By Bill Parry
A Sunnyside man and his friends will try to fill a void in after-school arts and sports programs for young people in Woodside and Sunnyside.
Kenny Medrano hosts an official kick-off fund-raiser Thursday at Maggie Mae’s, located at 41-15 Queens Blvd., for his non-profit organization Road to Greatness.
Following the disbanding of a popular youth program in 2014, Medrano took action to create a new program and began developing partnerships with local churches, community groups and civic associations to provide extracurricular programs for students. In April, Road to Greatness, also known as R2G, started its own pilot program at PS 199, but needs to raise funds to maintain the program.
“Road to Greatness was created with the belief that every person has the ability to achieve their own greatness,” Medrano said. “Some people are actively pursuing that greatness, while others need motivation to begin charting their own path. My peers and I grew up facing struggles, and we know firsthand that sometimes you just need a positive figure — one that is there to help our local youth chart that path of success and foster a support network to help them thrive. Road to Greatness was founded on that principle.”
Medrano grew up with an Ecuadorian single mother who immigrated to the United States and he witnessed her struggles with personal and financial hardships. At an early age, given his circumstances and lacking a support network, Medrano became an at-risk youth — leading to depression and expulsion from school.
Medrano came to the realization that without making a positive change in his life, he would become another statistic. In choosing to pursue this positive lifestyle, he knew he had to use his experiences to help and provide guidance to the youth in his community by giving them the support network he initially lacked.
“We understand that parents cannot always provide all the help and support their children might need in order to excel in their studies,” Rev. Neil A. Margetson, pastor of the Sunnyside Reformed Church, said, “Consequently, Road to Greatness meets a critical need in our neighborhood of Sunnyside-Woodside.”
The “30 for 30 Party,” which costs $30 on Medrano’s 30th birthday, will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. with food and drinks sponsored by local small businesses. R2G will be collecting donations throughout the year and those interested in helping can go to roadtogreatness.nyc/donate/.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr