Jewish Institute of Queens
Commission AmeriCorps State FY 2011
The Jewish Institute of Queens (JIQ) is a successful, non-profit CBO and school that provides programs for the education and absorption of recent and second-generation immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The target community is plagued by socio-economic difficulties including poor literacy, unemployment, underemployment, low levels of nutrition and the social and emotional problems issuing from feelings of isolation in a culturally unfamiliar environment. In West Queens, which includes the targeted areas of Elmhurst and Corona, 59.2% are foreign born, 33.2% are adults who did not graduate high school and 17.8% live in poverty (Census 2000). 97% of the students enrolled in JIQ?s programs are eligible for free/reduced-price meals, more than 50% of JIQ's elementary school students require remedial or ESL assistance, and a staggering 170 out of its 250 K-6th Grade students are Title I students. In Queens, statistics show that one in six children is overweight or obese. In a 2008-2009 study of childhood obesity in New York City, the highest rates were found in Corona, Queens where a staggering 51% of schoolchildren were overweight or obese! JIQ proposes to implement an AmeriCorps program of 10 MSY in the priority areas of Education and Healthy Futures. JIQ will operate a Mentoring Program where 12 half-time AmeriCorps Members (6 MSY) will mentor 72 children after school hours at JIQ's site. 6 half-time Members (3 MSY) will provide a Nutrition Education program for 250 children by expanding the capacity of JIQ's Food Pantry program to include healthy foods and nutritional information and by providing youth with nutrition education classes targeting childhood obesity. Volunteers will expand the programs by providing additional mentoring services and assistance with the Nutrition Education program. One full-time Member (1 MSY) will oversee volunteer recruitment and management. The program features partnerships with the Bukharian Congress, the Bukharian Jewish Community Center and the LEA to assess community needs; B'Above Worldwide Head Start, Forest Park Head Start, and Children International for further assessment of community needs and for referrals; Good Will Industries for volunteer recruitment; Food Bank of NYC and City Harvest for training on food safety, handling and storage; and FEGS for referrals and the provision of a social worker for training and guidance of Mentors. A Nutritionist for training will also be provided by B'Above. 49 of the 72 children (68%) in the Mentoring program will demonstrate improved academic performance by improving on post-test scores as opposed to pre-test scores by at least 15%. 165 of the 250 children (66%) in the Nutrition program will adopt at least one healthy eating behavior (measured via nutrition surveys), reducing the risk of childhood obesity.