By Philip Newman
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) has announced a federal grant of $552,000 for volunteer mentoring and tutoring in an effort to increase attendance and graduation rates in Long Island City schools.
The money is part of a $2.9 million grant for such activities throughout New York City.
“With tough budgets in Washington, federal education grants are becoming tougher to secure — which is why I’m so delighted that City Year will be getting $2.9 million to help New York students,” Maloney said Monday at PS 112, at 25-05 37th Ave. in Long Island City.
“Citizen service is an essential part of the solution to many of the problems facing our city, especially in difficult economic times,” Maloney said. “Thanks to this grant, City Year corps members will be helping our children learn and strengthening our community as they develop civic and leadership skills that will last a lifetime.”
Since 2005, City Year has placed teams of committed young adults in Long Island City schools. This year 48 City Year members will serve full time in two elementary schools and two middle schools in Long Island City — PS 111, PS 112, IS 126 and IS 204 — and are partnering with the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House for after-school time.
The program is working to improve both tests scores and attendance rates. Students mentored by City Year corps members at IS 204 have increased their attendance rates from 77 percent last year to 85 percent this year.
Borough President Helen Marshall said “these dollars are a wonderful resource and a shot in the arm for students here in western Queens. We have already seen the good results of what can happen as the result of the services these dollars provide.”
City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria) both praised Maloney for her efforts and the program the money makes available.
The money is made available by AmeriCorps, the national service program that encourages Americans of all ages and backgrounds to serve in activities to help schools, nonprofit and faith-based groups in rural and urban communities.
City Year is a national nonprofit that partners with New York City public schools to improve the chances of students graduating from high school in neighborhoods where one out of every two students is at risk of dropping out.
Much of the grant money is to be spent for stipends to tutors and mentors at such schools, according to Ian Rees of City Year.
“These mentors and tutors are on duty typically from 7:30 a.m. to after 6 p.m.,” Rees said.
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at email@example.com or phone at 718-260-4536.