Community & School News August 2015

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Scholarships for Tots
While there’s certainly nothing wrong with teaching your little ones their ABC’s and 123’s, recent studies have shown that toddlers are capable of absorbing much more than the basics. Research conducted by the National Research Council (NRC) and National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) indicates that the expectations regarding the concepts preschoolers may be able to grasp are greatly underestimated. That’s why the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has chosen to host a program this fall for children 2.5-4 years old which will feature both bilingual learning and early STEM (science, math, technology, and engineering) concepts. Children will learn aspects of STEM through age appropriate books, and they will be immersed in the Italian language through musical play, literacy, finger play and puppetry.

The program is funded through a grant from Richmond County Savings Foundation and will give away 10 scholarships, worth $240 each. Classes will meet on Wednesday mornings from 10-11am for eight weeks, beginning in October at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum. You must enter by September to be eligible to win a spot for your child. Click here to learn more and to enter.

National Night Out Against Crime
National Night Out Against Crime is a nationally celebrated annual event intended to promote involvement in crime prevention activities, police-community partnerships, neighbor-hood camaraderie, and to send a message to criminals that neighborhoods are united in fighting back. On a more local level, it’s a fantastic way to show your support for the NYPD and the brave men and women who protect our city every day. This year’s night out will be held Tuesday, August 4 at the Midland Beach Boardwalk. The family-friendly event will include rides, arts and crafts, refreshments, music, and live entertainment as well as free health screenings, safety tips, and NYPD vehicles on display. Click here to learn more about National Night Out Against Crime.

Summer Meals
Kids may be out of school for another month, but hungry bellies don’t take time off for the summer. The Summer Meals program provides free, healthy breakfast and lunch to all children ages 18 and under at hundreds of locations around the City. Children do not need to register or show any kind of documentation or ID to receive their free meal. The program will be available up until the first day of the 2015-16 school year. To find a Summer Meals location near you, text “NYCMEALS” to 877-877, call 311, or link to their website here. And like most things nowadays, there’s also an app for it. Search “Feed Your Mind” in the app store to help you find the nearest Summer Meals location.

A Clearer Future
For students with poor eyesight, a clearer future begins with a new pair of glasses. That’s why Mayor De Blasio has teamed up with Warby Parker to provide a free pair of eyeglasses to any students in need. The city estimates that glasses will be provided to approximately 20,000 students over the next four years. The new partnership will strengthen New York City’s Community Schools initiative, which helps students overcome barriers to learning, such as vision impairments that prevent children from reading or seeing the blackboard.

“Nearly 20 percent of school-aged children have some type of vision impairment. Unfortunately, too many children – particularly those in low income communities – go without vision screenings and glasses because they are inaccessible and unaffordable. And when our students can’t see, they can’t learn. I am grateful to Warby Parker for this partnership so that every child is granted a vision test, and every child who needs glasses will be given a free pair,” said Public Advocate Letitia James.

Mobile Beach Chargers
Don’t you just hate it when you’re at the beach and your cell phone battery dies? This summer, NYC Parks has teamed up with AT&T in deploying nine solar powered mobile charging stations at four of New York City’s beaches, including Midland and South Beach here in Staten Island. The charging stations work day or night, in the sun or shade. The AT&T Street Charge was inspired by restoration efforts following Hurricane Sandy, when AT&T had set up charging stations in devastated areas to help people connect with loved ones in the aftermath of the storm.

No School on Lunar New Year
Another school holiday? The kids won’t mind! The Asian Lunar New Year holiday has been added to the official New York City public schools calendar. Beginning this upcoming school year, all New York City public schools will be closed on the Lunar New Year. During the 2015-16 school year, schools will close on February 8 for the holiday. Students will not lose any instructional days as a result of the Lunar New Year school holiday. “We are proud to be the largest school district in the nation to recognize the heritage of our Asian-American community by recognizing Lunar New Year,” said Mayor DeBlasio.

Project Alive
Ask any child what he wants to be when he grows up, and he might tell you he wants to be a doctor, an actor, or maybe a police officer. But children suffering from Hunter Syndrome only want one thing — to be alive. That’s because most kids with Hunter Syndrome, a rare and degenerative genetic disease, may only live until their teenage years. Four year-old Dany Colmenares was diagnosed with the devastating disease last year, and his parents have been fighting for him every step of the way. They are encouraging others to learn about the Project Alive campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of this devastating disease and to fund research for a cure. Click here to learn more about Project Alive. Click here to learn more about Dany’s journey and to find out how you can help.

Their Futures Look Bright!
Congratulations to Burhan Azeem, 18, and Dylan Kirdahy, 17, of Staten Island Technical High School, winners of the inaugural “10 Under 20: Young Innovators to Watch” award competition. The winners were honored during CE (consumer electronics) Week in June for their inventive projects. Azeem’s project involved a new carbon microtube which may be utilized for anything from energy transportation to biomedical devices, while Kirdahy created a finger-print protected autofill device that will keep people’s online wallet accounts safe without the need for password memorization. The new award competition, which is co-sponsored by CE Week and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), celebrates NYC’s commitment to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) and STEM.

Arthur Ashe Kids Day
Arthur Ashe Kids Day is celebrating its 20th year! Coinciding with the US Open, the exciting family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, August 29, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. Children of all ages and skill levels can participate in tennis clinics, play interactive games, hear live music, and check out tennis’ biggest stars. The event is considered the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world. Click here to find out how to purchase your tickets.

Supplying Those in Need
As you start to check off your child’s supply list for the back-to-school season, consider filling the backpack of a child in need as well. Volunteers of America-Greater New York’s annual Operation Backpack sets out to do just that every single year, by providing backpacks and school supplies to thousands of NYC’s homeless children. Want to help? Donations will be accepted any Walgreens or Duane Reade location near you. Click here to learn more.

The Staten Island Board of Realtors is also collecting donations of school supplies for their annual Pack-to-School Drive. They are now collecting: marble notebooks, loose leaf paper, washable markers, black ink pens, pencils, two-pocket folders, and rulers. Donations may be dropped off at 1535 Richmond Ave. (Suite 3) in Bulls Head/Graniteville or other participating offices. For additional info, contact Linda F. Smith at 718-928-3230 or [email protected]

Helping John Hudson Dilgen
“EB children are like butterflies: fragile but beautiful!” That’s the message you’ll see when you visit the website of John Hudson Dilgen, a young Staten Islander who has been diagnosed with a severe form of a rare skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). John’s condition causes his skin to be fragile and blister off easily, and his particular type of EB causes loss of fingernails and toenails, anemia, failure to thrive, difficulty eating and swallowing, and blisters of the eyes, mouth, esophagus, and even internal organs.

There is currently no known cure for this disease, and John’s life expectancy is only 40 years long. His family is working hard to raise money for research supporting a cure and treatment. Click here to learn more about John and how you can help.

Kohl’s Cares Winners
The annual Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program recognizes students who have made outstanding contributions in their community. This year’s young winners include three of Staten Island’s own. Congratulations to local winners Jordan Clanton, 12, and Christopher Motola, 17, who each won a Kohl’s Cares Gift Card. Hearty congratulations also go to regional winner Meghan Ortega, 11, who received a $1,000 scholarship for higher education. Meghan set out to raise awareness of rare diseases, after being diagnosed with one herself, by organizing a Jeans for Rare Genes fundraiser. She succeeded in raising over $12,000!

Free Mammograms
Project Renewal is back this summer with its mobile Scan Van, providing free mammograms and other health screenings to the uninsured. Women over 40 who haven’t had a mammogram in the last year and are without insurance are welcome to visit a Scan Van location this summer to be tested at no charge. You must first call 1-800-564-6868 to make an appointment. Upcoming Scan Van locations include:
• Saturday, August 1, 9am-12pm at Walgreens (1227 Forest Ave.)
• Saturday, August 1, starting at 1:30pm at Walgreens (2270 Clove Rd.)
• Thursday, August 6, 9am-12pm at the office of Senator Andrew Lanza (3845 Richmond Ave.)
• Thursday, August 6, starting at 1:30pm at Community Health Center of Richmond (235 Port Richmond Ave.)
• Saturday, August 15, 9:30am-12pm the Staten Island Mall )2655 Richmond Ave.)

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