LONG ISLAND CITY — A nonprofit in Western Queens scored a $92,000 grant this week to start a program that will teach young people about environmental science.
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House will use the funding to start "Growing Green!," an initiative for kids and teens that will emphasize science and technology and teach participants about composting, recycling and locally grown food, according to a statement.
"This is the type of partnership that will help level the playing field by offering our young people access to 21st century skills and technology," Riis Settlement director Chris Hanway said in a statement.
The program, offered at the organization's four centers in Astoria and Long Island City, will expand upon Riis Settlement's existing after-school and summer youth programs, which get kids actively involved in activities like community gardening and hydroponics — growing plants without food — and introducing them to the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
"A big portion of it is STEM careers," said Lavern Maison, director of youth programs at the organization's community center in the Ravenswood Houses.
"It's about exposing them to all the possibilities available to them, the many different careers available in the STEM field, and giving them a hands-on feel for what its like to be a scientist."
Riis Settlement will also use the grant for hiring a dedicated environmental educator, developing an environmental-themed computer game and for science lab equipment, according to a statement.