Written by Mary Ellen Porrazzo, email@example.com Friday, 25 January 2013 00:00
The budget may have been slashed, but the enthusiasm remains strong for the Peer Tutoring Program at the Hicksville Boys and Girls Club.
The club was humming late one recent Thursday afternoon with tutoring sessions underway in quiet upstairs offices away from the happy noise of the first floor lounge where students played games, read or relaxed after school.
Executive Director Thomas Bruno says a one-third reduction in county funding from last year forced them to make changes.
“Right now we have 29 matches,” he said, with some students coming more than once.
Matches, or tutoring sessions, are held Monday through Friday between the hours of 4 and 5 p.m. in the club’s headquarters at 79 West Old Country Road, a white two-story house warmly outfitted to young people’s needs and interests – including games for recreation and socialization and computers and quiet space to study – all within walking distance of the nearby Middle School and High School.
In a recent interview in his second floor office, lined with photos and awards, Bruno said, “We lost $50,000 from the county and had to cut back our hours.” Last year the sessions ran until eight o’clock Monday through Thursday evenings – three hours longer than right now.
“A kind of magic happens,” he said when the tutors first meet their students, who are about the same age as they are. “The kids have a real feel for each other.”
Most tutors, he said, are high school students and the closeness in age and year in school between the tutor and student makes for a special relationship that is sometimes absent if an older adult is involved.
“We have such a nice variety of kids. They’re from Hicksville, Syosset, Plainview and Jericho,” Bruno said of the tutors.
After they formally apply for the position, he said, volunteers are screened, interviewed and asked to provide references. When they are approved, they are matched up with a student who requests help “in any subject,” he said.
He smiled at the recollection of one of his “many success stories” involving that of a young man who came to them “shy and withdrawn.” The experience provided him with a newfound confidence and he went on to become a tutor himself. He said kids who come to the club hear about the program through school or their friends.
Once their service is over, Bruno said he provides the tutors with a letter from him praising their work. With colleges placing a greater emphasis than ever on community service, these letters are a prized possession and part of the
Another casualty of the budget cutting, Bruno said, is the popular English as a Second Language Program (ESL), although he remains hopeful it will return and some of the funding restored.
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
The community is rallying together to raise funds for a Hicksville native who has been battling to get a service dog.
Nancy Burpee is a 49-year-old competitive swimmer and single mother with a rare genetic terminal illness called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), which causes the deterioration of the connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and vital organs.
Saturday, 22 November 2014 00:00
Local veterans groups and residents gathered at Hicksville Middle School Veterans Memorial Park recently to honor brave servicemen and woman, past and present. William M. Gouse Jr. Post 3211 hosted Hicksville’s annual Veterans Day ceremony on Nov. 11.
The ceremonies began with the pledge and national anthem sung by Hicksville High School student Cassie Pursoo, accompanied by trumpeter Conner Hoelzer. Monsignor Thomas Costa from Our Lady of Church in Hicksville gave the invocation.
Thursday, 27 November 2014 00:00
The fall athletic season seemed to move quickly, but all teams had outstanding seasons with all teams reaching the playoffs except for two who had their best season in many years.
In addition to athletic acheivements, all of the varsity programs at Hicksville High School also participated in raising more than $4,000 for several charities this past fall: pediatric cancer, breast cancer awareness and cystic fibrosis.
Thursday, 13 November 2014 09:12
Football was Mike Torrellas’ heart and soul. He also liked a good Turkey Bowl.
Unfortunately, the Hicksville Crusaders co-founder wasn’t able to witness the program’s inaugural event, which took place Saturday, Nov. 8.
Torrellas passed away suddenly last December due to a blood clot, but the spirit and drive of the man who wore the number 53 and tragically passed at that age still surrounds the Crusaders football program.