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Qns. Comm. House gets $184,000 grant

Queens Community House in Forest Hills recently landed a $184,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which will help the group to boost about 75 girls’ performance in math, science and technology, an official from the nonprofit said.

The four-year Women’s Educational Equity Act grant will go to Queens Community House’s Access for Young Women, a 15-year-old program that works to enhance the academic and emotional lives of girls and women. The funding will pay for about 2 1/2 staff positions and help nonprofit officials expose about 75 girls to the sciences.

“This funding really means a lot for us,” said Susan Matloff-Nieves, assistant executive director of youth services at Queens Community House. “The Access for Young Women program has documented success in promoting positive self-esteem, public speaking and encouraging young women to become leaders and educators.”

Queens Community House is based in Forest Hills and serves about 20,000 people annually throughout the borough, including Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Astoria, Rego Park, Jamaica, Ozone Park, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, Flushing and Kew Gardens.

The nonprofit announced last week it was one of 13 groups to receive the federal grant. The funding will allow Queens Community House to expand its Access for Young Women program, which helps young women build skills in science, mathematics and technology. As part of the program, officials also work with the women to help them recognize and deal with gender bias and advocate for gender equity in schools, the media and other institutions.

“We hope that the young women in the program will apply the knowledge and thinking skills of mathematics, science and technology to address real-life problems and make informed decisions,” Matloff-Nieves said. “This program helps to arm participants with the confidence to confront the social barriers that can impede academic achievement.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett said the $2.4 million in grant money is meant to help girls attain higher proficiency in math and science. Duncan and Jarrett made the announcement on the 37th anniversary of Title IX, which was landmark legislation in the early 1970s that made gender discrimination illegal in school programs that accepted federal funding.

“While much has been accomplished since Title IX was enacted, we must continue to push for further progress,” Duncan said. “Fairness and equity continue to be important issues that contribute to gaps in achievement between students.”

Reach reporter Anna Gustafson by e-mail at agustafson@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 174.

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