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P.L.A.Y. Program Keeps New Rochelle Children Safe

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. - Alexis Valencia is one of the eager children who uses the P.L.A.Y. Program as refuge from sitting at home all day at the Columbus Elementary School.

“I sometimes get bored and come here,” he said. “I like playing the sports that they have,” Valencia said of popular ones like kickball, and dodgeball.”

Other sports are offered, but the ones Valencia enjoys are coincidentially the most asked for

The New Rochelle Positive Leisure Time Activities for Youth (PLAY) Program offers activitie.

Valencia enjoys the competition. “You get to see friends and play against them,” he said.s at the recreation level for three to 14 years old at Columbus School Field from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday throughout July and August depending on the weather.

Children from three to six years must be accompanied by their parents.

Program veteran Samantha Russo fully benefits from the community collaboration.. Russo is fond of the sports offered. “It gives me something to do,” she said. “It’s entertaining to me.”

The program also allows Russo to expand her network. “I like meeting new people (and) playing sports,” she said.

The P.L.A.Y. Program is sponsored by the Boys and Girls Club of New Rochelle, New Rochelle Parks and Recreation, New Rochelle Youth Bureau, Office of the City Manager, and West End Task Force to keep children whose families might be able to send them to other camps occupied at least some of the time during the summer.

The program began five years ago this summer thanks to a generous $3,000 donation each time from Andrew and Cindy Deutsch in memory of friend Estrella Dorn.

Numbers for the Tuesday, through Thursday evening program can range from 22 to 70 on any given night in which it is offered. Participants can also play board games in addition to the athletic offerings.

“It’s very nice to see the children get to play,” said second year program supervisor Diana Williams. “They stay out of trouble,” she said. “They look forward to coming.”

What do does your child like about the P.L.A.Y. Program?

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