South Ozone Park Islamic School Students Get Free After School Activities

Students at a private Islamic school in South Ozone Park are getting after school activities thanks to a citywide initiative. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.

For eighth grader Felisa Mohabir, the learning doesn't stop when the school day is over.

"We're able to learn about different things, different cultures. We're able to build on ourself, like our leadership skills," said Mohabir.  

For the past three years, Mohabir and other middle-school students have taken part in free after-school activities through Mayor de Blasio's School's Out New York City (SONYC) program. However, she's not a public school student. Mohabir studies at the Al-Ihsan Academy in South Ozone Park. It's a private Islamic school for students in pre-school, all the way up to high school.

"We wanted to make sure we were an inclusive initiative. And we made every effort to reach out to non-traditional setting. We did targeted outreach to the Islamic community, the Jewish community, the Catholic community. And we have programs for the first time in many of these schools," said Bill Chong, the Commissioner of the city’s Department of Youth and Community Development.

"These resources, we were not able ourselves to give it to the students. So having this after school initiative, we are able to bring additional resources for them," said Rafeek Mohamad, the Principal at the Al-Ihsan Academy.

Al-Ishan offers diverse activities including art, drama, architecture, robotics and even a citywide soccer league. Educators said it's important to keep the kids engaged after class, no matter what school they attend.

"If they were at home, it's basic watching the TV, playing on the Xbox or PlayStation. But for the after school program, they have an outlet, they have somewhere where they can be more creative and can channel that energy they have," said Jamilah Wright, the Education Specialist at Al-Ihsan Academy.

As for Mohabir, she's channeling her energy into multiple activities.

"I love any kind of sports and every kind of sport, and art 'cause it's like my passion and I enjoy doing it, it's really relaxing," said Mohabir.

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