This Letter to the Editor was written by Margarita Grasing, executive director of the Hispanic Brotherhood of RVC.
The recovery of our economy continues to be agonizing and painful. On Long Island, the 2010 American Community Survey shows that the child poverty rate was 7.6 percent in Nassau and 7 percent in Suffolk. For black and Hispanic children, the poverty rate was 14.2 percent in Nassau and 15.8 percent for Suffolk County.
This past month, the Hispanic Brotherhood of Rockville Centre, Inc., has provided for the last time, a Summer Program for Hispanic children from Rockville Centre. The agency struggled to continue this program after being defunded along with 40 other youth agencies in Nassau County because of budget cuts. These cuts are harming those already vulnerable and pushing children of working families further behind. These families, while their income is low, are trying to work their way out of poverty.
The month of September is critical for our agency.
There will come a point where we can no longer accept new children into our program. Because of aggressive budget cuts from the Village of Rockville Centre, the five tutors (ages 14 to 17) we employ will be told they no longer have a job.
These tutors not only help contribute to their family’s income, they learn vital employable skills such as responsibility and leadership skills which make them an asset to the Village of Rockville Centre. The alternative to employment is teenagers with too much time on their hands, no adult supervision and the need to earn money. You don’t need a college degree to see where problems can and will arise because of this. We have managed to stretch our budget as far as it can go and, unfortunately, the elastic is about to break.
Our agency has been in Rockville Centre since the 1980s. We have opened our doors to not just Hispanics, as our name might suggest, but to anyone in need. We have always been a community that comes together in times of need and right now the need is there for the children of this community.
Please help us continue to provide tutoring services and child care for those most in need. We humbly reach out to the Rockville Centre community for donations of any size to help defray the cost of this program.
- Margarita Grasing