City Helps Fund Its Brand New Computer Lab
With $3 million in funding during each of the next three years, the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council (GRYC), will be able to greatly expand its programs, its president noted last week.
The expansion is funded by the city Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and will allow GRYC to expand many services, from pre-kindergarten to middle school out-of-school-time, to an internship and summer youth employment program, Bob Monahan said.
Three brand new afterschool programs will be opened in Middle Village, one in Glendale, he said. The expansion will fund additional School’s Out New York City (SONYC) programs as well, Monahan stated.
“We have just been awarded 10 junior high school SONYC programs. They are all over Queens County,” he told the Times Newsweekly in a phone interview.
The GRYC after-school services give young people mentorship and advisement in leadership skills, Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects, literacy, healthy eating and others, Monahan stated.
“It’s a completely comprehensive approach to extending the school day in a fun and creative way,” he said.
“It offers them a broad-based, out of school time experience that extends the school day,” Monahan said. “It’s a well-thought out initiative that gives a better chance at success.”
The GRYC also runs a young adult internship and a summer youth employment program.
Rep. Grace Meng secured $52,000 for a computer learning lab that will open Tuesday, Aug. 12. at their Summerfield Street location, it was noted. A ribbon-cutting for the new learning lab will be held that day .
Several City Council Members including Eric Ulrich, Antonio Reynoso, Daniel Dromm and Borough President Melinda Katz all contributed funds to the organization to fund operations for the upcoming year.
“It basically doubled the size of the youth council,” Monahan said. “It allows us to serve an additional 1000 kids and their families everyday.”
The GRYC will now serve a total of 2,300 to 2,500 kids a day, he noted.
The monies also enabled the GRYC to purchase its Forest Avenue headquarters, and without rent to pay can now devote those funds to operations, Monahan stated.
“This is a breath of fresh air. Because the mayor has decided to support programs for young people, he said. “He’s very socially minded and put in a ton of money to support kids in the city of New York.”
The organization will also expand facilities by beginning to use the former Joseph B. Garity Post #562 of the American Legion at Fairview Avenue and Madison Street, Monahan noted.
Monahan has been involved with the GRYC since just after its founding in 1980, and has served as president for the last 15 years.
When it was begun, there were only three employees, Monahan said, and now “it’s exceeded a lot of my wildest expectations.”
“Right now, this year, we’ve grown to the biggest we’ve ever been,” he said.
Pre-K will also be expanded, from a two and half-hour, half-day service, to a full-day, six hour program, Monahan stated.
Other GRYC programs at the Forest Avenue headquarters will include AARP events for seniors, and an intergenerational slate in Culinary Arts with junior high school students. Participants will cook and eat family meals together, Monahan said. .
“We’re going to have, this year, a whole intergenerational program,” he said.
The internship program accepts young people, 18 to 24, that are not enrolled in school or working and gives an “intensive job readiness program” and helps them find employment, he said.
“(They) go anywhere from an auto mechanic, to working in a law office to Johnny Rocket’s,” Monahan said.
“It can run the whole gamut,” he added.
The GRYC is able to place interns at LaGuardia Airport, the 9/11 Memorial Museum and the Intrepid Air Sea and Space Museum.
“The range of jobs is pretty diverse,” Monahan said. “The hope is they get held onto after their internship.”
The summer youth employment program accepts young people 14 to 24 that are looking for work.
This spring two thousand applications were received for 100 open jobs, Monahan stated. Because of the high number of applicants, positions were distributed through a lottery, he said.
“Over 100 young people are working in meaningful jobs in Queens,” he said.
With the growth of the GRYC over the years, and the added reach of the new funding, Monahan is optimistic about the future of the organization.
“When you double in size in one day, the future is looking good,” he said.