Community & School News August 2018

Fill a Backpack with Love
It’s time to supply some back-to school love to local kids who need it most. Minority Leader Steven Matteo has teamed up with the Dr. Theodore A. Atlas Foundation for his annual summertime drive to collect school supplies for children in need on Staten Island and across the city.

“This year I am partnering with Teddy Atlas and his great foundation to collect backpacks and other supplies for children in our communities, so that they will have the essential tools they need to be successful students,” Minority Leader Matteo said. “I am grateful that my neighbors on Staten Island have made our school supply drive a success in past years, and I am confident they will once again step up to help.”

Those who want to participate can bring a backpack filled with items that students will need for school. Each backpack of supplies should be geared for a specific grade bracket and labelled as such. The drive will last from July 16 through Labor Day – September 3. Supplies can be dropped off at Mateo’s district office, located 900 South Avenue, Suite 403, Staten Island between 9am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, or at the Teddy Atlas Foundation, at 543 Carey Avenue, Staten Island, between 10am-4pm, Monday through Friday. Each bag must be filled with specific supplies and be labelled with the form indicating the contents attached. Click here for a list of contents for each school grade.

New BP Assist App
Borough President James Oddo recently announced the relaunch of his popular BP Assist app, a free tool which allows Staten Islanders to easily report quality-of-life issues through a mobile device. The upgraded app includes new features that make it even easier to report issues directly to the Borough President’s office. Those who already have the app will need to delete their current app and download the new one. BP Assist currently enables Staten Island residents and visitors to quickly report problems such as potholes, litter, and graffiti. Reports are instantly transmitted to the Borough President’s Help Line and then directed to the appropriate agency for action. Additionally, the app contains other resources, including important phone numbers, local news, an events calendar, and a link to the Visit Staten Island tourism website.

Teacher Alert System Created by Local Mom
It’s probably one of the most necessary inventions of our time. A Staten Island mom has developed an alert system for teachers in the classroom that can immediately notify the authorities in the event of an emergency. When Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio, a former CSI professor, realized there was no way for a teacher to quickly reach out for help, she decided to create one. She recruited two other Staten Island moms, Traci Cangiano and Patricia Carrasco to help her create the Teacher Alert System, or TAS, a wireless remote device that can be worn around the neck to provide a direct link to police, fire, ambulance, the principal, and other teachers in the school during an emergency situation. The device includes an “active shooter” button and connects to Wi-Fi, cellular, or satellite, ensuring a no-fail connection at all times. The TAS developers hope to see their device in every classroom throughout the country someday. We hope so too!

Free Trip for Cancer Patients
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with cancer? Cancer Tamer Foundation is hosting a White Water Rafting trip and offering a free ticket to anyone who has had cancer (while supplies last). The trip will take place on August 25 and is open to everyone 18 and over (including non-cancer patients). It includes a full day of fun: white water rafting adventure, lunch, transportation to and from Lehigh River Rafting in the Poconos, and BBQ at the end of the course. To request your free ticket, email [email protected]. You can also help sponsor a cancer patient. The trip fee is $97 for non-cancer patients. Go to for more information..

FDNY Summer Block Party
The FDNY is once again heating up some family fun with their annual Summer Block Party! The annual kid-friendly event takes place in every borough and features food, games, music, firefighters and fun. It’s a one-of-a-kind chance to explore the firehouse and EMS station and meet with fire safety education teams. Kids will also get to meet the FDNY Fire and Life Safety Mascots, Hot Dog and Siren. Staten Island’s Block Party will take place on Saturday, August 18 at Engine 153 / Ladder 77 at 74 Broad Street from 11am to 4pm. For more information, contact the FDNY Community Affairs Unit at 718-999-8112.

Share Your Nanny!
Summer is nanny transition time. Are you or a friend helping your nanny find a new family? Post her on the MommyBites Nanny Board and introduce her to families who are seeking a wonderful new nanny. MommyBites has helped thousands of families in New York find full and part-time nannies. Their website is full of resources to help you find the perfect nanny or find the perfect new family for your nanny. You can even help your babysitter find work on the weekends. Just go to and scroll through the Nannies or Babysitters tab. 

Staten Island Summer Fun Guide
Is summer halfway over or halfway begun? Either way, there’s still a whole month of fun in the sun left! 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 free summer concerts, carnivals and festivals on the Island and in NJ, nearby pick-your-own fruit farms, movies under the stars, free 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. Plus go to you can check out our 12 Weeks of Summer Fun guide, offering up fresh ideas for Staten Island families EVERY SINGLE DAY UNTIL LABOR DAY! Just go to The summer fun is endless. Now go bookmark!

Bridge Prep Coming in 2019
A school for children with dyslexia is officially slated to open in fall of 2019. BP Oddo joined with literacy advocates recently to announce that Bridge Preparatory Charter School, which is designed for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities, was authorized to open by the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. Bridge Prep will be the first public school of its kind in New York State and one of only a few nationwide. Go to for more information.

Dave & Busters Opens in Staten Island
The hugely popular chain Dave & Busters has opened in the Staten Island Mall, offering up 40,000 square feet of food, drinks, arcade games, giant TV screens and more. The restaurant and entertainment center is virtually perfect for people of all ages, and will be an exciting new option for Staten Islanders looking to do something different on family days, date night, or any other occasion where food and fun come together as one.