Friday, May 22, 2015

170 Kids May Have No Free Roosevelt Island Youth Program/Beacon Summer Camp - Ask Mayor de Blasio to Restore Summer Camp Funds Says RIYP Director And NYC Council Member Kallos

170 applicants may be turned away from promised spots in the free Roosevelt Island Youth Program (RIYP) Beacon Summer Camp due to a withdrawal of funding by the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) reports RIYP Executive Director Charlie De Fino.

According to Mr. DeFino:

For the last month, DYCD has been pressing us to register as many students as possible for our Summer Camp, and were promised an additional reconciliation funds for it. In accordance, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program / Beacon conducted an aggressive campaign and registered 194 youth, with an additional 50 placed on a waiting list based on the allocated grant. In addition, our staff worked hard to create a detailed work scope curriculum (we call Around Your World in 7 Weeks).

However, last week DYCD sent us a distressing message alerting us that the promised budget will not be available to us. We are now forced to turn down over 170 applicants, even after they were promised a place to go this summer.

As you are well aware, all Private Summer Camps stopped accepting registrations months ago, and the parents of our self-contained community are left without any viable solution. The RIYP is the only available source for a Summer Camp, especially when our community is struggling to offer our youths a safe haven, away from street trouble and crime.

Mr De Fino asks all concerned Roosevelt Island residents to write to NYC Mayor deBlasio, NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC Council Member Ben Kallos to save the RIYP Beacon Summer Program for these 170 kids.

Click here to help keep 170 Kids in the RIYP Beacon Summer Camp.

During last evening's Roosevelt Island Town Hall with our elected representatives, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos

expressed his support for restoring funding to the RIYP Beacon Summer Camp.

More information on the DYCD summer program cuts available at the excellent NYC educational news web site Chalkbeat.

UPDATE 4/26 - Here's text of 4/21 letter sent by Mr. Kallos to Mayor de Blasio and DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong in support of restoring RIYP Summer Camp funding.
RE: Roosevelt Island Youth Program Beacon

Dear Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Chong,

Many residents of Roosevelt Island have contacted my office to express concerns over the defunding of the Roosevelt Island Beacon summer programs. On behalf of this community, I ask that you reinstate the Reconciliation Funds so that many more youth can attend these invaluable programs.

Roosevelt Island Beacon summer programming has been essential to so many families on Roosevelt Island, especially those who cannot afford camps. According to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program, they were notified by the Department of Youth and Community Development officially that they would receive Reconciliation Funds this summer. On May 8, they received an email stating that the money would be redirected to schools with bigger challenges. The Youth Program registered 194 youth with an additional 50 on the waiting list based on the original allocation. With the new allocation, they inform me that they would only be able accept 70 students. Therefore, they would have to turn away 174 children interested in enrolling, including 124 students who had already been accepted.

Restoring funding to the Roosevelt Island Beacon summer programs would be in line with your commitment to support afterschool and summer programs for students from all backgrounds.

If the program had to shrink, it would be a heartbreaking turn of events for the community. Parents rely on these programs to provide engagement and opportunity when they cannot afford traditional summer programming. I implore you to restore these funds, and look forward to working with you to resolve the issue for the constituents of Roosevelt Island.


Ben Kallos
Council Member


rilander said...

This meeting was a colossal waste of time and should be considered an embarrassment for all except Rep. Maloney who un-avoidedly was late because she returned from Washington. Ben Kallos left early, Jose Serrano showed up unannounced, and the format was not what we were led to expect. We were told it was a town hall, not a campaign pre-election session, yet that's what many of us felt. We were asked to submit written questions in advance and that only if time permitted would questions be entertained from the floor. The Q&A didn't begin until after 8:15, with questions being entertained from the floor and at 8:30 we were warned that time was running out. Our questions weren't answered, let alone read. I and others started leaving by 8:35 as the "assistants" were walking around the sides as though to gather their troops. So much for working to put people in office who only want to boast and run their mouths, rather than listen to what this community really needs. As far as I'm concerned this was not a town hall meeting!

mjmnyc said...

Why would expect anything else from politicians?

CheshireKitty said...

First of all, please consider the alternative: None of us want Republicans taking over. The politicians that appeared last night are doing their best. We should give Ms. Seawright a chance - she only just started. Mr. Kallos is certainly doing his utmost - he is on the right track with so many issues, such as MTS, and the ultra-tall buildings' shadows. Do you really want to go backward? Obviously, no one politician is perfect - but please consider the alternative. There are Republican politicians who seriously talk about dismantling Social Security, or Medicare - even though these programs are welcomed, needed, and liked by the overwhelming majority of Americans. Republicans have tried to repeal Obamacare repeatedly. But that will only be the first step - if Obamacare is repealed, the next programs to go will be Medicare and Social Security. Do you really want that? I know I don't.

I didn't have a problem with the format. There was a comment that the questions would all be collated and forwarded to the elected officials, in the form of a letter. A number of topics were discussed. Mr. Serrano is trying to get legislation through on governance. A ferry will be in place in a couple of years. Even funding was directed to the RI non-profits - independent of RIOC. I thought there was a lot of good news, and they did seem on our side.

Ms. Indelicato though did look like she's had enough, after only about two years on the job. Judging from her body language, she looked defensive, maybe "defeated." The position maybe was way too "political" and the price she paid in agita and really an inability or impossibility of being all things to all people, the stress has taken a toll, it was too much. The way RIOC is structured more or less insures that any chief executive will find themselves in the same position. She has to check with the Board, both she and the Board are appointees - if either do anything that displeases the Governor, they can be dismissed. The Board members would be embarrassed but won't financially "suffer" if they are canned since the positions are voluntary, but the RIOC President loses a good-paying appointment if either the Governor or the Board feels she's doing something wrong. How would you like to be under that kind of stress? It's like being between a rock and a hard place - you also are subject to endless verbal "sniping" from the citizenry; no matter what you do, someone is going to complain. Right? It's a thankless position. And she looked like she's had enough of it. At least that was my impression.

Lorraine raised a perennial issue of affordable housing at RL. it probably should be re-examined, but who is going to do it? Who is going to walk back that agreement? Or can it even be walked back ten years after? Logically, the mix at NT should have continued at ST - but it didn't. Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio are going to spend a great deal of money to provide affordable housing. Each of them should scrutinize ST - providing some affordable housing at ST shouldn't be that hard to do, given the large amount of money each is setting aside to build/fund/provide incentives for affordable housing. We need to draw the attention of Mr. Cuomo and Mr. de Blasio to ST - if not, you can be sure 8 & 9 will be leased to C-T in whole or partially.

Also, we've had other Town Hall meetings or forums where the questions were handled exactly the same way: Questions are grouped according to topic, rather than ask different versions of the same question. Not all the questions were asked last night - I agree that more time should have been budgeted rather than the scheduled 1 hour. However, they were there for quite a bit longer than 1 hour in any event and made themselves available afterwards.

Islanderx2 said...

Very wordy maybe a personal political endorsement of ones self. If you would really look at the programs you mention, it is the TAXPAYERS who have footed the bill, by law, and have never and will never receive back what they have contributed for these benefits. The "entitled aristocracy" only demands more and more and who do you think is going to pay for it? Just as what was stated, a meeting that was a lot of hot poltical air and back patting. No SUBSTANCE, just fluff. The democrats at their finest, on all levels.