Dyker Heights Neighborhood Improvement Association: Helping the community for decades
The Neighborhood Improvement Association (NIA) has been addressing issues that impact youth, families and seniors in the community since it was founded in 1981.
But if you attended their annual fundraiser on Thursday, April 12, you would have thought you had traveled back in time nearly 100 years, since the theme was the Roaring ’20s.
The jazzy event brought out elected officials including state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst-Sunset Park).
NIA is a nonprofit community service organization headquartered at 6614 11th Ave. in Dyker Heights.
NIA’s board of directors includes President Michael Bove, Vice President Jerry Saporito, CEO Mary Anne Cino and Executive Director Rosa Casella.
The primary focus of NIA’s work revolves around expanded after-school partnerships that serve several thousand students daily, encouraging exploration and learning through the arts and sciences, honing new skills, providing opportunities for exercise and fostering positive youth development and healthy lifestyle choices.
“It’s all about the children,” Bove told the Brooklyn Eagle. “I helped create the NIA to help the community. We had a lot of immigrants coming in from different parts of the country and the world and it was a necessity to help the community build. So I saw a need and we created the NIA.”
NIA offers free family counseling, free individual counselling and after school programs. “We have about 42 after school programs,” Bove said. “We also have computer design programs, dance, aviation, performing arts, daily homework support, arts education, physical education, photography, gardening and cooking.”
Golden pledged his continued support of NIA. “I can tell you right now the one thing we make sure we are going to deliver on is education and on our after school programs,” Golden said.
“We make sure that places like NIA will have the opportunity to continue to give our communities the success they need. Our most cherished gift is our children and nobody is doing a better job than the NIA. When the NIA calls we deliver,” he added.
Some of the Brooklyn schools that have partnered with NIA are P.S 104 in Bay Ridge, I.S. 187: The Christa McAuliffe School in Dyker Heights, P.S. 264: Bay Ridge Elementary School for the Arts, P.S. 95: The Gravesend School; and I.S. 239: Mark Twain in Coney Island.
NIA also supports area residents in addressing quality-of-life issues. Families are assisted through counseling services, recreational programs, informational service and healthy living initiatives that are offered at local senior centers, NIA’s main office and at community events.
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