LaGuardia Community College students get their First Big Break

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

Rony Estevez is the first member of his family to enroll in college and has seen his life change after getting his big break.

Estevez recently celebrated his third anniversary at Creative Business Inc. — his first employment opportunity after the First Big Break Honors Internship Program at LaGuardia Community College helped him find an internship in accounting. It not only helped him pay for his living expenses, but also earned him class credit.

Estevez, 25, who grew up in public housing in Brooklyn, recently purchased his first home in Jamaica with his fiancée, and he’s on his way to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting at Brooklyn College.

Estevez, a full-time staff accountant at Brooklyn-based Creative Business Inc., is one of many students who have benefitted from the innovative program at LaGuardia Community College designed to help low-income and minority students by providing them with paid internships in their designated field.

According to LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow, many of their students are the first in their family to attend college and have the grit to juggle multiple jobs and responsibilities, but don’t have the connections and opportunities to find career-building internships.

“Coming from LaGuardia, they do touch base on a lot of fundamentals and have a great support system, but when it came to the technology aspect of bookkeeping or accounting there really wasn’t much,” said Estevez. “Coming into Creative Business, it was my very first time opening up the Quickbooks applications…I literally started from the ground up to where I am three years later.”

When students leave the internship, they gain the skills understanding the terminology behind the technology and bookkeeping operations around financial systems, said Jeanne Hardy, founder of Creative Business Inc., which provides financial guidance, operational know-how, and back office support to growing companies.

To date, Hardy has hosted six LaGuardia student-interns — and hired three of them on her staff.

First Big Break was established in 2016, and has placed more than 120 students at internships, where they gain professional experience, mentoring, and an income.

Employer-partners include major entertainment and cultural institutions; businesses that came through from LaGuardia’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program like Creative Business, Inc.; local Long Island City companies; and companies in sectors like finance and insurance, real estate, travel, and a range of other industries.

In order to be selected for an internship, students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA or above and must be enrolled full-time, said Aimeelyn Calandria, one of the program directors of First Big Break.

The LaGuardia Community College Foundation selects and vets high potential students for internships based on how the internship can best fulfill the student’s academic needs and career aspirations. The Foundation acts as intermediary between students and the company partner; sending resumes, coordinating interview schedules, getting feedback and evaluations, and monitoring student progress throughout the internship.

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis from students interested in internships with LaGuardia’s corporate and community partners. The application is open to all students with relevant majors, skills and experience. If applicable to their major, students may receive academic credit for the internship.

To learn about connecting LaGuardia students to internship opportunities, contact the LaGuardia Community College Foundation at (718) 482-5610 or foundation@lagcc.cuny.edu.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

LaGuardia Community College students get their First Big Break

See this story at TimesLedger.com.

By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

Rony Estevez is the first member of his family to enroll in college and has seen his life change after getting his big break.

Estevez recently celebrated his third anniversary at Creative Business Inc. — his first employment opportunity after the First Big Break Honors Internship Program at LaGuardia Community College helped him find an internship in accounting. It not only helped him pay for his living expenses, but also earned him class credit.

Estevez, 25, who grew up in public housing in Brooklyn, recently purchased his first home in Jamaica with his fiancée, and he’s on his way to earning a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting at Brooklyn College.

Estevez, a full-time staff accountant at Brooklyn-based Creative Business Inc., is one of many students who have benefitted from the innovative program at LaGuardia Community College designed to help low-income and minority students by providing them with paid internships in their designated field.

According to LaGuardia Community College President Gail Mellow, many of their students are the first in their family to attend college and have the grit to juggle multiple jobs and responsibilities, but don’t have the connections and opportunities to find career-building internships.

“Coming from LaGuardia, they do touch base on a lot of fundamentals and have a great support system, but when it came to the technology aspect of bookkeeping or accounting there really wasn’t much,” said Estevez. “Coming into Creative Business, it was my very first time opening up the Quickbooks applications…I literally started from the ground up to where I am three years later.”

When students leave the internship, they gain the skills understanding the terminology behind the technology and bookkeeping operations around financial systems, said Jeanne Hardy, founder of Creative Business Inc., which provides financial guidance, operational know-how, and back office support to growing companies.

To date, Hardy has hosted six LaGuardia student-interns — and hired three of them on her staff.

First Big Break was established in 2016, and has placed more than 120 students at internships, where they gain professional experience, mentoring, and an income.

Employer-partners include major entertainment and cultural institutions; businesses that came through from LaGuardia’s Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program like Creative Business, Inc.; local Long Island City companies; and companies in sectors like finance and insurance, real estate, travel, and a range of other industries.

In order to be selected for an internship, students are required to maintain a 3.0 GPA or above and must be enrolled full-time, said Aimeelyn Calandria, one of the program directors of First Big Break.

The LaGuardia Community College Foundation selects and vets high potential students for internships based on how the internship can best fulfill the student’s academic needs and career aspirations. The Foundation acts as intermediary between students and the company partner; sending resumes, coordinating interview schedules, getting feedback and evaluations, and monitoring student progress throughout the internship.

The program accepts applications on a rolling basis from students interested in internships with LaGuardia’s corporate and community partners. The application is open to all students with relevant majors, skills and experience. If applicable to their major, students may receive academic credit for the internship.

To learn about connecting LaGuardia students to internship opportunities, contact the LaGuardia Community College Foundation at (718) 482-5610 or foundation@lagcc.cuny.edu.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

After shuffle in Albany, can the DREAM Act pass?

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By Prem Calvin Prashad

TimesLedger Newspapers

The resounding primary defeats of former Independent Democratic Conference members is certain to cause a shuffle of legislative priorities in Albany.

One such priority in the New York State DREAM Act which, despite sharing a name with the Obama-era DREAM act, would instead create a fund for scholarships for undocumented children to enter college and provide access to certain benefit programs, such as the Tuition Assistance Program.

The NY DREAM Act was introduced approximately five years ago by state Sen. Jose Peralta. After passing the Assembly, it was narrowly defeated in the Senate. Since then, the NY DREAM Act has been included in and then negotiated out of every subsequently budget proposal. Peralta was one of the IDC members to lose a seat in last month’s primary. Jessica Ramos, his successful challenger, supports the legislation.

Though IDC members co-sponsored the bill, sufficient will did not exist in the governor’s office, nor within the IDC, to press the legislation forward against the Republican caucus. In recent years, most significant legislation has passed by way of inclusion the state budget, which is subject to negotiations between the Republican and Democratic caucuses. Without the IDC caucusing with the Republicans, Democrats now feel that they may have more leverage to control the budget.

State Republicans are largely against the measure, asserting that the bill would create tax burden on middle class taxpayers. Even in the most basic terms, this is not necessarily true, as the scholarships, according to the draft of the legislation, would come from a “DREAM Fund,” which will not receive state support.

Additionally, in terms of making undocumented student eligible for other aid and assistance, all residents of New York state pay sales tax and undocumented persons that are employed under legal circumstances also pay payroll taxes. Notably, state Republicans were hesitant to back measures to increase college affordability within the state, insisting on the residency requirement and that private institutions by covered as well.

Though the prospect of non-citizens receiving the same aid as citizens to go to college may not sit well with some, the NY DREAM Act is an extension of initiatives already in place to make college more affordable for all New Yorkers. This includes the Excelsior Scholarship, which provides a subsidy for families with an annual household income of 125k, as of 2019. Like the Excelsior scholarship, which mandates a credit load and residency in New York after graduation, the DREAM Act, if it passes, is likely to carry similar stipulations for grant recipients.

Notably, the Excelsior scholarship funds are considered “last dollar”, meaning they cover tuition only after all other financial aid has been exhausted. It does not cover boarding and living expenses. Indeed, many backers within the SUNY and CUNY systems felt that they program would have the largest impact on prospective community college students, many of whom would not be able to attend college due to having to cover their own tuition. Indeed, the CUNY system was tuition-free until 1976 and in some regards, these programs are a return to that tradition.

An investment in the futures of undocumented youth, especially combined with the state’s existing investment in middle and low-income households is one that is certain to reap dividends as those college students become taxpayers themselves. As the current draft of the legislation indicates, “young people generally derive their immigration status from their parents,” which, in of itself may preclude them from a better future, even if they have lived most of their lives in the United States.

At a time where a college degree has supplanted the high school diploma, only 5 to 10 percent of undocumented students are able to attend college. The notion that one might have to remain marginally employed or sacrifice educational opportunities due to the circumstances under which they came to this country is unjustifiable.

With more than a million undocumented residents, New York state must consider the long-term welfare of all residents, citizen or not.

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Source: Times Ledger

York College partners with Microdrones to give students tech internships

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By Naeisha Rose

TimesLedger Newspapers

Jamaica is continuing to makes strides toward becoming a major hub.

Helping to spur the economy in the region is START-UP NY, a program created by Gov. Andrew Cuomo meant to help new and expanding businesses connect with colleges throughout the state and create jobs.

One of the local colleges to recently benefit from the program is York College, which announced its partnership with START-UP NY Oct. 2. The college will be working with the global company Pro Drones USA, which is also known as Microdrones.

The partnership between Microdrones and York College, which is located at 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd., will help the firm to expand its global operation as a drone company in Jamaica and buoy the school’s students in its computer and technology programs with internships and potential permanent full-time job placements, according to Oslene Carrington, an executive director of Economic and Workforce Development at the college.

“Jamaica will be [another] tech hub in Queens,” said Carrington. “START-UP NY is enabling the environment for tech companies to grow in Jamaica. We aim to become [another] Long Island City or downtown Brooklyn in terms of attracting tech firms and additional tech talent.”

York offers a Computer Science degree and Tech Academy professional certification programs with courses in data analytics, project management, web development, and cyber security, according to Carrington.

“York College is definitely training the southeast Queens workforce for the growing and well-paying jobs in New York’s tech industry,” she added.

Microdrones was founded in 2005 and developed one of the world’s first commercial quadcopters. The company is a leader in the industry of unmanned aerial vehicles, according to its website.

The company pairs drones with cutting-edge sensors for surveying, construction, precision agriculture, mining and commercial applications in a way that is easy to use for those who are new to the technology, according to Microdrones website.

The drones have long flight-times, they are resistance to environmental factors, and use georeferncing, according to the global firm, which is excited to work with the school.

“We see our relationship with York College and CUNY as very important to cultivating our workforce of tomorrow,” said Mircrodrones President Vivien Heriard-Dubreuil. “With strong programs in related disciplines, we are excited to be a part of this community, and hope that students will visit our website to learn more about us.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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Source: Times Ledger

Flushing Meadows Corona Park set to host Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk

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By Naeisha Rose

TimesLedger Newspapers

The St. Albans Epsilon Pi Omega co-ed Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., which formed at Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1908, will have its sixth annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Oct. 21 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Registration for the walk will be at 8 a.m. at 111-01 Corona Ave. Participants can park at the Citi Field Southfield Lot: 589, locatedon Roosevelt Avenue in Corona, according to Epsilon Pi Omega spokeswoman Sheila Bair-Bey.

“We have met with the American Cancer Society and they are going to walk with us,” Bair-Bey said.

American Cancer Society representatives were at the Epsilon Pi Omega Sorority and Fraternity Health & Wellness Fair Sept. 29 at PS 36 in St. Albans at 187-01, where pamphlets about breast cancer were handed out to attendees, according to Bair-Bey, who said she can’t wait for the breast cancer walk.

“We gave out information on breast cancer, and the statistics of breast cancer among African-American women,” said Bair-Bey, who added that participants will proudly wear pink ribbons to help promote breast cancer awareness.

According to figures compiled from 2016 to 2018 by the American Cancer Society, black women in the United States have a one in nine chance of developing breast cancer, compared to one in eight for white women, but die in one out of 31 cases, while white women die in one out of every 37 cases. In New York, 119.2 black women per 100,000 developed breast cancer from 2008 to 2012.

“You can also register at the Making Strides website to register,” said Nancy Duncan, the chairwoman of Epsilon Pi Omega. “Some of us have already joined the [EPO/AKA] team and donated to the team so that we can give the money to Making Strides of Queens.”

Alpha Kappa Alpha and its southeast Queens chapter Epsilon Pi Omega will be wearing the AKA pink and green paraphernalia, according to Duncan.

“It’s a very personal cause for us,” said Duncan. “We have to represent women in the community and others who have or have not been touched by breast cancer… sometimes we don’t know [if we have breast cancer] and it’s too late.”

She hopes her organization will help to bring awareness about breast cancer and help to save lives.

City Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica), a member of the Atlanta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha at Spelman College, also wants to bring more increased attention to the cause during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“If not personally affected, most of us have a friend or a family member who has been impacted by breast cancer. It is more important now than ever before to make awareness a priority so that women will take the time to self-examine,” said Adams. “The passion to fight breast cancer is increasingly strong. Thanks to awareness events, the importance of early diagnosis has been realized. This is why I am so proud to support the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Epsilon Pi Omega Chapter’s Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 21.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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Source: Times Ledger

Grant money can bring ferry to northeast Queens

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By Larry Penner

TimesLedger Newspapers

There is money available to support a ferry to northeast Queens (“Public feedback could bring ferry to NE Qns,” Bill Parry — Sept. 28). All Mayor Bill de Blasio has to do is ask NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg to submit grant applications to both the Federal Transit Administration Passenger Ferry Program and New York state Department of Transportation.

Why not apply for capital grants from the New York state Department of Transportation and Federal Transit Administration to assist in funding? NYCDOT does this and receives tens of millions of dollars on an annual basis on behalf of the Staten Island Ferry.

Albany also provides State Transportation Operating Assistance for transportation systems such as the Staten Island Ferry along with local share against federal grants.

Ridership on any transit service generates yearly federal transportation formula capital assistance. Numerous past private ferry operators have come and gone. They could not financially survive based upon farebox revenue alone without government subsidy.

MTA bus, subway and commuter rail, along with the Staten Island Ferry is subsidized by a combination of city, state and federal assistance for both capital and operating costs. All of these proposed new ferry services will require similar subsidies if they are to survive.

Riders could purchase weekly or monthly passes for discounted fares. These could be supplemented by using Transit Checks which will further reduce the cost per ride.

Riding a ferry can be less stressful than being packed in a subway car like sardines in a can or stuck on a bus running late in traffic not moving.

Larry Penner

Great Neck

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Source: Times Ledger

Queens constituents, elected officials offer suggestions on how to improve tax system

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By Naeisha Rose

TimesLedger Newspapers

York College was the site of a tax reform public hearing last week, where elected officials and residents of all different types of property were able to address concerns about the current tax system and make suggestions.

The meeting was held at the school’s Milton Bassin Performing Arts Center.

State Sen. Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) spoke on behalf of his constituents in District 14, which represents Briarwood, Cambria Heights, Hollis, Hollis Hills, Hillcrest, Jamaica, Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Kew Gardens, Laurelton, Queens Village, Rosedale, South Jamaica, Springfield Gardens and St. Albans.

“Property taxes are essential to the function of New York City government, and the very collection of it allows our government to operate efficiently, but our property taxes are thoroughly and unmistakably regressive,” said Comrie. “It impacts negatively those who could least afford it, principally households with incomes under $100,000 a year.”

According to the senator, most of his constituents make around $59,000.

“Frankly those are most of the people I represent,” said Comrie. “People who are told for decades trying to raise a family, work full time, and saved up enough money to buy a house in southeast Queens… may be retired, and are maybe blessed enough to have a pension, alongside Social Security, are stuck, yet they are being hit with a flat tax with no correlation of their ability to pay.”

Comrie also said he found it troubling that southeast Queens homes are some of the cheapest throughout the borough and the city with prices going for $400,000 to $500,000, but they are over assessed for taxes, while other neighborhoods aren’t evaluated at all sometimes. He added that nearly 30 percent of his district’s one-to-three family homeowners pay some of the highest taxes at $6,000.

“We’ve been in our home for over 28 years and we are now retired and we find that our taxes have increased significantly in the last few years and we consider it to be a hardship,” said Sharon Handy of Addisleigh Park, who read a letter from her tax-preparer husband. “Our current system puts too much weight on the estimated market value… which is the primary source used to calculate our annual property taxes.”

The couple was afraid that one and two family homeowners who are retired would be forced out of their houses due to exorbitant taxes.

City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), represented constituents from Belle Harbor, Breezy Point, Broad Channel, Howard Beach, Lindenwood, Neponsit, Ozone Park, Richmond Hill, Rockaway Park, Roxbury, South Ozone Park, West Hamilton Beach and Woodhaven at the event.

“To say that the current system is regressive is an understatement,” said Ulrich. “It is not very transparent. It is not a fair process. It sometimes rewards the bad guys and punishes the good guys.”

According to Ulrich, a property worth $915,000 in Belle Harbor was taxed $10,000, while 10 properties in Park Slope ranging from $2.7 million to $4.3 million were also taxed around $10,000.

“Currently, we tax less valuable properties at a higher rate and it disproportionately hurts communities of color and non-white districts across the city,” said Ulrich. “People coming [to Queens] for the American dream are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. We have to do something.”

Mathew Joseph, a Queens tax appraiser from Bellerose, offered some suggestions to fix the tax law.

“All property should be assessed by the fair market value… that are beholden on ratios based on tax classes,” said Joseph. He also added, that “income producing property should be valued based on market income.”

He also suggests that there needs to be a Department of Assessment for properties that is completely separate from the city’s Department of Finance.

“This [Department of Assessment] will give the office strength, stability and independence from outside influence,” said Joseph.

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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Source: Times Ledger

College Point singer records first solo album

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

After 37 years of performing with The Tapes, College Point native Bill Popp is set to release his first solo album, titled “Bill Popp Solo.”

Popp is inviting the public to his free release party at the Parkside Lounge — located at 317 Houston St. on corner of Attorney Street in Manhattan — Oct. 24 at 6 p.m.

Guests will receive a free copy of Popp’s new 13-song album that consists of his vocals accompanied by piano. Light refreshments will be served, followed by a live solo performance from the singer, with other solo guest performers to follow.

“The band is still going strong. When I play solo, people want to buy a CD and all I have is a band CD,” said Popp. “I don’t have anything that represents what I do solo, so it’s another avenue for me, but Bill Popp and The Tapes are strong.”

Popp and The Tapes have been a fixture in the New York music world for more than 37 years with no end in sight. Through the years, the bands’ musicianship, Popp’s songwriting and vocal ability, along with their harmonies, won the group favorable reviews in publications such as Billboard, The New York Daily News, The Village Voice and The All Music Guide, to name a few.

Before the band was formed in 1981, Popp, was a solo performer, crooning his tunes for the Sangria set in long gone clubs such as the Dugout and Folk City in the West Village.

Popp was inspired by the British Invasion rock of the 1960s as well punk rock and new wave of the ‘70s and ‘80s.

While the band was compiling more than 1,000 gigs across the world, Popp would play an occasional solo gig. While Popp’s main focus was always on the band, his solo shows became more frequent in his later years, becoming its own entity.

“The closest song to me is ‘Elizabeth,’” Popp said about his new album. “I wrote that back in 1999 about my mother. For some reason I got reminiscent of my childhood.”

Following the death of his mother in 1978, Popp said it was a wake up call for him and he had promised her that he would always try to get somewhere with his music, and never give up his passion.

Popp thinks that “Bill Popp Solo” will please longtime fans.

“I think if you enjoy my vocal this type of record will feature it,” said Popp. “People are going to love this record or think it’s a frisbee. So far there have been good responses. We gotta hope for the best.”

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

Meng joins postal workers to protest Trump’s proposal to privatize USPS

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and postal workers from across Queens joined forces Tuesday to protest President Donald Trump’s proposal to privatize the United States Postal Service.

In front of her Flushing office — located at 40-13 159th St. Suite A — Meng was joined by local members of the nation’s postal unions, including the National Association of Letter Carriers, American Postal Workers Union, and National Postal Mail Handlers Union.

The presidents of the local unions and other union officials were also in attendance.

The gathering was part of similar events that took place Oct. 8 in Congressional districts throughout the country, when postal employees joined members of Congress to stand against privatizing the U.S. mail. Events were held in front of Congressional offices nationwide and in some cases, outside post offices.

“Selling the U.S. Postal Service to private corporations would be disastrous for our country, and we are here tell the president loud and clear, and in the strongest possible terms, that the U.S. mail is not for sale,” said Meng. “The American people and small businesses rely heavily on the postal service and if the agency is privatized, we all stand to be socked with higher delivery costs and a reduction of service, particularity in areas where it’s not profitable for private companies to make deliveries.”

Meng added that privatization may also put the jobs of hardworking postal employees on the chopping block.

“It’s clear what we must do. We must take this privatization plan, stamp return to sender on it, and make sure it goes straight back to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.,” said Meng.

In April, President Trump issued an executive order that established a task force to look into the postal service’s operations and finances. But before the task force came to any conclusions, his administration put forward a proposal to eventually privatize the agency. The proposal was part of “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century,” a government reorganization plan that was released in June.

“The U.S. Postal Service is a service to the American people, contained in the Constitution of the United States,” said George Mangold, president of the New York State Association of Letter Carriers. “It was never meant to be a money making business. Privatization would destroy that service. The U.S. Mail is Not for Sale.”

Meng is a co-sponsor of a resolution, H. Res. 993, introduced in the House in July, calling for the Postal Service to not be privatized.

The resolution is a bipartisan measure urging Congress to “take all appropriate measures to ensure that the U.S. Postal Service remains an independent establishment of the federal government and is not subject to privatization.”

The resolution is pending before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and presently has 223 co-sponsors. A similar bipartisan measure in the Senate, S. Res. 633, was introduced in September. It has 42 co-sponsors and has been referred to the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger

Queens organization raises funds for breast cancer patients

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By Carlotta Mohamed

TimesLedger Newspapers

A local organization in Rosedale is making strides against breast cancer.

DREAM Inc. (Developmental Resources through Education, Athletics, and Mentoring) will be partnering with two organizations — Never Die Tour and Inspire or Retire — to raise funds for breast cancer at the annual American Cancer Society Making Strides Breast Cancer Walk in Queens.

On Sunday, Oct. 21, at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, all three Queens-based organizations — from Rosedale, Cambria Heights and Jamaica — will show their support to help cure breast cancer. DREAM Inc. will award a special person battling breast cancer with a surprise donation at the end of the walk.

Following the walk, the three organizations will host the “DREAM to Inspire and Tour for a Cure” brunch from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Katch Brew and Grill — located at 31-19 Newtown Ave. in Astoria — to honor those who currently are battling or have battled breast cancer.

“We look forward to the great success of the event. In the past, we raised funds by ourselves. With the support of other organizations, we feel encouraged to bring three times our original goal,” said Kouri Falconer, the founder and CEO of DREAM Inc., a nonprofit founded in 2014 to provide support and access to services for underserved communities.

DREAM Inc. has orchestrated and participated in developing and implementing school supply giveaways, scholarship raffles, Thanksgiving drives, sports tournaments and health fairs, as well as engaging in leadership development activities such as public speaking, problem-solving and time management, Falconer said.

After participating in the first Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Queens in October 2016, Falconer said the group was inspired to raise funds.

“It was our first time as a group we collectively participated and seeing other organizations and families walking for a family member going through cancer, we wanted to help someone else going through it,” said Falconer.

According to Falconer, DREAM Inc. raised close to $1,000 last year, all of which was donated to the American Breast Cancer Society.

So far, DREAM Inc. has raised $1,100 from T-shirt sales and are looking to keep raising as much as possible, said Falconer.

The Queens-based non-profit helps to develop safe, healthy and thriving neighborhoods by connecting the youth and their families with the necessary resources, programs and influential leaders. Their goal is to establish annual educational, athletic and mentoring programs for targeted communities.

For more information, including how to purchase a ticket or a shirt, go to: www.brunchcure.eventbrite.com

Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmohamed@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4526.

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Source: Times Ledger