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The original item was published from 9/20/2018 12:19:57 PM to 10/29/2018 1:54:26 PM.

News Flash


Posted on: September 20, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Revamped RI Youth Center Expands Free Programming


Soccer is coming! Soccer is coming!

One of Roosevelt Island’s most anticipated sports programs – the RI Youth Center Fall Soccer League – is coming back in 2018, but this year in a new location.

With the Octagon soccer field off-line for renovations through the Spring of 2019, the center will continue the competitive soccer program at Firefighter’s Field with practices two days a week and competitions on Saturdays. The program will begin in late September. Further details about the schedule and sign-ups will be forthcoming via and all RIOC social media platforms.


“It’s been a little more than six months since the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation assumed daily, uninterrupted operations of the center which provides after-school, evening and weekend drop-in programs and classes free of charge to all Roosevelt Island’s youth in grades 2 through 12,” said RIOC Director of Community Affairs Erica Spencer-EL. “I’m extremely proud of what our staff has accomplished and I’m looking forward to our continued growth this Fall, Winter and next Spring.”

Added RIOC COO Shelton Hayes, “we’re excited to provide a safe, fun and nurturing atmosphere for Roosevelt Island youth.”

  • The Center’s programming activities are temporarily located on the second floor of Sportspark while its original building, at 506 Main Street, undergoes a full-scale renovation. The temporary location has been outfitted with furniture, electronics, games and supplies.

  • All Youth Center Participants, returning students and new must fill out the 2018-19 updated online registration forms to be fully registered for this school year. If you have not already done so, please click here or go to

Fall Drop-in Programming 

“In addition to the regular daily options offered at the center – which includes board games, computers, gaming equipment, healthy snacks and drinks – we have an expanded list of special programs, all to happen on Roosevelt Island, that participants may take part in this September through June 2019,” Spencer-EL said.

Bike New York, September - October, Tuesdays and Thursdays 3 PM – 5 PM 

Bike New York will offer fall bike safety classes, once a week, to participants ages 10 years old to 18 years old. The program teaches participants bike handling, fitting a helmet properly and learning the rules of the road. Participants also will learn how to ride in the street and, once basic skills are mastered, make an extended off-Island bike ride into Astoria.

Art Studio Workshop, September- November, Tuesdays and Thursdays 5 p.m.– 7 p.m.: An island artist will provide interested drop-in participants professional art instruction two days a week in the evenings for 11 weeks starting in September and ending in November. The goal of this program is to spark the interest of young aspiring artists and teach the basics of art mediums, art forms as well as art history. At the end of the 11-week workshop, participants will exhibit their work at Sportspark during an end-of-program celebration.

Fall Girls and Boys Basketball League - October - December, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays 5 PM - 8 PM: The Center will introduce a competitive basketball league for children in grades 8-12. The program will overlap the soccer league and provide another organized sporting opportunity for Island youth. Participants will receive instruction from professional and volunteer coaches and will eventually compete in a league.

In the upcoming months, other Island entities will collaborate with the center to offer additional programs to participants. These include:

Young Adult Programming - Plans are in place for the Roosevelt Island Branch of the NYC Public Library to host several workshops and activities specifically designed for young adult participants ages 13-18. Class offerings include college essay writing workshops hosted by collegiate professionals, comic book illustration classes, a book club and reading literacy workshops. The programs will take place at the library.

Modding in Minecraft and Roblox - Using two of the largest gaming platforms for play, with the guidance of Cornell Tech, interested participants will learn math and science concepts using Minecraft and Roblox. By modifying (modding) the platforms underlying code, participants will learn how to create new objects and effects that do not normally exist in the game. Workshops will be offered for participants in grades 5 - 12 and will allow them to express their creativity in building online worlds.

Photography - In addition to art studio instruction, photography will be offered in the summer permitting participants to explore digital imagery and photoshop. Participants will be encouraged to use their imagination as they learn the art forms in their environment.

The center will also introduce the following:

Coding - This is an introductory program in coding for participants in elementary school. The program will enable participants to make 3D video games by using fundamental coding concepts using Kodu. The platform is a visual programming language that helps users develop critical skills of storytelling, creativity and problem solving.

Music - The music program will be re-introduced to the center in January after the renovation is completed. This new evening program will teach basic music instruction for the piano/keyboard, drums and guitar.

Chess - Chess will be introduced to the Center’s participants as another exciting drop-in activity in the late fall. Participants will be placed into groups according to grade and chess playing ability while learning the rules of the game, how to move pieces, chess notation and other fundamentals.


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