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Gateway Youth Outreach Aims for Summer Program

Funding May Come Via Wal-Mart Settlement

Gateway Youth Outreach, the Elmont-based youth organization, has been among the agencies that have had to hold their breath during the county’s budget crisis. GYO is preparing for its summer program because the Nassau County Youth Board is expected to receive funding for a settlement involving Wal-Mart.

In May, GYO sent a letter to parents, stating that the organization would not be able to provide a summer program to 250 youngsters from the Elmont area. “The reason is that County Executive Suozzi has reduced GYO’s budget by 50 percent and there is not enough money to administer a four day per week program that would run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. for the month of July.”

Suozzi had asked state government to approve legislation that would help bring additional revenue into the county. However, with the State Senate in limbo, those legislative items were put on hold, although the Senate did meet on Tuesday.

However, according to GYO executive director Pat Boyle, funding could come via the county through a settlement from Wal-Mart. In November, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was killed when holiday shoppers broke open the doors of the store and rushed in, trampling the employee.

As part of the settlement between the Nassau County District Attorney and Wal-Mart, Wal-Mart agreed to give a community grant of $1,500,000 to Nassau County, of which $1,200,000 would go to the Nassau County Youth Board, which provides funding to youth agencies such as GYO. The grant would be distributed to the Youth Board over the next two years.

Boyle said the grant may all come this year. He said GYO is preparing to provide a summer program, which would run from July 6 to July 30, from 9 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. at the Clara H. Carlson School for 250 children. “I still have my fingers crossed a little bit, but everything I’m hearing so far says they’re going to disburse this money to the agencies. I think they’re going to give us two months funding for July and August,” he said.

With funding scarce, agencies such as GYO are glad to be receiving funding from outside sources. The New York Racing Association (NYRA) presented a check to GYO for $25,000 after the fourth race at the Belmont Stakes on June 6.