The Commonpoint Queens has just celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Compass After School Program at PS 115Q in Glen Oaks with a show and dinner. The show featured songs and dances by the students, parents with their children, staff members and alumni of which some are volunteers and some work in the program. Throughout the show parents, often with their children, spoke of their appreciation for the services provided to their children by the Compass Program. The parents showed their appreciation through donations of food and voluntary services. Two long tables on opposite sides of the gymnasium were fully loaded with diverse food and desserts, which everyone gathered to enjoy after the show.
Compass Program Director Michelle Pasha has been involved in the program for 13 years and worked to showcase the program every year through annual presentations. A number of her current employees were also children in the program and shared their gratitude for the program’s guidance and career support. Iris Shaw, who started the program back in 1999, was thanked for the system set in place and for giving the program a strong foundation. City Councilman Barry Grodenchik attended the event and was thrilled to speak about the remarkable performances witnessed. He followed the compass employees alongside Assistant Director Shiva Sharma, who performed under a sign which read, ”Thankful for Twenty.”
The program provides participants with academic support along with recreational activities like dance, cooking, art and other activities. During the show many parents spoke how pleased they were that their children learned about different cultures and participated in character development activities. They were grateful to speak about the opportunities of a free summer camp where their children can attend fun camping trips and receive academic support while school is not in session. The children themselves are so pleased that some come back to volunteer or work as staff members. A group of middle school students even danced in the show as did older alumni who were high school graduates. The program has a Counselor in Training component that allows children to work with younger peers and gain leadership skills, many of whom are welcomed to return as staff members when they are of age.
Funding for the Compass Program is provided by the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development and the Commonpoint Queens is the community-based organization which provides a number of other phenomenal programs across Queens.
The agency provides a number of community initiatives to support youth and families. Several other programs through the Commonpoint Queens are also celebrating this special 20th milestone.
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