2011-01-28 / Community

Safe Spaces Receives $150K Grant

Safe Space, a Southeast Queensbased nonprofit agency committed to helping at-risk families and children secure a better future, has received a $150,000 grant from the New York Life Foundation.

“This award provides essential funding to enhance programs with demonstrated success in addressing two of the most critical issues facing our youth today, education and employment,” states Christine Molnar, Safe Space CEO and president. The New York Life Foundation’s funds will be used specifically for Safe Space’s afterschool programs serving over 750 young children annually. They will also support the “Steps to Success” initiative, a job-readiness program designed for teenagers.

“The New York Life Foundation is proud to support Safe Space, an organization that is committed to improving the quality of life and academic skills of at-risk youth in Queens,” says Marlyn Torres, assistant vice president, New York Life Foundation. “The afterschool programs we are supporting help elementary [school] students strengthen their overall educational experience and enhance skills that lead to self-sufficiency and personal growth.”

“We are extremely grateful to the New York Life Foundation for the investment they are making in our children and the future of our community,” adds Molnar. “The current economic climate is difficult for everyone, but the families we serve in Jamaica, Far Rockaway and Richmond Hill have been disproportionately affected. Both of these programs are essential to leveling the playing field for our kids by helping the younger ones succeed in school and providing the older ones the basic skills they need to get a job.”

Safe Space’s afterschool curriculum provides students (K-Grade 8) with the resources and support needed to excel in school. Each three-hour weekday session begins with homework assistance (over 80 percent of participants report completing their daily homework assignments). The students also participate in enrichment, cultural and recreational activities designed to develop critical thinking, creative and team-building skills. The elementary school program operates in P.S. 30 in Jamaica and also at P.S. 215, P.S. 104 and Knowledge and Power Preparatory Academy (KAPPA VI Junior High) in Far Rockaway.

The Steps-to-Success vocational program offers young adults (ages 16-20) the basic employment skills required to seek, secure and maintain a job. This comprehensive 13- week series features twice weekly targeted two-hour sessions on subjects such as creating a compelling resume and cover letter, learning conflict-resolution skills, and becoming financially literate. Interview and public speaking techniques are taught through role-playing.

Safe Space annually helps more than 10,000 individuals, including some of the most disadvantaged children and families in New York State. It provides a broad spectrum of integrated direct services designed to strengthen families, build self-sufficiency and guide them towards productive futures, including comprehensive mental health, community health, at-risk youth, family support and school partnership programs. For more information, please visit the website at: www.safespacenyc.org.

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