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Budget Cuts Force Changes In Popular Program

Undaunted, Boys and Girls Club

Peer Tutoring Program thrives

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smiled at the recollection of one of his “many success stories” involving that of a young man who came to them “shy and withdrawn.”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.

News

Looking for a place to work on your bedside manner and start a promising new career in the process? Look no farther than your hometown.

The Vocational Education and Extension Board (VEEB), a division of the county that oversees educational facilities such as the Fire Service Academy and EMS Academy, recently transplanted one of its facilities — The School of Practical Nursing — into a new location right in the heart of Hicksville, where they recently held an open house to celebrate their new home.

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Board of Education Meeting

October 22

Oktoberfest

October 25-26

Pancake Breakfast

October 26



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