Oct. 17, 2023 By Czarinna Andres
In a significant move to enhance educational opportunities for the students of P.S./I.S. 78Q, Council Member Julie Won, in collaboration with the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, Principal Louis Pavone and the school’s dedicated staff and students, announced a groundbreaking $300,000 funding initiative on Friday, Oct.13.
This funding allocation aims to create a new after-school program, support enriching arts programming, and provide essential technology upgrades.
Won successfully secured $205,000 in City Council funding specifically earmarked for recess and after-school programs, which will encompass a range of offerings, including homework assistance, performing arts instruction, and physical education.
These programs will be conducted in partnership with the Variety Boys and Girls Club, a well-regarded Astoria-based organization known for its commitment to youth development.
Additionally, Won allocated $75,000 to facilitate technology upgrades at P.S./I.S. 78Q, ensuring that students have access to modern learning tools and resources. Another $20,000 has been dedicated to support Cultural After School Adventures (CASA) programming through the Queens Botanical Society, providing students with opportunities to engage in cultural and educational activities.
P.S./I.S. 78Q, located at 48-09 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, is the top-rated school in District 26. It has consistently demonstrated academic excellence, with students consistently meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations across various subjects.
The school has also experienced a surge in enrollment, particularly among low-income students residing in Hunters Point’s affordable housing.
The collaboration between Won and the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens is poised to bridge the gap in access to quality theater, arts and sports programs for all students, regardless of their economic background.
Won expressed her enthusiasm for the initiative.
“As a working mom, I am thrilled to bring a brand-new after-school program to P.S./I.S. 78 to ensure all of our students and families have access to care when the school day ends,” she said. In partnership with Variety Boys and Girls Club, parents can have peace of mind that their children are in a safe space that allows them to learn and grow.”
Won also extended her gratitude to those who played a vital role in making this initiative a reality, including Principal Louis Pavone, Assistant Principal Deana Rombone and PTA President Kelly Craig, for their advocacy.
Costa Constantinides, CEO of the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens, expressed gratitude for Won’s support, emphasizing the significance of expanding afterschool services at P.S. 78.
“Thanks to Council Member Won, the children of PS 78 will have access to STEM, arts, athletics and the myriad of programs Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens provides on a daily basis,” he said.
Pavone of P.S./I.S. 78Q also commended Won for recognizing the importance of after-school programming, particularly for non-Title 1 schools like theirs.
“The city does not provide funding for non-Title 1 schools for these programs and I want to thank Council Member Won for seeing this need for our families as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, local parent Kelly Craig, President of P.S/I.S. 78Q PTA, also expressed her gratitude.
“Our entire school community is incredibly grateful to [Won] for her commitment to helping us build an after-school program that denies no child this imperative service that is in economic need,” Craig said.