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Mineola Youth Alive and Well

Survives Budget Cuts, Expects to Operate at Full Capacity

Mineola Youth and Family Services, a Mineola-based youth agency, is expecting to operate at full capacity as the 2010 Nassau County budget calls for the restoration of funding to the county’s youth board to the level it was in 2008.

In this tough economy, it takes a lot of resiliency for some businesses and non-profit groups to survive but that is exactly what Mineola Youth and Family Services has done.

In February 2009, Nassau County youth agencies rallied outside against potential cuts from the county that were being debated as a result of the county not realizing its revenues. Since Mineola Youth and Family Services receives its funding from the Nassau County Youth Board, the news didn’t bode well for the agency.

However, Mineola Youth survived the funding crisis, thanks in part to a settlement with Wal-mart regarding an unfortunate incident last holiday season in which a worker was trampled. A part of the settlement had money going to the county to be used for youth programs.

According to Cristina Balbo, executive director of Mineola Youth and Family Services, this year, the agency had about 75 percent of its funding restored. However, in 2010, Mineola Youth is expected to have funding restored to its 2008 level as the county has included that funding level as part of its 2010 budget.

Mineola Youth and Family Services, under the direction of Balbo and assistant director Ed Paley along with a dedicated staff of social workers and counselors offers programs that can mean the difference in the lives of young people. Programs include an after-school program for students in second to eighth grades, a summer program filled with recreation activities, parents and child groups, crisis intervention and peer counseling. The agency is also planning a middle school boys socialization group.

Mineola Youth and Family Services, which has its office at 450 Jericho Turnpike next to Harry Katz Carpet One but also uses other venues such as the Mineola Village Hall Community Center, continues to provide its services at no cost to as many as 250 to 300 young people and their families, providing guidance and encouragement in a structured environment.

The agency would like to thank Mineola Mayor Jack M. Martins and the Village of Mineola Board of Trustees, the Mineola Chamber of Commerce, the Mineola Mustang Run and Scott and Linda Fairgrieve, Senator Craig Johnson, Assemblyman Tom McKevitt, Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel, Legislator Richard Nicolello and the residents of Mineola and surrounding areas for their continued support.

For more information on Mineola Youth and Family Services, you can contact the agency at 742-1715 or visit the website at mineolayouth.org.