Tag Archives: P.S. 197

Newly opened Rockaway YMCA to boost local economy

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos by Raymond Liang for the YMCA

The YMCA has a new home by the sea.

The YMCA of Greater New York celebrated the opening of its new branch, Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea, on March 14 during a ribbon cutting with local elected officials and community leaders. The ceremony was originally scheduled a month before but postponed due to the weather.

The 44,000-square-foot facility, developed by Benjamin-Beechwood LLC, faced some construction delays after Superstorm Sandy swept through the city. However, the 207 Beach 73rd St. location opened its doors to the general public on Feb. 18 and had a record of 1,100 new members in its first week of operation.

“For the first time in our organization’s 161 year history, the YMCA has a permanent, brick-and-mortar branch in the Rockaways,” said Jack Lund, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. “This new Y is not only bringing vital programs and services to the people of the Rockaways, but it is creating jobs and helping to sustain economic development in the area.”

The site now includes the largest aquatic center of any of the 24 YMCA locations in New York City which features a lap pool, a family-friendly recreational pool with a water slide and much more.

The overall Rockaways location also includes a full-court gymnasium, fitness center, outdoor recreational field, community multi-purpose space for youth and family programs, and other amenities. Some of the programs that will be available at the new location include after-school and college readiness, youth employment and job training, child care and adult learning.

“The new Rockaway YMCA at Arverne by the Sea is a bright and shining example of our neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization and recovery from super storm Sandy,” Councilmember Donovan Richards Jr. said. “This facility will provide jobs for local Rockaways residents and stand to serve as our neighborhood’s heart –providing a safe, community center dedicated to improving the quality of life for all our families.”

After Superstorm Sandy hit the Rockaways, the YMCA of Greater New York helped distribute cases of water, blankets, clothing and household items to families. The organization also donated backpacks with schools supplies and winter clothing to 1,000 students at P.S. 197.

The new Rockaways location is open Monday through Friend from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information visit here.



Donations help schools return to normalcy

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

Their Christmas gift came in the form of a check.

Councilmember James Sanders once again provided his district’s schools with his yearly donation of $2 million.

“We are in the midst of a series of tragedies so great that they seem to undermine the very notion of a holiday season,” said Sanders. “But in the midst of tragedy, we can still find reason for hope.”

School Districts 27 and 29 received Sanders’ donations, split up between 32 schools, equaling $50,000 for each. The funds, acquired through the council’s budget, are designated for science and technology upgrades for schools.

On Wednesday, December 19, Sanders’ chief-of-staff and hopeful predecessor, Donovan Richards, donned a Santa Claus outfit as he presented a check for $2 million at P.S./I.S. 270 in front of a crowd of students. A similar scene went on later in the day at P.S. 197, Sanders’ former elementary school.

“It’s a very, very good time [for the donation], especially for our families,” said P.S. 197 principal, Christina Villavicencil.

P.S. 197, located in Far Rockaway, was spared from structural damage during Sandy, but many students’ homes were devastated. School take-home materials were lost, much of which included books that teachers were encouraging students to read at home.

With the $50,000, Villavicencil plans to reinstate the read-at-home policy and invest much of the money in books and, if possible, electronic books.

This is the 10th year that the councilmember was able to make this donation for his district’s schools, and students are very excited for upgrades to come.

Victoria, a 2nd grader at P.S./I.S. 270, is hoping her class can get Kindle Fires, and more lap tops so she can “play math games.”

“It means even more this year,” said Richards in his Santa suit. “The schools are all getting back to a point of normalcy.”

P.S./I.S. 270 Principal Chayvonne Harper plans to use the grant to install new Smartboards in every classroom, and expand the access of technology to her students.

“We’re extremely excited to receive this grant,” she said.

Sanders hopes to keep his district’s students abreast of the latest technology, for he believes that it is vital to ensure them a good future.

“We owe it to our children, now more than ever, to follow through on our pledge to them, to help them secure a better future for themselves,” he said. “Maybe, in that, we can salvage a little bit of the holiday spirit.”

New York Road Runners Youth Jamboree held

| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of the New York Road Runners The team at P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway received hand-knitted running caps

The leaves are falling, but the kids are still running.

The New York Road Runners (NYRR) Youth Jamboree kicked into high gear at the Armory in Washington Heights on October 23 – and family fun was had by all as kids participated in a variety of track and field events including relays, runs, long jump and shot put.
Each year the friendly competition attracts sporty sorts from across the city, and this year they were joined by an icon in the world of adolescent fitness. For the first time ever, Sportacus from the television show “Lazytown” joined the NYRR team at the Jamboree to motivate and energize the kids with warm-up sessions throughout the day.
After the event was over and the awards were passed out, Sportacus paid a visit to P.S. 197 in Far Rockaway to congratulate some of the athletes on their amazing accomplishments.

Among the winners at P.S. 197 were Nylique Knight, 11, who won 1st place in the 55 meter and 200 meter; Lida Murrel, 9, 1st place winner in the 200 meter; Ny’hemia Steadman, 9, 1st place winner in the 55 meter; and Nashawn Wilson, 10, 1st place winner in the 55 and 200 meter.
The entire team of runners from P.S. 197 received donated wool, hand-knit running hats from Heather Bergstein, Mary Lou Risley and a group of volunteers. The school’s physical education teacher, Richard Reiss, received one with “Coach!” stitched across the front.
“The NYRR running programs give kids an opportunity to discover a lot about themselves,” said Reiss, who is in his 5th successful year with the Mighty Milers program. “It helps to build their self-esteem; they learn to eat healthy and stay in shape; and it exposes them to new things in life that they would not have access to. I am very fortunate to have found this program for my students.”

Those interested in NYRR’s many youth programs should visit www.nyrrf.org or call them at 212-860-4455.