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Verizon gives $8,000 to Reap and Keep

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After some of the students enrolled in the after-school program spoke briefly about the influential black leaders who have helped shape American history, Bill Martin, director of community affairs for Verizon, presented the students with an $8,000 check.The money, according to Doris Boston, Reap and Keep's executive director, will be used to purchase computers and materials for reading and math assessment."This company doesn't give money away," Boston told the students. "They invest. You will be the ones that make the money grow."The $8,000 grant comes on the heels of a $7,000 donation Verizon made to the after-school program last year. The 2005 money, Boston said, enabled Reap and Keep to hire a certified teacher. Reap and Keep students, who range in age from 7 to 18 years old, attend the program five days a week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The students, Boston said, primarily spend the time doing their homework and working with the staff to develop reading skills.There is a small fee for the program, Boston said, but the price is based on a student's ability to pay.Martin, who grew up in Jamaica and now chairs the Greater Jamaica Downtown Committee, urged the students to work hard and persevere. Glancing at a wall display featuring pictures and biographies of important black leaders, Martin told the students that in 20 or 30 years they, too, could be part of a black history month display."I'm hoping students come back and say they were successful because of this program," Martin said. Reap and Keep was founded 23 years ago by Boston's mother, Pastor Daisy King. It operated in Cambria Heights for several years, before moving to its current location. The program gets most of its funding from grants and private donations, Boston said. Boston, who took over the operation from her mother about five years ago, said it is important for the students to have a supervised place to do their homework. The program, she said, makes the students accountable."They need that support," Boston said.Reach Reporter Craig Giammona by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300 ext. 146.

Posted 7:15 pm, October 10, 2011
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