Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing), Council Member Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), and Assemblywoman Grace Meng will hold a rally in the courtyard of Russell Sage Junior High located at 68-17 Austin Street in Queens at 5:30pm on Tuesday, April 3. Alongside the Queens Community House Beacon staff and numerous supporters, the legislators will call on Mayor Michael Bloomberg to prevent the closure of the Beacon this summer.
The Department of Youth and Community Development has been instructed by the Bloomberg administration to shut down a number of Beacon programs across the boroughs to save the city funds. Due to the Queens Community House Beacon’s operation in a zip code that is not deemed “high needs,” DYCD has selected it for closure. The Beacon currently serves students from all across Queens, and has been recognized for its outstanding leadership development program and high enrollment.
“The Queens Community House Beacon Program has proven itself to be not only a successful program, but one that is highly sought after in Queens,” Hevesi said. “While I understand that the task of planning the yearly budget requires difficult decisions, I ask you to not cut funding to this program based solely upon its operation in an area that is zoned as a low needs zip code. I believe that reviewing the achievements of these programs should be the primary factor in determining the allocation of Beacon funding in FY 2013.”
“We must stop determining service cuts based on zip codes,” said Council Member Koslowitz. “The Beacon program at JHS 190 is an asset to our community because it provides, through educational and social components, a safe place for kids to go after school. While we are all experiencing difficult economic times and sacrifices must be made, we cannot balance the budget on the backs of our children – enough is enough! I personally know the value of the Beacon program and will do everything in my power to ensure that the program at JHS 190 remains open and continues to serve the children of our community.”
"Like its lighthouse namesake, the Beacon program has been a guiding light in the community, providing school-based activities for people of all ages,” said Senator Stavisky. “While the economy is still in a recovery stage, and resources are scarce, it is important not to close community-based programs which provide a 'home away from home' for so many people. To close the program because some people in a zip code may not need it is irresponsible and insensitive to those who are in need."