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May 14, 2002
Safe Places Program Receives Aid from Nassau County Legislature
Legislator Norma L. Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) approved an ordinance to appropriate $50,000 to the Safe Places program of Nassau County. Safe Places, a program under the direction of the Nassau County Youth Board is designed to give school children constructive activities after school before their parents come home from work. "The hours right after school are often the most critical in a child's day. The Safe Places program gives youngsters something to do after school so they can stay out of trouble," said Legislator Gonsalves. The $50,000 will go towards the current Safe Place program at the Hispanic Brotherhood in Rockville Centre. The Rockville Centre program is home to kids ranging from kindergarten through high school.
The Hispanic Brotherhood is the only Safe Places program currently operating in Nassau County. Kids participate in a variety of different activities along with getting help with schoolwork. High school age children are often responsible for aiding younger children with the day's homework. "The older children working with the younger ones shows what type of students are in the program," said Legislator Gonsalves. "Caring and dedicated young people are the backbone of our society and this program helps nurture those important principles." The Hispanic Brotherhood has ties with various organizations throughout the county. They use the facilities at Molloy College in Rockville Centre for sports and often conduct basketball games with a youth group in Glen Cove.
Current Governor George E. Pataki initiated the Safe Place Program in New York State. It gives communities the opportunity to establish positive youth developmental programs during non-school hours. These individual programs very often have ties to local libraries, museums, community centers, and youth groups. Besides just after school, Safe Places operates on weekends, holidays, and vacations including summer to cater to the needs of school age children. Safe Place programs include leadership and empowerment programs, job-readiness activities, homework assistance, tutorial programs, community service projects, cultural enrichment activities and mentoring programs. Legislator Gonsalves added about the program, "children now have the opportunity to do something other than just hanging out after school. They can receive help with homework or participate in activities that will better prepare them for life while having fun at the same time."