking their fans to step up to the plate and help out their community.

The MLB team and volunteer organization New York Cares announced the launch of their new “Mets Volunteer Challenge,” Tuesday.

The program, which ends on September 1, allows fans and concerned New Yorkers to receive game tickets and other Mets-themed rewards for participating and completing volunteer projects.

The rewards are broken down into three tiers:

Home Run- volunteers who complete three to five projects will receive four tickets to a Mets game in September.

Grand Slam- volunteers who complete between six to eight projects will again receive four tickets to a game in September, and will also see their name on the scoreboard in recognition of their service.

Perfect Game- completing at least nine projects will gain volunteers four tickets, scoreboard recognition during the game, and the opportunity to participate in a pre-game ceremony on the field.

Fans interested in volunteering can register for the “Mets Volunteer Challenge” by visiting Mets.com/Volunteer.

 

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Santas streak through Astoria


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

santa streak 2011w

Ever wonder what Santa is wearing under his suit?

Residents of Astoria discovered the Christmas secret on December 3, when more than 100 streaking Santas raced around the neighborhood. The second annual Santa Streak, organized by Ran Craycraft, founder of the blog whyleaveastoria.com, was held this past weekend in order to gather coats for donation to New York Cares. The event, which began at Hellgate on the Park for a pre-streak party, lasted from noon to 4 p.m.

“This is a fun event that gets peoples’ attention and helps the less fortunate stay warm whenever it gets cold this winter,” said Craycraft, an Astoria resident. “We are big fans of New York Cares and we have done this event for two years now, but we’ve also had other coat drives. Three years ago we got about five coats, and now that we are doing something more risqué, we got about 200 coats this year. So this is a good way to get some attention and get more coats for the needy.”

Once the Santas were ready to brave the cold, the holiday mob marched around Astoria, visiting sections of Shore Drive and Ditmars and Astoria boulevards. The run lasted roughly a mile, after which the jolly old Saint Nicks’ re-commenced their party at a local bar.

According to Craycraft, participants were creative in preparing for the streak, displaying a wide spectrum of costume themes, ranging from more conservative tutus and leotards to men who were topless or wearing Christmas thongs.

“I don’t think we have any choice but to do this again next year,” he said. “People really like it. We have a great turnout and it is for a wonderful cause. It would be irresponsible not to do it again.”

Local official team up to help during Holiday Toy, Coat and Food Drive


| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Councilmember James Gennaro

A joint effort across eastern Queens is attempting to provide children and their families with warm bodies, full stomachs and plenty of presents to open on Christmas.

Councilmember James Gennaro united with New York Cares service events manager Joseph Salas, Marine Corps Staff Sergeants Daniel Sweeney and David Bonney of the Sixth Communications Battalion and other community leaders on December 2 to initiate his annual Holiday Toy, Coat and Food Drive.

“It seems like this is the least we can do, particularly when times are very tough,” said Gennaro, whose drive will last through December 16. “We feel the people who give get more out of it than those who receive.”

During the event, the Marines delivered collection boxes for their Toys for Tots program to the councilmember’s office, where coats are also being gathered for donation to New York Cares.

“I’d like to thank the councilmember for his continued support,” said Salas. “We have partnered with the councilmember for quite a few years and to see the continued support is inspiring.”

Food is also being collected at Gennaro’s office, located at 185-10 Union Turnpike in Fresh Meadows, for donation to St. Nicholas of Tolentine Roman Catholic Church in Jamaica and the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck.

“Even in these very difficult and challenging times, it’s very comforting and reassuring to know our community is a responsive, caring community and our elected officials take a role in making sure needs are met,” said Steven Goodman, executive vice president of the Samuel Field Y.

Along with Gennaro’s office, donations can also be made at Senator Toby Ann Stavisky’s office, located 144-36 Willets Point Boulevard in Flushing, Assemblymember Rory Lancman’s office, at 159-16 Union Turnpike in Hillcrest, or the headquarters of Community Board 8, located at 197-15 Hillside Avenue in Hollis.