Community & School News August 2016

Arthur Ashe Kids Day
Arthur Ashe Kids Day is back to kick off the US Open with star studded performances, games, attractions and more! Celebrating its 21st year, the exciting family-friendly event will be held on Saturday, August 27, at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, Queens. From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., kids and their families can enjoy an exciting array of free tennis games, live music and attractions taking place throughout the grounds. Inside Arthur Ashe Stadium from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., the live tennis and music show will feature fun exhibition matches and skills competitions with Djokovic and Nadal, as well as musical performances by Flo Rida, Larsson, Fisher, Marano, Sivan, and Forever In Your Mind.

The popular annual event is considered the largest single-day, grassroots tennis and entertainment event in the world. Proceeds from Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day benefit the USTA Foundation, which helps fund the National Junior Tennis & Learning (NJTL) network, a nationwide group of more than 500 nonprofit youth-development organizations that provide free or low-cost tennis, education and life-skills programming to more than 225,000 children each year. Click here to find out how to purchase your tickets.

Supplying Some Love

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. Last year was a record-breaking one for the annual charity drive; more than 19,400 students began the last school year with brand new, filled backpacks. Want to help? Donations can be dropped off Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, at Council Member Steven Matteo’s office, 900 South Avenue, Suite 403. For more information on supplies needed for each grade, click here to link to the Volunteers of America website, or email [email protected]

Running the Company
Start as a student and finish as a CEO! The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Academy (SICCF YEA!) is offering business-minded high school students the chance to learn how to start and run their own real companies. The only program of its kind in New York City, students enrolled in the YEA! program learn from local business owners and educators to develop ideas, create business platforms and then deliver a funding pitch at the Investors Panel, the YEA! version of TV’s Shark Tank. Students are also mentored through the trademark and branding of their product. Upon completing the program, students own and manage their own functioning businesses.

“Those who complete the 30-week program walk away with skills they need to open their own business,” said Chamber president, Linda Baran. “And even if they never open a business, they learn skills they can utilize all their life. There are many benefits to receiving hands-on access to local businesses, and the Chamber is happy to be able to provide that access to our YEA students.” The program will run from September 2016 to May 2017. Go to page 51 of the August issue of Staten Island Parent for more info, and link to an application here. The deadline to apply is September 16.

Aubrey Paige’s Fight Against SMA
Aubrey Paige Ibrahim is just three years old, but she’s already a fighter. Diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy at six months old, she was given less than two years to live and has beating the odds ever since. Although SMA affects her ability to walk, eat, and even breathe, she hasn’t let her illness take away her ability to live and love life. She knows her ABC’s and 123’s, enjoys arts and crafts, playing with her dollhouse and iPad, and especially her new puppy, and even visits the zoo sometimes.

Aubrey’s family is extremely proud of her and they want to see her continue to thrive. Unfortunately, she requires the daily use of expensive medical equipment to keep her alive. She is currently in need of a wheelchair-accessible van so she can be easily transported to her many doctor’s appointments. Aubrey’s mom quit her job to care for her, and unfortunately her medical bills are increasing more each day. Friends of Aubrey and her family are hosting a fundraiser this month to assist with those expenses and to fund the wheelchair accessible van she desperately needs. The event will be held on August 21 at Great Kills Little League, and will feature tons of fun for the whole family. Click here for more information. They are also looking for corporate sponsors. If your business would like to help little Aubrey Paige, please contact Danielle Medina at 347-267-6711.

Get Up and Go
Nothing brings families together more than a healthy dose of competition (just not with each other, of course). City Parks Foundation’s “Get Up & Go! Family Adventure Race” is an exciting parent-child race that incorporates basic exercises with sports skills on a course featuring 12 activity stations. Team members must properly perform the required exercise or task before advancing to the next station and final run to the finish line. Activities include: javelin throw, jump rope, basketball free throw, hurdles, and a mini climbing wall. Although awards will be given to the top three finishers in each age group, everyone who completes the race goes home with t-shirts and certificates of completion. The race will take place in Conference House Park on Sunday, August 14. Registration is free but required, and teams must include one parent and up to two children in the same age groups. The 8-10-year-old group starts at 10am, and the 11-13-year-old group is at 11am. Link to a registration form here.

Too Good for Drugs
Teaching children the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse is more crucial than ever, and the “Too Good for Drugs” initiative is a great place to start. Borough President Oddo recently joined with members of the NYPD to congratulate the 5th grade students of P.S. 69 who participated in the program. Now in its second year, the curriculum is co-taught in the classroom by an NYPD police officer and a schoolteacher. Students are taught the dangers of addition and consequently pledge to abstain from tobacco, alcohol and drugs. Over 5,000 students on Staten Island participated this year from every public school on Staten Island as well as several parochial schools.

BP Oddo described addiction to the students using a metaphor. “Once you turn on that light switch, it’s really hard to turn it off, even if you want to,” he said. “You have to think about all the things the police officers taught you, long after you leave 5th grade.”

“One thing this program shows is how, together, there’s nothing we can’t do,” said Assistant Chief Edward Delatorre, Borough Commander of NYPD, speaking to the graduates. “We are so proud of you. You are the reinforcements we need in the battle against substance abuse.”

Summertime in Staten Island
Summer may be halfway over, but that just means there’s still a whole month left to soak up as much sun and fun as you can! Want to stay up to date on all of the best seasonal happenings on the Island? Just head to and we’ll keep you in the loop with fireworks schedules, free summer concerts, carnivals and festivals on the Island and in NJ, nearby pick-your-own fruit farms, movies under the stars, free beach events and entertainment, free or low-cost events at local cultural institutions like the Staten Island Children’s Museum and the Staten Island Zoo, summertime ideas and activities for kids and so much more. The summer fun is endless! Now go bookmark!

Staten Island Opens a Family Justice Center Location
Doors are now open to a new much-needed facility, the Staten Island Family Justice Center. Located at 126 Stuyvesant Place, SIFJC is the fifth in the City’s network of wrap-around help centers, to ensure every victim and survivor of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking is able to seek assistance, safety, and legal services near home.

Building on the nationally-recognized Family Justice Center model and the strong partnerships of agencies created through the Staten Island Domestic Violence Response Team operating here since 2012, the SIFJC will provide comprehensive multilingual services to victims and their children. With the goal of helping victims be safe and put their lives back together, the SIFJC employs a comprehensive care approach– meaning that in a single visit, victims can meet with a prosecutor; receive legal advice on federal immigration remedies, divorce and custody issues, and orders of protection; talk to a counselor; learn about educational and job training opportunities; and apply for emergency housing – all while their children play safely in the next room.

Historic Findings at Rossville Church
A significant discovery was made last month at Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church, where researchers using penetrative radar uncovered 574 unmarked graves dating back to at least 1853. The New York Landmarks Conservancy then announced the findings at the church, which is a part of the historic Sandy Ground community, one of the most important African-American settlements in the country and one of the most important African-American gravesites.

Birthday Freebies!
Everyone deserves free stuff on their birthday! Head over to to find out where you can cash in on tons of free stuff on your special day. Kids can enjoy free ice cream at Carvel, free burritos at Moe’s Southwest Grill, free pretzels at Auntie Anne’s and so much more! Click here to start reaping those sweet birthday benefits. And while you’re there, be sure to sign up for our monthly birthday club and get ten free tokens at Fun Station. Go to page 73 to check out the Staten Island Parent Birthday Club.

That’s What Friends Are For
Fun family-friendly events, exclusive online giveaways, big savings from local merchants, and always up-to-date seasonal happenings are just a few great reasons to become a Family of Friends member! To start receiving the SI Parent weekly newsletter, just click here and fill out some basic info. It’s fast and easy. You can also sign up directly from our Facebook page by clicking on the “Sign Up” app button. We promise we won’t spam you; we’ll only send you the good stuff!