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South Queens lawmaker invites students in Howard Beach to participate in her summer reading challenge

Jun. 16, 2023 By Bill Parry

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato visited P.S./M.S. 207, The Rockwood School, in Howard Beach on June 13 to announce the return of her Summer Reading Challenge, which annually inspires hundreds of children to participate and take up reading throughout their summer vacation.

Pheffer Amato is inviting students from Ozone Park, Howard Beach and across the Rockaway peninsula to participate this summer. The theme for this year’s challenge is “All Together Now” to celebrate kindness and friendship. Those who complete the challenge will be awarded a state Assembly Excellence in Reading certificate to celebrate their achievement.

“Reading is vital for young New Yorkers’ intellectual development and offers them opportunities to become immersed in thrilling narratives, explore different worlds, discover new interests, or learn new skills,” Pheffer Amato said. “To combat the loss of learning commonly experienced by students over summer break, known as the ‘summer slide,’ it’s vital for children to continue reading over the summer months.”

The challenge asks children to read for at least 15 minutes a day, for at least 40 days, during the months of July and August. Children can read by themselves or with a partner or caretaker and then mark the days on the calendar provided. After marking 40 days or more, they can submit the calendar to Pheffer Amato’s district office to receive their certificate.

Her team office has dropped off summer reading at every school in the 23rd Assembly District. Students who want to participate can go to a local library to pick up a form or reach out to her office by email at [email protected] or call her office at 718-945-9550.

“The Summer Reading Challenge is the perfect opportunity to inspire kids to regularly read throughout the summer and foster a love of learning within the next generation of leaders,” Pheffer Amato said.

On the legislative front, Pheffer Amato announced the passage of her legislation, A.3089, to create a program to help those living with cystic fibrosis (CF). The bill, created and introduced by the assemblywoman, would establish a program to reimburse the cost of providing health care or health insurance to eligible individuals who have Cystic Fibrosis.

Over the past several years, Pheffer Amato has worked to provide funding and assistance to those with CF. Her bill unifies those efforts and will ensure that those with the rare genetic disease that damages the lungs and digestive system, receive much-needed support. It is estimated that Cystic Fibrosis impacts over 1,600 New Yorkers. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, CF is a mutation in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene that causes the CFTR protein to become dysfunctional. When the protein is not working correctly, it’s unable to help move chloride — a component of salt- to the cell surface. Without the chloride to attract water to the cell surface, the mucus in various organs becomes thick and sticky. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps germs, like bacteria, leading to infections, inflammation, respiratory failure, and other complications.

“This legislation directly affects the people who need it the most, individuals and their families battling with this disease,” Pheffer Amato said. “It will give those impacted by CF the resources they deserve so they can purchase medication, receive care and live the life they want. It’s been one of my biggest honors to work with the advocates and my neighbors to get this bill over the finish line and create legislation that will save and improve lives.”

One of those impacted is Michael Fox of Breezy Point. Fox, along with his mother Gretchen, have worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the rare disease.

“Passing this bill is tremendous for those New Yorkers struggling due to the substantial financial burden caused by living with cystic fibrosis,” he said.

The bill, having passed unanimously in both houses of the state Legislature, now goes to the desk of Governor Kathy Hochul to be signed into law.

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