By Rebecca Henely
U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) visited Woodside on the Move’s summer camp at PS 11 Monday to watch the students at work and deliver bags of school supplies.
“It gives me an opportunity to see the young folks in the district and see them in a safe and enriching environment,” Crowley said.
Woodside on the Move, a community organization that operates multiple services and events in the neighborhood, runs a summer camp and after-school programs primarily for students from PS 152, at 33-52 62nd St. in Woodside, and PS 11, at 54-25 Skillman Ave. in Woodside. Both programs, which are run out of PS 11’s building, are funded through the city’s budget.
Justin Petropoulos, the PS 11 after-school program director, said this year Woodside on the Move received $830,000 from the city budget due to the efforts of Crowley, City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) and others.
The program was slated to be cut in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s executive budget, but the funding was not only restored but restored without the small cuts it had incurred throughout the years.
Petropoulos said while the summer camp has 310 seats between the two schools, about 600 students apply every year.
“This is one of the only programs in the community,” he said.
Crowley stopped by multiple classrooms, watching as the students answered questions, showed what they had written in their journals, sang and danced to pop songs and made their own version of the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” using Microsoft PowerPoint.
After visiting the classes, he gave out bags reading Woodside on the Move that included notebooks, pencils, colored pencils, erasers, index cards, a ruler and colored and looseleaf paper.
Vijay Chaudhuri, spokesman for Crowley, said the congressman has been holding school supply giveaways in Queens and the Bronx for three years now. Crowley earlier had delivered the supplies at schools in Maspeth and Elmhurst.
“This is just a small way for him to give back,” Chaudhuri said.
Petropoulos said the summer camp includes classes geared toward the arts, a focus of PS 11’s principal, and test preparation, the focus of PS 152’s principal. The students also put on shows and go on field trips that range from trips to museums to trips to Papa John’s, where they see how pizza is made.
He said the after-school programs are crucial because many students have parents who do not speak English and the teachers can help them with their work, whereas their parents would need a translation.
Teah Moe, program director for PS 152, said the summer camp helps build friendships and keeps the older children out of trouble. She said many students are eager to take part.
“They’re home with the baby-sitters and it’s boring,” Moe said.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.