For the past two decades, Commonpoint Queens’ COMPASS After School Program has been a free, recreational outlet for students at P.S. 115.
On Nov. 26, the social services organization held its 20th anniversary celebration at the Glen Oaks elementary school, complete with dinner and a show. Students, parents, staff members and alumni, some of whom are program volunteers, performed songs and dances while parents donated the refreshments.
In 1999, Iris Shaw started the COMPASS program at P.S. 115 as a free way to provide students with academic enhancement, socialization, recreation and earning opportunities. Through COMPASS/SONYC, which stands for Comprehensive After School System of NYC and School’s Out NYC, children were also exposed to the arts, technology and other diverse activities.
The New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development through COMPASS/SONYC initiatives provide funding for these types of after school programs. P.S. 115 in one of several schools around the borough celebrating the 20-year milestone.
COMPASS Program Director Michelle Pasha and her team put together the annual exhibition and has been involved with the program for the past 13 years. Several of Pasha’s employees who participated in the COMPASS program, along with currently enrolled children and their parents, expressed gratitude for the program’s guidance and services.
Special guest Councilman Barry Grodenchik, COMPASS employees and Assistant Director Shiva Sharma showcased a special performance under a sign that read, “Thankful for Twenty.”
“Brilliant student performances last evening @KevinBurke115as we celebrated 20 years of the Compass afterschool program. We need a city where every child has access to Compass. Congratulations to the students and program provider @Commonpoint_Qns@D26Team,” wrote Grodenchik on Twitter.
In addition to after school activities, COMPASS also provides a free summer camp where children can participate in fun camping trips and get academic support while school is not in session. While in the program, students can participate to become a “counselor in training”, which allows them to work with younger peers and gain leadership skills. Many who have enrolled in COMPASS return to volunteer or work as paid staff members.
To learn more about Commonpoint Queens and COMPASS, visit commonpointqueens.org.