Great Neck nonprofit gets $49K state grant

State Sen. Elaine Phillips visited children at the Manhasset/Great Neck E.O.C. last week. (Photo courtesy of state Sen. Elaine Phillips)

By Luke Torrance

The Manhasset/Great Neck Encouraging Our Children Center, a Great Neck-based nonprofit that provides services for at-risk children and families, got a $49,000 grant from state Sen. Elaine Phillips, the senator announced last Friday.

Phillips toured the center last week, watching the children play musical games, perform dance routines and practice spelling.

“Nothing is more important than providing our children with a solid foundation for a bright future,” Phillips said in a statement. “The Manhasset/Great Neck E.O.C. offers vital programs for our local children and puts them on a path for success in a safe and fun atmosphere.”

Stephanie Chenault, the center’s executive director, said she was excited to have Phillips visit the center and that the extra funding was a pleasant surprise. But she was unsure what the money will be used for.

“We just found out about this in the last two days, so it’s not like something we had a plan for,” Chenault said.

Chenault said the center has begun discussing several possibilities for spending the money. Phillips said that the money would go toward youth programs that are focused on children ages 5 to adulthood.

“The youth program offers a variety of educational activities that teach children essential life skills through arts and crafts, dance, sports, field trips and other special events,” Phillips said. “This essential funding will help finance developmental programs, as well as assist with day-to-day operations.”

Chenault said that some of the funding might also go toward family services, but she said it was too early to go into the specifics of how the new funds would be utilized.

“Because we’re a nonprofit and we don’t charge for our programs, we have a lengthy wish list of things we would love to do,” she said.

Founded in 1966, the E.O.C. is an independent, nonprofit program that works to assist in the education of children from low-income families.

Children as young as 3 can enter Head Start, an early-childhood education program. Children from kindergarten to sixth grade can participate in an after-school program, while high school students can come to the center to plan for the future and discuss career opportunities.

Currently, the center is running a six-week, full-day summer program that is designed to help children retain the material they learned in school from one grade to the next.

The center also helps families with health insurance, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and tutoring for students.

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