Students stand up for themselves to save CAMBA

June 17, 2013 Editorial Staff
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The kids at P.S 170 took the proposed citywide budget cuts personally and protested against the termination of their CAMBA after-school program that they so much enjoy.

“It’s wonderful,” said 10-year-old Yusra Ethag, noting that it gives many kids the opportunity to succeed, providing free dance instruction, homework help, sports guidance and much more.

Another student, Michelle Lucero, 10, agreed, saying that if she didn’t stay at CAMBA she would have to babysit her two younger siblings—ages seven and five—due to her parents not being able to afford a nanny.

“They have to save money for important stuff,” she angrily said.

More than 31,000 children will lose placement in after-school and summer-break programs if the city council does not restore $130 million in cuts to keep the current programs running.

Christi Hodgkins, vice president of education and youth development at the program, explained that children are kept in a safe “We don’t think its right,” Hodgkins contended, adding that 18 students would be denied the chance to take advantage of the after-school hours. Currently, 120 students are enrolled in the CAMBA program.

“The staff really cares about the kids and our children need it. It’s a safe place,” Hodgkins continued.

Mother of a graduating kindergartener, Julisa Hoy, says CAMBA gives her daughter self-confidence, as well as the opportunity to mingle with other kids.

“It’s a safe and nurturing environment,” Hoy added, “our kids are the future leaders and they need this platform in order to succeed.”

Single mother, Dianne Robinson, concurred.

“I’m a registered nurse; it’s hard to change my hours,” Robinson explained about her nine to five schedule. “I can’t afford a babysitter. I don’t know what I am going to do if they cut this awesome program. I don’t want my child to be out on the streets by himself.”

Councilmember Vincent Gentile who was present to support “Once again, the mayor is threatening to balance its budget on the backs of children. I am outraged that the city would even think of cutting funding to CAMBA’s after-school programs.

“The neighbors I represent don’t qualify for many city services and I am not going to stand for the city taking away funds for the few we do qualify for,” he concluded.

Additional to the after-school hours, CAMBA provides 13 days of service when school is not in session, where kids are taken on field trips and can stay at school from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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