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P.S. 72 Summer Program to Help Natural Disaster Victims

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The P.S. 72 summer learning program is back in full swing, and this year’s group is ready to help others throughout the country.

Directions for Our Youth, an after-school and summer camp program, has been offered at P.S. 72 since 2008. The program engages students from kindergarten through fifth grade in further enhancing their education, as well as fun and games during the summer months.

This year, the program kicked-off on Tuesday, July 5, but Councilman Jimmy Vacca and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto joined the 195 children on Friday, July 8 to wish them success.

The youngsters will be learning about natural disasters, such as hurricanes and tornados, and the impact that they can have in places all over the world. Program director Johanna Tejeda believes it is a good way to make students aware at a young age, especially after the recent tragedies in the south.

“We felt it was a great topic to have kids learn about at a young age. It’s definitely important to make them aware about how these disasters develop and how they can affect communities,” Tejeda said. “We will be doing plenty of research with them, put together projects and portfolios, and even go on educational trips.”

Tejeda also said the staff and students will also be putting together canned food and clothing drives throughout the summer to help those who have been affected by recent natural disasters.

The summer program will continue until Friday, August 19, and trips are tentatively planned for every Tuesday and Thursday. The students are separated into 12 classes and will be guided by 40 staff members, who are mostly high school students.

Many of the staff members have been working with P.S. 72, which is the only school in the Throggs Neck area to offer the summer program, since it began three years ago. Omarya Roldan, who works with the program year-round at P.S. 72, believes the program has a strong impact on the kids.

“They all do such a great job every summer and they certainly learn a lot,” Roldan said. “After we explain the subjects to them they all get used to it very quickly and have fun doing work in the summer.”

Although the summer program consists of many P.S. 72 students, it is open to children throughout the area. Councilman Jimmy Vacca believes the program at P.S. 72 is vital to all of the children in the community.

While wishing the children luck, he announced that he was able to allocate an additional $3,000 through the City Council for the program.

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