Community & School News April 2017

Important School Dates

April 10 -18 – Spring Recess (including Passover and Good Friday) Public Schools closed

Dine Out for Autism

Dining Out is much more fun when it’s for a great cause. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, restaurants throughout the five boroughs and Long Island have designated a portion of sales in April to directly benefit the Eden II & Genesis Foundation. Eden II provides programs and services for children and adults living with autism on Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Services include schools, adult day programs, family support programs, residential programs, consultation and training.

Over 30 restaurants are running special promotions to help raise funds and awareness, 17 of which are located in Staten Island. Click here to link to the full list and to learn more about the Dine Out For Autism initiative.

Light It Up Blue!

Will you shine a light on autism Awareness? Sunday, April 2 is World Autism Awareness Day. In honor of the day, the group Autism Speaks encourages the world to “Light It Up Blue” to spread awareness. The initiative is supported globally, with such iconic landmarks as the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Sydney Opera House glowing blue in past years. You can show your own support by wearing blue clothes or accessories, switching your outdoor lights to blue bulbs, or sharing your “LIUB” pictures on social media using the hashtag #LIUB. Click here to learn more ways to go blue on April 2 and to learn how you can make a donation to Autism Speaks.

St. George Day 2017

What do dragons and Earth Day have in common? They’re the stars of the show at the annual St. George Day celebration on Staten Island’s North Shore. The popular community festival will take place Saturday, April 22 from 11am to 5pm in and around Tompkinsville Park. The free event will include kids’ activities, family oriented fun, outdoor art installations, live music, street performance, crafts, and Earth Day demonstrations. Several of St. George Day’s signature offerings, including Earth Day Zone, Art Around the Park, the Festival Dragon Parade, and the giant 35-foot puppet spectacle, “St. George & the Friendly Dragon,” will again be presented. The Dragon Parade kicks off at 2pm. Organizers are also seeking volunteers to help out on the day of the event. High School students will receive community service credit for their participation. Click here for further details on this exciting Staten Island tradition.

P.S. 30: A Place to Grow

Earth Day may be approaching, but the students of P.S. 30 are eco-conscious all year round.  Staten Island Parent columnist and Community Education Council President Michael Reilly recently met with the Westerleigh school’s Green Team coordinator, Mrs. Mitchell, to discuss the program.

The Green Team is a student driven program to help make a positive impact in the community by choosing environmentally friendly habits. The Team’s main responsibility is to collect and sort bottles for recycling, with students working in shifts and logging their hours. The school then deposits the money earned from recycling into an account and the Team holds discussions and votes on how to use the funds for the school. New plants, trees and other items to spruce up the school building are some of the items the Team has purchased. On Fridays the students are “paid” in the form of sweet treats from Assistant Principal Mr. Napolitano. The Green Team has partnered with several city agencies and organizations that align with their mission. One organization is NYC GROW, which provided a grant to purchase a Greenhouse in Mrs. Mitchell’s science room.

“It was great listening to the students explain their efforts with such pride,” Reilly said. “The program allows the students to demonstrate cross learning, applying organizational skills, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. The Green Team is a wonderful program and definitely makes P.S. 30 ‘A Place To Grow.’”

P.S. 50’s Budding Artists

Borough President Oddo recently welcomed several talented 4th grade students from P.S. 50 to Borough Hall to view their own beautiful artwork on display. The students had been asked to use specific perspective techniques and color grouping to play with depth perception, and were inspired by artists Wayne Thiebaud, John Sloan and Georgia O’Keefe.

Members of the BP’s design team spoke to the youngsters about real world applications of art and how their office uses graphic design to convey messages to the public. “You are the future of art, and I hope you continue down this path,” BP Oddo told them. The artwork will be displayed in room 125 through April.

Running for Life

On Sunday, March 19, more than 20,000 runners from around the world participated in the United Airlines NYC Half, the signature half-marathon of the New York Road Runners (NYRR). Runners race for a myriad of reasons, and this year many ran the 13.1 miles to overcome and advocate for major health issues and in honor of loved ones. That includes a few Staten Islanders.

Five sisters ran together to fight for a cure to heal their 14-year-old nephew, John Hudson, from a rare and painful degenerative skin condition. Team Sista Act has become more than a running team, but a support system for oldest sibling and mother of John Hudson, Faye Dilgen.  Her sisters have rallied over the course of John Hudson’s life to provide childcare that encompasses many of his special needs. Faye, a runner herself, admits that her hobby can sometimes make her feel selfish, but she reminds herself daily that sometimes, “you have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can put on your child’s.”

Kristin DeClara, 29, who is living with Crohn’s disease, ran for the first time a year after losing her father to a stroke. Troubled by the ability of the disease to disrupt her daily routine, she found that exercise eased her struggle throughout the years. Running also helped her grieve the loss of her father last year. DeClara says that being out on the race course “grants her the normalcy life wasn’t kind enough to offer.” She is simply a fellow runner and isn’t defined by the effects of her disease or the unexpected nature of life.

Well-Deserved Discounts for Vets

Many businesses offer discounts to veterans as a symbol of gratitude for their heroic service. If you are a local business owner offering such a discount, the Borough President’s office is asking that you alert them to the offer so that they may expand their current list of local businesses offering veteran discounts. You can email the details to Allison Cohen at [email protected] or call (718) 816-2136.

If you are a veteran, you can find the list at We thank you for your service!

High Rock Park Challenge

Grab a buddy and rock the competition! The 2017 High Rock Challenge Adventure Race will take place on Saturday, April 29. Held in memory of NYPD Officer John Kelly, two-member teams must run together at all times and compete in mystery events located throughout the approximately 10k course along Staten Island’s Greenbelt trail system. This year, free training sessions will be offered Saturdays in April at 10:30am. No RSVP is needed– just show up on time at Henry Kaufmann Campground (1131 Manor Rd.). Proceeds from the High Rock Challenge support the Greenbelt Conservancy. Link to the registration form and more info here. If you are interested in volunteering to assist with handing out refreshments and directing the runners, call 718-667-2165 ext. 311 or email [email protected]

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