Jan. 31, 2011 By Christian Murray
The Sunnyside-Woodside Boys and Girls club kicked off its first ever program Friday night, with more than 20 children turning out at St. Teresa’s gymnasium to participate.
The event drew boys and girls between the ages of 11-14 throughout the neighborhood. They played cards, board games and basketball from 6 pm through 8 p.m. They then watched a movie and ate pizza between 8 pm and 10 pm.
Vincent Renda said the program “provides a safe and affordable place for children to go to every Friday.” The program runs until May 27 and is $10 for the entire five month period, or $2 per week. It takes place every Friday, between 6 p.m. through 10 p.m.
“I’ve waited a year and half for this and I can’t believe it is happening,” said Mark Wilensky, a club founder, who saw a need for the club in the summer of 2009.
The program is the first step toward the founders’ ultimate goal of having a club house, where children are offered sports activities, the use of computers, access to counselors and movies.
On Friday evening, Sebastian Cadet, 13, said he would normally be stuck at home. He said he became aware of the program after reading a poster at St. Raphael’s School. He said he wanted to attend after reading “there would be games and basketball.”
Meanwhile, his friend Andrew Chacon, 13, said he would ordinarily be at home playing video games on most Friday nights. He too was lured by the poster.
The children started the evening playing cards and then went on to play board games such as Trouble and Monopoly. Some began to throw the basketball around. Later, the movie of choice was Stomp the Yard.
Vincent Renda, the club president, said that fliers advertising the program were circulated at schools such as I.S. 125, St Raphael’s and P.S. 150.
Renda said the club can cater up to 75 children each Friday night. He said the aim is to build a membership of more than 100 kids.
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, who has been a supporter of the club since its inception, attended the opening and was shooting hoops and providing his encouragement.
To join, contact: 718-728-0946
I am very proud that the boys and girls club are finally getting started. A wonderul positive for our kids and their families in our town. I also hope that more parents get involved and bring their friends and their kids over next fri night. The parents should also be asked to donate to the cause or the schools should have a fundraiser for this group. What a proud moment for our town. I hope for more great stories that this group of volunteer are seeing a bright future with all their hard work