2010-04-23 / Editorial/Opinion
Keep KidsmART Safe From Budget Cuts
Last week’s crackdown on gangs brought the arrests of nearly 100 gangbangers throughout the public housing projects that dot the peninsula. That fact once more underscores the need for programs that will keep kids and young adults active in pursuits other than gangs and drugs. One of those programs that has been successful through the last ten years in keeping kids occupied after school and during the summer months is the Rockaway Artists Alliance’s kidsmART program. Now, that vital program, which has provided afterschool academic help as well as art education at two sites – Fort Tilden and PS 104 in Bayswater – during the winter and a premier summer camp during the school vacation, will end. The city’s Department of Youth and Community Development has unofficially told the RAA that the funding for the program will end in June. We understand the financial problems facing both the city and the state and that cuts to programs are necessary. We do not believe, however, that cutting vital programs for children (which presently number 500) is the answer when millions of dollars still go to consultants and political cronies. The mayor and other city agencies should take another look at funding the vital afterschool and summer programs for kids and then restore the money. The public needs to make its voice heard by the mayor, DYCD, the City Council and Commissioner Jeanne Mullgrav as to how important these programs are to all of us.