Economy forces Schuyler Hill summer camp to close

For 15 years, Schuyler Hill Performing Arts and Cultural Center, Inc., offered Bronx youth an opportunity for expression and academic growth through its various programs, however, a slowing economy changed those summer plans.

Due to a significant decrease in funds, the Schuyler Hill summer camp won’t be accepting applications this summer.

“It was a very, very hard decision for us to make,” Donna Sullivan, president of the Schuyler Hill board of directors, said.

Servicing more than 65 students and costing an estimated $200,000 to run, Sullivan said last year’s summer camp was already reduced from previous admission levels to help alleviate costs. With the center’s current financial status, a camp wasn’t financially feasible for the 2008 summer. 

“Over the past year, the center suffered a significant loss of funding with the filed bankruptcy and later closing of Argent Mortgage, a major sponsor who could not provide the pledged dollars of support,” Sullivan said.

She added what while she’s currently working to secure funds for the center’s future programming efforts, “The competition to get money has increased so much,” she explained.

To help alleviate some of their financial burden, while celebrating their 15th anniversary, this year the center will host a silent/Chinese auction and journal.

Sullivan said the monies raised from the event would help the center “continue to provide the families of the Bronx with youth services.”

Until then, with the unexpected closure of the Schuyler Hill summer camp, many Throggs Neck parents are scrambling to find placement for their kids.

“Those of us who are single parents are kind of stuck,” Throggs Neck resident Fiorella DeLima said. “What do you do with kids for eight weeks?”

DeLima said her 13-year-old daughter Gabriella Nieves loved the Schuyler Hill camp and was sad to see it close.

Now the concerned parent said she’s worried about a lack of options for community kids looking for a summer activity.

“It’s really disconcerting that there’s really nothing for them in their own neighborhood,” DeLima commented.

Knowing such an issue would arise from their closure, Sullivan said she tried to alert parents of alternatives the best she could.

She added, “The center reached out to both the Bronx YMCA and Preston High School as a summer resource for parents that are looking for other summer programs for youth.”

Also recognizing the importance to keep kids off the street once their school year comes to a close is the staff of P.S. 14, Senator John Calandra School, who organized their Third Annual Summer Camp Fair.

Approximately a dozen vendors will be on hand in the school’s cafeteria on Tuesday, May 27, from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. offering summer options for local parents.

For more information on the fair, or to book a slot as a vendor, contact parent coordinator Tracey Lynch at (347) 563-4896.

Schuyler Hill Performing Arts, Cultural Center, summer camp, closed, funding, Bronx YMCA, Preston, P.S. 14, Donna Sullivan

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