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The original item was published from 11/9/2020 7:33:00 PM to 12/29/2020 10:45:09 AM.

News Flash


Posted on: November 6, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Learning Lab to Open on Roosevelt Island at Sportspark

Learning Bridges


Virtual Support Program Will Provide Free Childcare 

for Children in Grades 3-K Through 8th

(Roosevelt Island, November 6th, 2020) HCK Recreation Inc. recently received approval from the City of New York to provide a Learning Lab program for up to 200 seats through the Learning Bridges Initiative. This City funded program will provide, at no charge to families, academic support and enrichment activities from 8 AM to 3 PM weekdays when public schools are in session. The target start date for enrollees is November 18th continuing through the end of the school year (June 23, 2021). Details about enrollment eligibility, which is determined by the Department of Education, are expected to be announced on or before November 10th.The program will utilize space in the Sportspark facility, located at 250 Main Street, and surrounding outdoor space, the north bubble of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, and Firefighters Field. 

HCK Recreation Inc., which is the managing partner of the Roosevelt Island Racquet Club, was approved by the City as a qualified provider based on the combination of excellent facilities it could provide as well as HCK’s 20 plus years of experience operating summer day camps licensed by the NYC Department of Health (DOH). Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK, has past experience as the CEO of two charities, NYJTL and Sports and Arts in Schools Foundation, now named New York Edge, that are together the largest (160 schools) provider of afterschool sports, arts, and academic support programs in New York City public schools.

Shelton J. Haynes, Acting President & CEO of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) stated, “RIOC is in full support of any qualified entity efforts as a provider in securing Learning Bridges programs for Roosevelt Island families and will provide space to make this happen. We understand the challenges that parents are facing with blended learning and are committed to assisting with this effort to bring higher levels of accessibility during this pandemic.”

Council Member Ben Kallos expressed, "Thank you to the parents and community leaders who organized and have succeeded in getting the City to give them something they need and deserve. The 'Learning Bridges' program has been a huge help to many parents around the City, allowing them to work while their children attend school remotely. Now you can finally add Roosevelt Island parents to that list as well. I am glad we held a rally, and I am proud we made a difference that will benefit families including that of essential workers who fought Covid-19 during the worst moments of this pandemic. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and to Acting RIOC President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes for putting the community first and getting this done." 

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-12) said, “As a former teacher, I cannot stress enough the importance of education in a child’s formative years. New York City’s parents should not have to worry about going to work or having their child learn remotely. Learning Bridges solves just that problem and decreases the burden on families so that parents and guardians can go to work, and children can learn.”

Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright (NY-12) said, "I am proud to have joined the rally last Sunday with concerned parents and community leaders including Nikki Leopold, Executive Director of Island Kids to secure 200 seats for the Learning Bridges Program on Roosevelt Island. As a former PTA activist and a public school parent, I understand the importance of no-cost childcare, which is essential to the economic recovery of our city and state during the COVID-19 pandemic. The service provided by the Learning Bridges program to families is invaluable as we return to work and school in the blended model. We fought for this on a unified front to help make the program more accessible to each part of our borough, including Roosevelt Island.”   

Skip Hartman, CEO of HCK stressed that, “The key to success will be our ability to provide sound academic coordination and motivating enrichment activities while maintaining a safe environment for the children and the staff. We do have, thanks to RIOC’s collaboration, fabulous spaces.” HCK has qualified staff on board and is also actively seeking approximately 25 additional staff, that include licensed teachers in math, stem, literacy and technology, college grads, and college students taking a gap year.

Interested job applicants should contact Paul Fontana at

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