[This story was last updated Tuesday, March 6]
In a late Friday press release, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation announced that it would assume operation of the Island's Youth Center as of Monday, March 5.
“We wanted to make sure that the center is open for the children while RIOC decides the future plans for the Youth Center,” said RIOC President Susan Rosenthal.
The announcement comes one day after the Corporation's Board of Directors narrowly voted to withdraw a grant that would have allowed the Roosevelt Island Youth Program to continue operating the center it has run for the past decade. In their decision, Board members cited the results of a monthlong investigation into allegations against RIYP's executive director, Charles DeFino, who was accused of making inappropriate sexual and racial comments to Island residents and youth.
Although RIYP was contracted and funded to run the center through March 31, RIOC says they announced earlier today that they would cease all business operations at the end of the day.
To prevent stranding working parents, RIOC has committed to taking on operation of the afterschool program from 2:45 to 6:00 p.m, Mondays through Fridays, for students in second through eighth grade.
Starting Monday, March 12, the center will also be open in the evenings from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for older students. RIOC says it hopes to also resume music and SAT prep classes as well as Saturday evening activities in the near future.
RIOC has hired RIYP's former director, Roy Magsisi, to operate the afterschool program and has offered part-time positions to former RIYP staff counselors. As of Monday, five of RIYP's six former counselors have signed on to continue as RIOC employees.
RIOc has committed to maintaining youth services through the ned of the school year on June 26, but says the center will not operate a summer camp or sports leagues, both of which the Beacon program at PS/Is 2167 is contracted to do.
Anyone who wants their children to participate in RIOC's youth programming will need to fill out new permission forms, which can be download here.