Last week’s school holiday may have had many parents scrambling to find caregivers for their children, but families who are familiar with the Richmond Hill Block Association had to look no farther than the organization’s full-time hall.
Joan Bachert, program director for the RHBA, said that 26 area young people took advantage of the group’s Presidents’ Week Recess activities. From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday through Friday, children participated in arts and crafts, games and storytelling, which took place in the hall at 110-08 Jamaica Avenue.
Most of the children who took part in the RHBA’s holiday week program also attend the organization’s after-school study sessions held throughout the year.
“We have two sessions per day,” Bachert said. “Twenty-five children participate in each.”
Reading is reviewed on Mondays and Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:15 p.m. and from 4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Tutoring classes for math are held at the same times on Wednesdays and Thursdays.
“We had so many people who wanted to participate this year that we had to have a waiting list,” Bachert said. “We are now open on Fridays for children who need a bit of extra help.”
Funded by city and state grants, the tutoring program is free to participants.
After-school teachers Liz McGovern, Chari Reinstein and Ruth Taubin, who are helped by six tutors, directed Presidents’ Week activities. Bachert said that things went so well that the RHBA is planning a similar week during Easter break.
Funding for the week’s program was partially arranged by Councilman Dennis Gallagher, Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio and Senator Serphin Maltese. Gallagher and Seminerio paid a visit to the center to share their experiences with the children.
Youth Officer Tom DeSantis of the 102nd Precinct participated in the week’s activities. He showed a video, explained about bike registration and answered questions about crime prevention and safety.
Firefighter Joseph Bachert Jr., from Engine Company 236 in Brooklyn, also showed a video and demonstrated fire equipment and smoke alarms. He discussed fire safety and ways to contact the fire department in an emergency.
Last week’s RHBA program ended on Friday with a pizza party.
The RHBA hall is open daily and has two employees who, with Bachert, help members of the community address complaints, solve problems and file for entitlements.
The association organizes a civilian patrol and coordinates graffiti cleanup with the 102nd Precinct. The group is exploring the possibility of beginning a class for Spanish-speaking adults.
Contact the RHBA at 849-3759 for more information about its programs. The organization holds its meetings at its hall the last Wednesday of each month at 8 p.m.