Island Kids provides support to the families of Roosevelt Island by offering affordable, quality enrichment opportunities for children, and support groups for their parents. Located at 536 Main Street, Island Kids has had a presence on Roosevelt Island for over 20 years and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1993.
This past summer marked the 10th anniversary of Island Kids’ successful summer camp program. The camp’s theme this year, “I Dream, You Dream...We All Dream!” accomplished its goal of exposing campers to different careers. Campers got a chance to visit Roosevelt Island’s fire station, chat with Public Safety team members, have a discussion with a local librarian, and talk with Main Street Sweets’ Coach Scot before being treated to scoops of ice cream.
Island Kids always boasts a diverse lineup of classes throughout summer camp. This year’s offerings included photography, a class instructed by Island-based photographer Olya Turcihin and favored by parents. The campers’ schedule was rounded out with a science program, Mad Science, animal workshops with Nature Company, swimming, fitness sessions with Fit 4 Life, arts and crafts, and dance.
A highlight of summer camp was Island Kids’ partnership with the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance (MSTDA), culminating in Island Kids’ first-ever theater production. The partnership included a two-week theater curriculum with eight to ten hours of theater instruction for our 4-6 age groups and approximately 14 hours of theater instruction for our 7-10 age group.
The partnership was made possible through public-purpose funding granted to MSTDA to increase its outreach services to local organizations. With the help of MSTDA Executive Director Kristi Towey and MSTDA facilitators Bradly Widener and Joan Marie, the partnership was successful.
Island Kids prides itself in addressing the gaps that exist in services on Roosevelt Island. One way Island Kids achieves this is in providing full and partial scholarships to children who would otherwise not be able to participate in camp. This distinction from other camps helps Island Kids stay ethnically and economically diverse. Island Kids also remains the only organization on Roosevelt Island to provide summer camp services to kindergarten-age students, and accepted pre-K students for the first time this summer.
Island Kids recently partnered with PS/IS 217 for an expansion of their afterschool program this fall. The program that previously served 12 kids has grown to over 30 kids. Under the expansion, Island Kids serves kindergarteners through third graders. The schedule includes enrichment classes like Chess NYC, Private Picasso, Fit 4 Life, Mad Science, and Play Well. Registration is closed for the month of September, but will re-open for the month of October.
Island Kids’ Baby Group, a 20-year-old class providing a safe space for new parents and caregivers, takes place on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Our open-play session for toddlers takes place on Fridays at 10:00 a.m. Both sessions are located at 536 Main Street and are free of charge.
Island Kids has an enormous future and will continue to create, as well as enhance, its programs to serve the needs of Roosevelt Island residents. Island Kids intends to offer enrichment classes specifically for toddlers, such as tumbling and art, beginning this October.