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Cultivating Curiosity on Pier 86

After school programming has been credited with keeping kids off the streets and teaching them skills they can’t just learn in the classroom.

But most of the time, the organizations that provide it are so busy working with kids, there’s little time to find resources. Pola Lem reports from today’s Cultivating Curiosity Resource Expo.


A thick line snakes around the some tents and through the entrance to the Intrepid Museum on Pier 86.

There are over 70 organizations–roughly 700 people–aboard for the expo. But they’re not here to tour the retired aircraft carrier. The goal is to connect the kids they serve to the resources they need.

Suzanne Hurley directs programming for high school students through the City University of New York. Today, she’s hoping to hook up with someone who can give her program funding. There are some unique expenses.

HURLEY: I’m begging now for a yoga teacher for July. And I’m getting rates at 150 dollars an hour. The funding we get–we cannot hire someone at 150 dollars an hour.

Hurley says yoga will help students deal with high stress. These kids live in Brownsville, Brooklyn where poverty rates are nearly double the statewide average.

HURLEY: Access to resources is just not there for them.

HURLEY: The students don’t get a chance sometimes to leave the one-mile radius or so where they live.

Hurley says her organization opens up kids to experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have. And that’s why afterschool programming is a must, says Hurley.

Inside the expo, two levels up, Candace Reyes-Dandrea weaves between the museum’s airplanes and the crowds of people. She works for New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development. Reyes-Dandrea put together today’s event. She says many organizations have yet to take advantage of resources like exhibits at the Air and Space Museum.

REYES: The purpose of this is to tell these program directors and supervisors, hey, did you know that there’s this organization, the Bronx Museum of the Arts is in your neighborhood and you can work with them and use their resources for kids and youth in your program?

Phil Pham is manning a table at the expo. His organization, Building Beats, gives kids instruction to become hip-hop producers.

In this Building Beats video, two young girls work with an instructor. Pham says kids respond well to Building Beats’ programming; the challenge for him is networking.

PHAM: We want to reach out to more organizations that, uh, want us to bring our work to the students.

For these programs to fill the gaps where traditional schooling leaves off, organizers like Pham are grateful to connect and compare notes.

Pola Lem, Columbia Radio News.


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