2007-04-06 / Community

Local Honored For kidsmART Afterschool Work

Lifelong Rockaway resident, community activist and children's advocate Marina Callaghan will be honored on April 10 by the Partnership for Afterschool Education (PASE) at their annual PASEsetter Awards ceremony.

New York City's top education officials will join PASE and more than 500 supporters to honor the city's most effective and dedicated youth workers. The gala event, held at Chelsea Piers' Pier 60, will recognize five individuals, selected from hundreds of nominations, for their service as role models, innovators and tireless advocates for the city's most underserved youth.

A first generation American raised by Polish/Scottish parents, Callaghan has been directly involved in caring for and educating youth for more than twenty years. She opened a day- care center in 1986, shortly after the birth of her second child. In preparing her own and other local children to enter kindergarten and as a teaching assistant at the Pratt Institute's "Mommy and Me" program, Callaghan developed the caring, compassionate and creative approach for which she is widely known and loved.

In 1995, Callaghan collaborated with a local group of professional artists to form the Rockaway Artists Allance (RAA), an organization whose mission is to encourage and nurture the involvement of Rockaway residents, particularly the youth, in the arts and cultural activities.

Affectionately known as "Mamarina" by many, Callaghan was instrumental in creating the kidsmART afterschool program, which offers an enriching arts-based program to local youth with an emphasis on being kind, imaginative, dependable, sensitive, motivated, accepting, respectful and tolerant.

"The spirit of service and dedication exemplified by the PASEsetter winners lives in each and every individual nominated for the award," explains PASE Board President Alison Overseth. "The selection committee had a tough task in choosing from this pool of extremely qualified and noteworthy candidates; with such talent, heart and commitment working in the field, the future of afterschool is indeed bright."

The Partnership for Afterschool Education is a New York City-focused organization which promotes and supports quality afterschool programs for youth, particularly those from underserved communities, enabling them to identify and reach their full potential.

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