2010-04-30 / Columnists

From The Artists Studio

Save KidsmART – A Program That Works
Commentary by Susan Hartenstein

Elijah S. participates in a drawing lesson at kidsmART’s PS 104Q site. Elijah S. participates in a drawing lesson at kidsmART’s PS 104Q site. You can help in our efforts to sustain kidsmART. Read to the end to find out how.

RAA’s kidsmART after-school program is being threatened with annihilation by city budget cuts. Remember the expression, “Penny wise and pound foolish”? kidsmART provides top-notch, highly touted activities to Rockaway children at both ends of the peninsula, with sites in Fort Tilden and PS 104 in Bayswater. It more than just keeps them occupied and off the streets. It fosters creative thinking and problem solving abilities through its many activities.

It allows youth, at vulnerable stages of their life, to channel their sometimes boundless energy in positive formats, where they can express their innermost thoughts, fears and concerns in a proven safe, loving and encouraging environment. This is a program that works. Just ask any kidsmART parent or grandparent. Just read the testimonial letters from families and participants. In addition, youth receive academic help.

kidsmART gives Rockaway youth – from both ends of the peninsula – a place to go, to grow, to find a home away from home, a second family of friends and mentors. It provides a place to not become a gangbanger, to be taught methods of settling differences that don’t include bullying or brutality. kidsmART works. It is the only free after-school program of its kind in Rockaway. kidsmART works. It is a source of meaningful employment for local teens, college students and professional artists and educators. kidsmART works. It helps make good citizens of our neighborhood youth, rather than misguided ones. kidsmART works. Brilliantly.

RAA provides kidsmART via an Option II, Out-of-School Time contract with the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). This funding is slated for complete elimination on June 30 as part of the impending city budget cuts. To eliminate kidsmART would be to deny desperately needed services to children and working parents in an already underserved area of the city. Ultimately kidsmART serves us all. Cutting a program that works to save money often results in more being spent down the road. How much does it cost to house a youth in a youth home? How much is a wasted life worth?

kidsmART funding has been threatened before and was saved. But this time it looks as though it will go through. If you want to let city officials know how much kidsmART is worth, write and call:

DYCD Commissioner Jeanne Mullgrav Jmullgrav@dycd.nyc.gov 156 Williams Street, 6th floor, NY, NY, 10038, 212-442-5900.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn www.coun cil.nyc.gov Scroll to bottom of page, click on contact speaker and fill out form. 224 West 30 Street, suite 1206, NY, NY 10001, 212- 564-7757.

District 31 Councilman James Sanders 226-18 Merrick Boulevard, Laurelton, NY, 11413 jsanders@coun cil.nyc.gov 718-527-4356.

District 32 Councilman Eric Ulrich Eulrich@council.nyc.gov 98-16 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Rockaway, NY 11694, 718-318-6411.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg http:// www.nyc.gov/html/mayor.html.

City Hall, NY, NY 1007, 311 – and register a complaint.

Call 718-474-0861 to speak to Marina Callaghan or Christine Mullally for more information.


Phone: 718-474-0861; Fax: 718-474- 4373; e-mail: info@raa116.org; website: www.rockawayartistsalliance.org.

kidsmART corner

To close the season in Fort Tilden, kidsmART will host a showcase of visual and performing arts on Thursday, May 6, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. in Building T-149. Please join us.

kidsmART is free to children ages 6 – 13. The Fort Tilden location runs through May 6 with sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 3:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. The kidsmART program in PS 104 runs through June 23 and is currently full.

Fort Tilden Highlights

PRESENT RAA EXHIBIT: “40 Shades of Green” in sTudio 7, Rockaway Center for the Arts (RoCA) at Fort Tilden. On view through May 23. Gallery hrs: Sat. and Sun. 12-4 p.m. and by appointment. ART CLASSES FOR CHILDREN AND TEENS: Classes include digital photography, drawing and guitar. Call RAA office for details. PAINTING CLASSES FOR ADULTS: Painting with Geoff Rawling: Tues. 7-9 pm., Thurs. 10 a.m.-12 noon. sTudio 6. $15 per class, supplies included. Experiencing Watercolor with Robert Bainbridge. Wed. 7:30-9:30 pm. sTudio 6. $20 per class or sign up in advance for four consecutive classes in one month for $75 (a $5 value), supplies included.

THURS. NIGHT OPEN MIC: Performing artists of all disciplines invited. sTudio 7 stage. Sign-up: 7:45 p.m. Start time: 8 p.m. Join us. Free.

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