To the Editor,
I cannot express how disappointed I am to learn of RIOC’s decision to grant the Youth Center operator contract to the Roosevelt Island Youth Program. Is RIOC so out of touch (or easily manipulated) that it is willing to disregard the clear preference of a majority of Island parents for an alternative provider?
Was the fact that neither the school’s parents nor the administrative body were willing to continue their partnership (in the form of the Beacon) not a clue that change was needed?
I have lived here for over 40 years. I am well aware of the dramatic changes that have taken place in that time. I recognize that RIYP has played an important role in the lives of many children here. The flip side is that I have also seen how many kids stopped benefitting once they reached their teens.
I have observed how little has historically been offered by RIYP outside of its Beacon-funded programming. Yet this is the same funding that RIOC is handing back to them. Upon what is this decision based? Where has that money gone for the past ten years? Nothing I’ve seen, as a resident or as a parent, suggests that RIYP has spent anywhere close to $100,000 yearly on non-Beacon programming. (And, as a parent, it has always been clear that even the Beacon programming – especially sports – was more dependent on the hard work of dedicated parent volunteers than a well funded youth organization.)
The Youth Center space usually looks empty, programming is a mystery, and they don’t have a website to provide any information to residents – unless you count Rick’s blog.
As residents we deserve to know how RIOC came to this decision, where OUR money is being spent, and what oversight we can expect going forward – because there has obviously been little up until now.