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Queens Gazette: Vallone, Zone 126 Help Prevent Summer Learning Loss

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY - July 30, 2013 - The morning after the 4th of July holiday weekend, 200 kindergarten through eighth grade children and their parents filed into P.S. 17 in Astoria to begin a five-week program that will enable them to avoid summer learning loss and improve their reading, mathematics and social skills.

Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr. joined Zone 126, an Astoria-based nonprofit organization, to cover the $26,500 cost of opening the school, which otherwise would have been closed for the summer. Vallone secured a $7,500 discretionary grant in this year's city budget that helped open the doors of P.S. 17, The Henry David Thoreau School, to its students and two neighborhood schools: P.S. 171 and I.S. 126.

"I am very pleased to secure funding in this year's budget to open the school for this effective and much-needed program in my neighborhood," said Vallone. The Queens borough president candidate went on to say, "It is unacceptable that our children should fall further behind during the summer months because they do not have the programs that other neighborhoods take for granted."

Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL), a Zone 126 partner, is a national nonprofit that provides award-winning, high quality after-school and summer programs to close achievement and opportunity gaps. This is the second summer in which BELL and their philanthropic partners provided a summer program for the neediest children of Astoria.

"Zone 126 is grateful for Councilman Vallone's unwavering support to Zone 126's mission which is aligned to his long-time dedication to the children and families of Astoria. Zone 126 continues to tirelessly outreach funders and organizations to increase the number of children served each year", said Zone 126 Executive Director Maritza Arroyo Diaz.

Zone 126 coordinates and drives the efforts of a group of individuals and organizations with a common mission of seeing all children from Astoria and Long Island City's Zones of Promise graduate from high school and attain post-secondary education by providing programs and services from cradle to career. They work toward this mission by analyzing gaps in programs and services, address those gaps by providing programs and services to children and youth, from infancy through age 18 and beyond, and correlate program and service data to individual school performance to drive relevant and significant results. This is called Collective Impact, which is the logical approach to truly eliminating the achievement and opportunity gaps.

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