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Vallone city grant funds PS 17 academic program for summer

Photo by Christina Santucci
By Chris Engelhardt

City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and Astoria nonprofit Zone 126 teamed up in early July to fund PS 17’s summer learning program for students, the organization said.

Together, Vallone and Zone 126 secured $26,500 in funds to run the program at PS 17 in Astoria, which otherwise would have closed for the summer. Zone 126 is a Promise Neighborhood, a participant in a U.S. Department of Education program that gives funds to nonprofits to improve the educational opportunities for children in distressed urban and rural environments from birth to college and when they start their careers.

Vallone obtained a $7,500 grant in this year’s city budget for the school. Funds from the grant also went to IS 126 in Long Island City and PS 171 in Astoria.

PS 17’s five-week summer program started July 8 and provides 200 students from kindergarten through eighth-grade with a variety of reading, math and social skills activities and exercises to stay sharp during the summer season.

“It is unacceptable that our children should fall further behind during the summer months because they do not have the programs that other neighborhoods take for granted,” Vallone said. “I am very pleased to secure funding in this year’s budget to open the school for this effective and much-needed program in my neighborhood.”

The program is hosted by Building Educated Leaders for Life, a national nonprofit that partners with schools to expand learning time in the summer and after school. This is the second year that BELL and Zone 126 have partnered to provide PS 17 with its summer program.

Zone 126 Executive Director Maritza Arroyo Diaz praised Vallone for getting funds to ensure the continued education of students in the community.

“We’re grateful for Councilman Vallone’s unwavering support to Zone 126’s mission, which is aligned to his long-term dedication to the children and families of Astoria,” Diaz said.

Reach reporter Chris Engelhardt by e-mail at cengelhardt@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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