The One Stop Richmond Hill Community Center is undergoing a much-needed renovation after receiving a $125,000 grant from state Assemblyman Mike Miller.
Simcha Waisman, president of One Stop and a community member for 41 years, is at the site every day overseeing the renovation. The center is expected to open Feb. 10.
“You want the job to be done the right way, you have to oversee it. They [the workers] were here early in the morning and did the wall, it’s still wet. Yesterday, they lifted up the floor,” Waisman said.
The One Stop Center, located at 110-08 Jamaica Ave., was transformed by volunteers who built it from the ground up. The space was formerly occupied by a photography store, said Waisman. Today, it serves about 12 to 35 children who participate in after-school programs and events held in the center’s meeting space.
“What they get here they don’t get in school,” Waisman said. “We have 27 laptops so kids can do their work and research before they do a video conference with NASA.”
One Stop has an educational relationship with NASA, where kids in the after-school computer technology and science video conferencing classes are able to communicate with other space stations and personnel.
Other beneficial programs at the center include Mommy & Me classes that are held Wednesday and Thursday mornings and a free children’s summer camp. It also hosts the Richmond Hill Block Association meetings once a month to give civic updates as well as the Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.) meetings.
According to Waisman, the center has had trouble gathering basic funds to maintain its activities and has managed to stay afloat with funds received from the city, state and local elected officials.
With the exception of teachers, most of the people who work at the community center are unpaid, willing volunteers, such as Waisman.
“Every grant that we get, I ask for it. If we get a grant for computers, we use the money for that. If we get a grant for summer camp, we use it for that. We use every penny; that’s why I don’t want to get paid, because everything goes to the kids,” Waisman said. “We do it for the kids and the community and that’s most important.”
In a statement to QNS, Miller said he’s proud to allocate $125,000 in capital funding for the One Stop Richmond Hill Center.
“With these improvements, One Stop can better serve the community with their array of services, such as the Mommy and Me program, after-school technology program and free summer camp for children,” Miller said. “I have attended many of their events and even held my Annual Women of Distinction and Annual Hispanic Heritage events at the One Stop Center. I look forward to seeing the completion of this project.”