Dreams, Diversity and Hope on the Ice

They say that the children are the future.  The seeds we plant in them today are directly correlated with what kind of trees they grow into tomorrow.  If the wrong seeds are planted or not enough are planted then we can expect a Decidous tree, which sheds and loses its foliage at the end of its growing cycle or we plant enough of the right seeds to produce the Evergreen tree, whose foliage persists and remains green throughout their life expectancy.

Budget cuts are happening across the country.  Every state, city and county is feeling the squeeze of the economy.  The money is just not there anymore.  We would like to hope that our elected officials are doing any and everything in an attempt to avoid the cuts.  Or at least making sure that cuts are made in the appropriate places.  It’s hard to think that’s the case when we see fire stations closing, schools closing and cops being taken off of some of the most dangerous streets in the country.  But cutting those seeds we need to plant will only ensure that some of those most dangerous streets, stay dangerous.  It’s a cycle. Taking opportunity away from a child will only make their possibilities bleak.

This is what’s happening right now in the Upper West Side and Harlem areas of New York.  Riverbank Hockey is a youth ice hockey program that teaches recreational skating to children from all walks of life.  Children from ages 5-14, from black to Asian, from Jewish to Muslim, from lower class to upper class, are taught how to skate and eventually how to play hockey.  The seeds that are being planted are teamwork, direction, fitness and discipline.  They are being given seeds of self-confidence, respect for themselves and each other, commitment and character and hard work.  Riverbank Hockey is bringing children together who probably under no other circumstance would have an opportunity to learn the sport.  Riverbank Hockey is introducing children to the ice when they probably have so many opportunities to be introduced to the streets.  All this is being taken away.

Apparently the parks business is a business.  And with like any other business, if it’s not putting money in the pocket of the powers-that-be, then it’s chopped up as a loss.  New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation upcoming budget cuts will be the demise of the Riverbank Hockey Program.  It will send children with nowhere else to go, out in the cold.    That’s a bigger loss than any profit-loss statement can ever show.

To help keep these kids on the ice you MUST act now.  Call and write Governor David Paterson, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson.

GOVERNOR DAVID PATERSON
Email/web contact page: http://www.state.ny.us/governor/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

Mailing Address:
State Capital
Albany, New York 12224
518-474-8390


ASSEMBLYMAN SHELDON SILVER

Speaker of the New York State Assembly
Email address:speaker@assembly.state.ny.us
web contact page: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/?ad=064&sh=contact

District Office
250 Broadway
Suite 2307
New York, NY 10007
Tel: 212-312-1420

Albany Office
Legislative Office Building 932
Albany, NY 12248
Tel: 518-455-3791


SENATOR JOHN L. SAMPSON
Democratic Conference Leader

Email address: sampson@senate.state.ny.us
web contact page: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/john-l-sampson/contact

District Office:
1222  East 96th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11236
Tel: 718-649-7653
Fax: 718-649-7661

Albany Office:
409 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel: 518-455-2788
Fax: 518-426-6806

To hear how important this program is, please view the video below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVM6MTsRM-8&feature=player_embedded

You can also join the efforts to save Riverbank Hockey on Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Save-Riverbank-State-Park-hours-from-being-cut-in-the-State-budget/10150121886370438

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