Grant Money Will Help the Youth Center Retain and Recruit High-Performing Staff


Roosevelt Island Youth Center Staff & Participants
Roosevelt Island Youth Center Staff & Participants

Roosevelt Island, NY, Nov. 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —

Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) President & CEO Shelton J. Haynes today announced that the Roosevelt Island Youth Center has been awarded a $34,284 grant from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) in support of the Center’s strong work hiring and developing high-performing staff members. The total award will be split into two grant payments: one for staff retention bonuses to Youth Center employees “in good standing” who have worked a set number of hours and are in a role that provides direct care for children; and a second payment for staff recruitment and payroll tax assistance. The Center became eligible for the grant after attaining its New York State Child Care (SACC) license in early 2023. 

“I am incredibly proud of the outstanding work our Youth Center employees do for this community, and I am happy to see the state is also recognizing their extraordinary efforts through this grant award,” said RIOC President and CEO Shelton J. Haynes. “Ana and her team have made the Youth Center one of the crowning jewels of this island. Their commitment and care to everyone who walks through their door is apparent in every event, every program, and every enrichment activity the Center provides. Every day, Youth Center attendees are building important social bonds and gaining the life-skills they’ll need to succeed in the world, all while having fun. That’s a testament to the Center’s tireless staff, and I applaud all of them on a wonderful job well done.”   

“I’m so grateful to work with such a talented, passionate, and hardworking group of youth development professionals at the Youth Center,” said Ana Medina, Director of the Roosevelt Island Youth Center. “The Youth Center staff is an exemplary team that has created innovative programming and special events that empower and inspire the youth of our Roosevelt Island community, helping them to become confident, compassionate, and capable leaders of tomorrow. The Youth Center team showcases the heart of the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s values each and every day. Attracting and retaining top talent is crucial to our success, and President Haynes has always prioritized the growth of Center, in addition to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and employee-centric environment. It brings me great joy for the Youth Center to receive grant funding that not only acknowledges exceptional SACC programs, but also provides additional support to retain valuable staff and recruit more youth development professionals.” 

Since 2019, RIOC has operated the Youth Center as an after-school and summer drop-in center to be a safe and inclusive environment for youth to gather, socialize, and engage in activities. Working with the community, the Center has served as an outlet for youth recreational, educational, and artistic programming. 

The Roosevelt Island Youth Center has made some tremendous gains over the last several years. The Center re-opened in 2021 after undergoing significant renovations which turned the space into a state-of-the-art developmental facility. In 2023, The Center received its SACC license, which helped the center expand it’s already robust offering of programs. The Center also launched its new “Teen Night” programming in 2023 where island teens can have a positive afterhours outlet for enrichment and socializing. 

About the Roosevelt Island Youth Center:
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s Youth Center operates as a New York State School Age Child Care (SACC) during the school year and summer. The center provides a safe and inclusive environment for youth to gather, socialize, and engage in activities. Through island collaborations and partnerships, the center is geared to serve as an outlet for youth to engage in recreational, educational, and artistic programming. Youth Center programs include podcasting, film, chess, photography, science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM), sports, music production, garden, culinary, yoga, and more.

About RIOC: 
The Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) was created in 1984 by the State of New York as a public benefit corporation with a mission to plan, design, develop, operate, and maintain Roosevelt Island. With a focus on innovative and environmentally friendly solutions, RIOC is committed to providing services that enhance the island’s residential community. RIOC manages the two-mile-long island’s roads, parks, buildings, a sports facility, and public transportation, including the iconic aerial tramway. Additionally, RIOC operates a Public Safety Department that helps maintain a safe and secure environment for residents, employees, business owners, and visitors.


CONTACT: Akeem Jamal, Assistant Vice President, Communications & Government Affairs Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation (RIOC) (212) 832-4540 [email protected] 

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