The YWCA of Queens in Flushing has been awarded a four-year grant totaling $900,000 to help 75 underachieving students from PS/IS 268 in Jamaica in an afterschool program starting in the fall.
The grant is from city Department of Youth and Community Development funding geared to middle-school students. Selection will be based partly on who applies first and on evaluation of students who are at the lowest performing levels.
According to Jane Lee, Y spokeswoman, the program will run 15 hours a week during the school year and will offer academic, recreational and cultural activities. Among others, students will learn to build cars, roller coasters and bridges; create a student newspaper and podcasts; and participate in basketball, cheerleading and volleyball.
Helen Kim, executive director of the YWCA of Queens, said she believes enrichment programs for underserved youth are vital. “This type of programming reduces high school dropout rates, increases test scores and helps to prevent involvement in criminal activity.
“Furthermore, it builds long-term social-emotional skills and healthy decision-making, setting students up for academic, career and financial success,” Kim said.
PS/IS 268 Principal Lissa Grant-Stewart said the enrichment will help her students in science, technology, arts and math. “I am very excited as it will provide our students with academic support, physical recreation and life skills,” Grant-Stewart said.
The school is located at 92-07 175 St. in Jamaica. The Y is at 42-07 Parsons Blvd. The students will remain at their school and Y staff members will go to them.