Usually when budget cuts hit a public school, the sports and arts programs are quickly targeted. However, for 15 Queens schools a reversal of fortunes is about to happen.
The Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF) is giving the schools a quick jolt of life by providing high-quality sports and arts after-school programs for those that are in severe need of extra-curricular activities.
Overall, SASF will back 70 new sports and arts programs called the “Champions Club” throughout the city. Over 10,000 kids will benefit from these new programs.
“Now more than ever, families are struggling to provide enriching opportunities for their children, as schools and community groups are cutting back on services of all kinds,” said SASF President Jim O’Neill. “SASF is stepping in to close the ‘opportunity gap’ across the region by providing high-quality sports and fitness activities, performing arts, and academic assistance to the students that need them most.”
The schools that will benefit from these programs are located in Woodside, Corona, Flushing, Whitestone, Far Rockaway, Jamaica, Rochdale, St. Albans, Hollis, Jackson Heights, and Astoria.
These after-school programs keep kids out of trouble when classes end, and provide a place for them to interact with their friends in a secure and safe area.
“Our programs promote creativity, fitness, health and academic performance, and improve children’s chances of graduating and being successful in life,” O’Neill said.
The SASF Champions Club after-school model is integrated seamlessly with the traditional school day and builds a cohesive link between sports, arts and academic skill development. They are specifically tailored to meet the varying needs of each school throughout the five boroughs.
“I think the important idea that runs through everything is that we are looking to close the gap that exists between the high quality sports and arts programming you find in wealthier communities…we want to put them in public schools,” said Communications Director for SASF, Seth Gladstone.
Established in 1992, SASF is a not-for-profit foundation that seeks to improve the lives of New York City’s public school students by offering a wide variety of year-long after-school, Saturday, vacation and summer activities. This includes team and individual sports, performing and visual arts, and academic tutoring – which emphasize skill development, physical and mental well-being, and a positive overall outlook on the educational experience.