Friday, 19 October 2012 00:00
The guest speaker at the Oct. 11 Hicksville-Jericho Rotary meeting was Thomas Bruno, executive director of the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club.
The club strives to improve each child’s life by implementing programs that help promote self-esteem, positive values and morals, and dignity. Adolescents are assisted in making healthy choices for themselves and are encouraged to use their time, energy and talents in a positive manner.
Youth come to the club to receive tutoring, computer training, homework help, and mentoring or ESL. They also provide a variety of recreational programs designed to develop skills, as well as fill members’ idle time.
The club’s executive director spoke about the difficulty of procuring funding for youth services throughout Nassau County and especially at the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club. He stated that, due to the budget impasse in Nassau County, the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club has not received funding since July 6. They have had to let go of staff in order to keep programs running. There are 37 youth programs throughout Nassau County and the funding for these programs represents only one-third of 1 percent of the county budget.
Bruno explained that last year, the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club served almost 500 children. Some of those services are in the after school program which runs from 2 to 6 p.m. and helps 30 to 60 children per day. The basketball program serves from 25 to 80 children twice a week. Bruno mentioned that it costs about $3 a week for a child to utilize the programs of the Boys & Girls Club. It was stated that without their services, these children would be hanging out on school grounds or in front of stores in the community and potentially more exposed to danger.
In order to keep their doors open, the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club also relies on fundraising to supplement the funds received from Nassau County. They are currently attempting to mobilize PTAs, church groups, civic associations, and the Chamber of Commerce to aid their situation. In fact, the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce is holding a golf outing on Tuesday, Oct. 23 and part of the proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Club. In addition, the Hicksville-Jericho Rotary holds a comedy night every spring at Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown and the proceeds go to the Boys & Girls Club.
Bruno stated that their current situation is very serious and they are in danger of having to shut the doors. He is asking for people in the community to contact their legislators and County Executive Ed Mangano and ask that funds for youth services be restored. If anyone would like to help with fundraising activities or if you would like to make a personal contribution to the Hicksville Boys & Girls Club, you can contact Tom Bruno at 79 West Old Country Road, Hicksville, N.Y. 11801, or call 822-7594.