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Nonprofits that provide valuable services to the children and adults of our communities have been cut off from state money by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. We all know we are in the midst of an economic crisis in our state and country, but these organizations cannot continue to operate properly unless they receive some state financial backing.
For example, the Alley Pond Environmental Center in Douglaston sees tens of thousands of children a year with a waiting list a mile long. Children learn about nature and how to treat this fragile planet with respect and concern. The Bayside Historical Society, the Queens Historical Society and the Poppenhusen Institute in College Point teach about the importance of preserving our history. The Queens Farm Museum and the Queens Botanical Garden are also valuable community assets that serve us well. These are just a few of the nonprofits that are in jeopardy.
On the city level, we see the possible elimination of the Bayside Fire House and the Beacon program at MS 158, which serves so many children through its after-school programs. These programs keep the children off the streets and engage them in worthwhile activities, including homework help. Our libraries are threatened with the implementation of reduced services and hours as well. Mayor Michael Bloomberg does not seem to understand the importance of these agencies to our communities.
Our local elected officials, community leaders and residents are fighting to prevent and/or restore cuts made to all of these services, but it is a difficult fight. I would urge Cuomo and Bloomberg to come to this and other areas in our city to see and hear what impact the cuts are having and will have in the future. We rarely see them in our communities unless it is election time. We need to speak up so they understand what is important to us and our neighborhoods.
In the grand scheme of things, the amount of money needed to support these agencies and services is not huge, but the impact that elimination or reduction of services will have will adversely affect our quality of life and the desire by people to want to live here and throughout the city.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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