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  • girl with special needs with another girl sitting in grass Special Needs Guide

    Are you raising a child in Staten Island with autism, ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, developmental disabilities, down syndrome or anyone differently abled in any way? The Staten Island Special Needs Guide contains information, resources, doctors, psychologists, therapists, other professionals for parents of children with special needs.

  • Camp Half Bood Why Summer Camp Friendships Are Important

    Now more than ever, kids need the close bonds formed at camp. Summer camp is a place for kids to have fun and practice independence—but it’s also a unique opportunity for them to form deep, long-lasting friendships. The friends that kids make in camp—whether it’s day camp or sleepaway—often last years, even decades. In a survey of more than 5,000 families around the U.S., 69 percent of families said their camper was still in contact with the kids they met at camp. That’s why during this period of social isolation brought on by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for kids to experience the kinds of friendships made at summer camp. Making Friends at Summer Camp Camp, as it turns out, is uniquely suited to provide all the very best ingredients for forming friendships: An escape from routine, shared activities, and exposure to new things—all happening under the watchful eye of well-trained role models. Here are a few reasons why those camp friendships form—and last—so powerfully. Campers share their successes. After a year of remote or hybrid school, kids are craving the opportunity to share an immediate and intimate experience with others their own age—which is exactly what happens at camp. Whether it’s a soccer match or an obstacle course—or at the Greek mythology-based Camp Half-Blood, potion-making and stealth games—campers achieve small successes together. This comradery leads to meaningful bonds. Campers interact with each other—not screens. Without screens, campers are forced to makes face-to-face contact (something that’s been in short supply lately). They can also have conversations without being distracted by a phone or other device; and they don’t have to worry about their social media profiles or “likes”—which makes every interaction more genuine and affirming. With the pressures of the outside world removed, what remains is a common routine and activities grounded in the present. Campers share interests and experience. Kids with unique interests or talents can bond over their shared passions. At Camp Half-Blood, when kids choose their “hometown” group (Athens, Mycenae, Sparta, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Thebes), like-minded demigods will gravitate to the same group, so the campers who chose Sparta share a love of sword-fighting and epic battles, while those who picked Athens enjoy strategy and trivia. Being with others who have the same interests can prevent kids from feeling isolated. It also makes “breaking the ice” a little easier when meeting new people. Counselors inspire connections. In addition to being a role model, a camp counselor’s job is to help kids form friendships. Many counselors, like those at Camp Half-Blood, have been campers themselves and have made friends through the experience—a process that they want to inspire in their campers. Also, counselors are trained to empower kids to feel comfortable contributing to the group. This leads a child to feel valued and confident, making it easier for her to find friends. Campers can be themselves. “Camp allows children to reinvent themselves and be who they want to be in a positive, supportive environment,” Jess Michaels, the communications director for the American Camp Association of New York and New Jersey, says. The shy child may become the outgoing child, and the child who may be not intro sports at home might be athletic at camp. At Camp Half-Blood, campers gain the tools (from the fields of theater, fine arts, debate, imaginative inquiry, STEM—and of course, the fields of battle) to tell their own stories. Also kids at Camp Half-Blood get to choose their parent-god—their bandanna represents their choice: orange for Athena, yellow for Apollo, etc. And they get to choose their own electives. It’s an environment that encourages kids to figure out who they are and open themselves up—which leads to more honest relationships. Sharing tradition leads to closeness. Campers often connect over the themes and rituals that camp offers—whether that’s campfire songs or at Camp Half-Blood, the Olympics, when campers compete in sword-fighting, trivia, narrative art, and a foot race. These customs can keep campers in close contact after camp and returning year after year. Diversity creates social awareness. For some kids, camp may be their first time meeting people outside of their neighborhood or school. For others, it might be their first time meeting kids like themselves. Either way, kids will learn to interact with people of different backgrounds, practice asking questions and figuring out appropriate self-disclosure. They’ll also learn respect for others. Campers will share memories. What happens at camp tends to stick with kids for a long time. That might be sneaking out of their cabins or winning a game of tennis. At Camp Half-Blood, it might be a few epic rounds of Mythomagic (a tabletop role-playing game similar to Dungeons & Dragons)—or simply a meaningful conversation with a like-minded peer. These memories bind kids and lead to long-lasting friendships. Sending your child to camp might be a difficult decision this year. There are potential health concerns and changes in protocols. On the other hand, it’s been a difficult year for kids and camp is probably exactly what they need, especially when it comes to connecting with others and making real friends.

  • summer camp is back poster Summer Camp Prepares Kids for College

    Summer camp has many benefits for kids. They gain independence, form friendships, and learn new skills. And although it may not be obvious, camp helps prepare kids for college and beyond. Day camps, as well as sleepaway camps, introduce kids to a world without their parents — one which is nurturing yet challenging, and one which gives kids the skills and psychological advantages that will help them thrive after they leave home. Campers learn to adapt Campers have no control over who is in their bunk, or if their friends will return the following summer. Each year, they must find a way to accept their assignments and adapt to new situations. This experience is mirrored in college when students must figure out how to navigate a new world. And it turns out that kids who went to camp are much better prepared when these challenges arise in college. Campers gain confidence Unlike many schools, camps like Staten Island Academy Day Camp create a judgment-free community. Campers are encouraged to explore new activities and counselors are trained to help campers keep trying until they succeed. This instills a confidence in kids that carries over into the rest of their lives. A young person who feels good about themself is less likely to make poor choices because they feel a sense of accomplishment in rising to the developmental challenges that face them. This will stay with them throughout their school years and beyond. Campers become resilient The first week of camp is full of unknowns: Who are these counselors? What are these traditions? Where do I go? Who will be my friends? Will I be successful? Similar questions and challenges will arise in college as well. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids are encouraged to confront and overcome this uncertainty—whether it’s in an enrichment camp like Engineering Using Legos or the Talented and Gifted Program. This resiliency will make the next uncertainty easier to handle. Campers embrace and learn from diversity Camp not only introduces kids to people who are different from them, it also celebrates those differences. At Staten Island Academy Day Camp, kids learn that diversity widens their comfort zones and broadens their minds. Also, because the staff is so inclusive, kids tend to become fast friends, which will make that first day of college freshman orientation a lot easier and more familiar. Campers gain a strong sense of self There are kids who will jump at the chance to be in the annual camp show and others who shy away from the spotlight. There are athletes, artists, intellects, comedians—and they all attend Staten Island Academy Day Camp, where all campers are encouraged to discover who they really are and are praised and rewarded for that process. These kids will take that strong sense of self with them—back to school and onwards to college. Campers practice being away from home Camp helps kids adjust to being away from home by giving them practice being away from home. Campers, often as young as kindergarten or first grade, get to experience being separated from their parents while still being nurtured and cared for. Homesickness, even at day camp, is natural, and getting through that discomfort with the help of a counselor or friend is an empowering experience for a child of any age. When homesickness happens at college, campers will know there’s always someone to help—whether it’s a roommate, friend, professor, or advisor. It can be a tough decision to send your child to summer camp—especially during the uncertainties of the pandemic. But camp will not only provide a fun and enriching experience, it will also help kids become more equipped to deal with the challenges ahead of them.

  • kid getting covid vaccine Everything You Need to Know About Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine in Staten Island

    Updated May 11, 2021 The FDA has just approved the Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15. COVID-19 vaccination distribution in New York City and throughout New York State began Monday, Jan. 11. All vaccinations are free and are available to all New Yorkers ages 16+. Certain locations are now offering walk-ins. See below for everything you need to know about getting the Covid vaccine, as well as an updated list of Covid testing sites from the Borough President’s office. Who can get vaccinated in Staten Island? All New Yorkers ages 16+ are eligible for the vaccine. The FDA just authorized Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, which paves the way for camp this summer and the 2021-2022 school year. Where can I get vaccinated in Staten Island? You can use this online tool to find a vaccination location and make your appointment. The COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline is also open for scheduling appointments at 1-888-NYS-4-VAX. Eligible groups in NYC can use the portal at vaccinefinder.nyc.gov to find a location nearest them. Once you confirm eligibility and make an appointment, you will need to fill out this New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Form. After you receive your first dose, a second shot will be needed 3-4 weeks after in order to protect you from the virus. You can learn more about the benefits of getting vaccinated here. When can children get vaccinated? As of May 10, the FDA approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 12-15. According to NPR, the vaccine elicited “100 percent efficacy and robust antibody responses” and no serious side effects in a trial including 2,260 participants between the ages 12-15. These results were said to be even better than early responses from participants ages 16-25. The hope is “starting to vaccinate this age group before the start of the next school year.” They will ask the regulators to expand authorizations for the vaccine to be used in young people. In Pfizer’s clinical trial, 18 adolescents in the placebo group developed COVID-19 and 0 in the vaccinated group did. Those in the vaccinated group showed a strong immune response one month after receipt of the second vaccine dose, according to test data released by Pfizer.  The companies are currently working toward testing the vaccine in children as young as six months. A group of kids ages 5-11 years old received their first shots for the first part of that study last week and a second group, ages 2-5, are slated to receive first doses next week. Moderna is also testing its vaccine in adolescents, having announced a trial of approximately 3,000 participants ages 12-18 in December. Earlier this month, it administered the first vaccine dose to children six months old to 12 years old. Johnson & Johnson is slated to test its vaccine on a small number of adolescents, with plans to expand pending safety. Covid Testing in Staten Island • WALK UP SITES NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt 165 Vanderbilt Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10304 Monday through Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm Call for appointment: 844-692-4692Curbside Testing – Delco Drugs 3833 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10312 MUST MAKE AN APPOINTMENT: 718-984-6600 Former St. John Villa  57 Cleveland Place, Staten Island NY 10305 ​Monday – Sunday, 9am – 7pm Staten Island Ferry Terminal Terminal Level 1 (Retail space 103 by the North Shore Esplanade Exit) Monday – Sunday  9:00am – 7:00pm No appointment, walk-ins only ​ Super Health Pharmacy 6400 Amboy Road 718-967-4600 * Must book appointment online Rapid Test $120, Free test with insurance takes 4-5 days Central Family Life Center – MONDAYS ONLY 59 Wright Street, Staten Island, NY 10304 MONDAYS ONLY from 11:00am to 4:00pm No appointment needed. Just walk in. Minors under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult. This is a self swab test. VA Clinic – ELIGIBLE BOROUGH VETERANS ONLY 1150 South Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314 Borough veterans who are eligible for a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine can get vaccinated at the Staten Island VA clinic in Bloomfield beginning Tuesday, January 26.  Appointments will be available Tuesday through Thursday for high-risk veterans and those aged 65 and older. Appointments MUST be made by calling 877-877-9267. • DRIVE-THRU SITES Advantage Care Physicians – Richmond Avenue Office (located outside the Staten Island Mall) All screenings and tests are by appointment only. Call: 866-749-2660 www.acpny.com/live-well/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-testing​ South Beach Psychiatric Center 777 Seaview Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305 Call for appointment: 888-364-3065Snug Harbor Cultural Center 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301 Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm Call for appointment: 1-888-ONE-MED1 ​ Walgreens 955 Manor Road, Staten Island, NY 10314 Self-administered test. Check for eligibility: www.walgreens.com/findcare/covid19/testing NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt 165 Vanderbilt Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10304 No appointment needed CVS Locations Six CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations on Staten Island will be offering self-swab COVID-19 testing. Patients will be required to stay in their cars and will be given a test kit and instructions through the pharmacy window. A CVS Pharmacy team member will be observe the self-swab process to ensure it is completed correctly. Appointments are necessary. https://cvshealth.com/covid-19/testing-locations 4065 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10308 1571 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10302 250 Page Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10307 2045 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10303 2465 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314 1125 Bay Street, Staten Island, NY 10305 • URGENT CARES Advantage Care Physician Richmond Avenue 2655 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island NY 10314 866-394-2660Advantage Care Physician Clove Road 1050 Clove Road, Staten Island NY 10301 866-394-2260 ​​CityMD Richmond Urgent Care 2187 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314 646-682-7364 CityMD New Dorp Urgent Care 2710 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306 718-489-3551 ProHEALTH Circle Urgent Care of Bulls Head 2960 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314 718-370-2014 Northwell Health – GoHealth Urgent Care 1700 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10305 718-502-8425 Chai Urgent Care 1975 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306 646-558-2424 Northwell Health – GoHealth Urgent Care 4316 Amboy Road, Staten Island, NY 10312 929-282-4146 Northwell Health – GoHealth Urgent Care 1445 Richmond Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10314 929-219-0622 CityMD Forest Ave Urgent Care 812 Forest Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10310 718-571-9196 ProHEALTH Circle Urgent Care of [more…]

  • Incredible Kids Awards

    Staten Island’s Incredible Kids Awards recognizes and honors outstanding children in the community. Each month, we ask Staten Islanders to nominate kids who’ve made a difference in their community or in the lives of others. The honorees and their impressive achievements will be recognized in Staten Island Parent and on siparent.com, and will receive a $150 Amazon gift card, courtesy of Staten Island University Hospital. Scroll down and click the button at the bottom of the page to enter or vote for the child you feel deserves to be honored in Staten Island’s Incredible Kids Awards. Meet May’s Featured Pediatric Specialist Staten Island University Hospital’s board-certified Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Shahed Quraishi, specializes in diagnosing and treating heart problems in children, and when indicated, consults with pediatric heart surgeons to determine the best treatment and intervention. Shahed Ahmed Quraishi, MD Director of Pediatric Cardiology   Click the button above to enter or vote for a child in Staten Island’s Incredible Kids Awards! Nomination Period: May 1 – May 16 Voting Period: May 17– MAy 31 New Contest Begins on or around June 1 Meet Staten Island’s Incredible Kids Meet the September Incredible Kid of the Month, Caylee Pecorato! Meet the October Incredible Kid of the Month, Angelina Palmer! Meet the November Incredible Kids of the Month, Amina & Ariana Cross! Meet the December Incredible Kid of the Month, Julianna DiLeo! Meet the January Incredible Kid of the Month, Elena Borrero! Meet the February Incredible Kid of the Month, James Fauci!

  • boy having fun at staten island park The Top 10 Parks in Staten Island

    Staten Island families seeking an outdoor oasis this summer don’t have to look far when it comes to enjoying one of the island’s many parks. Parents said they are fortunate to live in a borough that boasts over 12,000 acres of green space thanks to Staten Island’s Greenbelt and Gateway National Recreation, and where finding a neighborhood park is easy, close by, and allows them to enjoy a day outdoors in nature with their families. For parents who want their kids to unplug and unwind, there is no shortage of open spaces to fit the bill for spending a day of fun and frolicking in Mother Nature — from the North to the South shores. Large or small, playful or picturesque, there are many Staten Island parks that families can visit to get a combination of recreational facilities, public amenities, and natural beauty. An informal survey of Staten Island parents who frequent local parks said their top criteria for park selection includes: safety, cleanliness, ample playground and open space, proximity to their home or school, public restrooms, and a variety of other sports and recreational features, such as bike, walking and hiking paths, basketball courts, and sprinklers in the warm weather to name a few. Here are Staten Island Parent’s top picks for parks where parents can enjoy their next outdoor adventure. Bloomingdale Park Parents said this park, located at Drumgoole Road West and Lenevar Avenue, is a prime spot for expansive walking trails and sports facilities, including baseball and soccer fields. The 130-acre park and natural space also has two areas for kid play, a sprinkler, and a public restroom facility. Kids even go sledding there in the winter. “There’s something for whatever we want to do — a jungle gym, sports field, trails for walking, and the surrounding block is smooth for bike riding and roller skating,” said mom Kristin Shtrahman, who noted that the sprinklers add additional fun in the hot summer months. Although she lives in Mariners Harbor, she frequents the South Shore oasis because it is her 5-year-old daughter Cadence’s favorite park. Dad Gennaro Lattanzi agrees about its amenities, and said the park is always teeming with children for his son to play with. The fenced-in play area only has two entry and exit points, which is a plus for safety conscious parents. His family also enjoys the bike trails inside and on the perimeter of the park, as well as watching the “old timers” play bocce ball. “It’s nice to see people of all ages using the park every day,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood treasure if you ask me.” Bloomingdale Park scores high with moms, like Nicole Biancanielo of Woodrow, who rank it as the cleanest park, with a multitude of playground options for kids of all ages, as well as a huge field for open play. In addition, the park hosts free holiday events throughout the year, with bounce houses, games, and face painting, which is one of her 6-year-old daughter’s favorite perks. Pirate Park This Nelson Avenue and Tennyson Drive park offers a creative twist on local play with the high seas nearby. The pirate-themed park is a favorite among parents with little buccaneers who want to navigate a day of imaginative exploring and adventure with other shipmates. With the the marina at Great Kills Harbor as a backdrop, this nautical setting is complete with a shipwrecked boat and a shark to climb on, Staten Island Ferry boat and lighthouse structures for exploring, as well as wide play areas. Parents love the park for its options for both young and older children, beautiful scenery, and safe ample area to ride bikes and skateboards. It has two sections — one fenced-in area with toddler-friendly swings, jungle gym for climbing, a sandbox, and sprinklers in the warm weather, as well as an area for older kids. “It is right on the water by the boatyard, so you see and hear the ocean and there are always ducks you can feed,” Ms. Biancanielo explained. “It’s a great time for the kids.” “The views are great and you can see some sea life, wildlife, and boats at the marina,” said another mom. Read Next | This Is How to Find a Mom Crew near You Willowbrook Park Part of the Staten Island Greenbelt, this gem is located on Eton Place off Victory Boulevard, with an alternate entrance on Victory at Morani Street, and houses the “Carousel for All Children,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Families can enjoy a stroll around the park and stop at its three main attractions — including the beautifully painted, colorful merry-go-round operated by the nonprofit Greenbelt Conservancy in partnership with the New York Parks Department, Staten Island, and the small, but equally fun, playground for toddlers with a jungle gym for climbing, monkey bars, and slides. Afterward, families can venture over to the duck pond and feed some feathered friends, and do some catch and release fishing. The park also has a picnic area with tables, a tennis court, baseball fields, hiking trails, as well as seasonal activities, including canoeing, archery, a Huckleberry Finn fishing contest, pumpkin festival, and other family days. The Carousel operates early May through early October from 11 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and costs $2 per ride. Read Next | I Caught My Child Watching Porn Schmul Park Toddlers of all ages flock to this park favorite which boasts a completely fenced-in facility with a soft padded covering on most of the ground for added safety and protection, which moms really love. Located on Wild Avenue off Victory Boulevard near Melvin Avenue in Travis, the park is “spacious and super safe for little ones to run around and go wild,” in one mom’s words. “I love that the floor is all foam so the kids don’t get hurt so bad if they fall,” said another mom. “It’s small enough where you can see your kids no matter where they are,” added another [more…]


Activities and Events

may, 2021