Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Queens 12-Year-Old Has Eyes On One Day Being Chess Grandmaster

Posted on: April 7th, 2021 by New York Edge No Comments

The seventh grader, who moved to the U.S. a few years ago from Guyana, adopted her father’s love for the sport. She has been playing competitively for two years now and says chess has helped her through these COVID-19 times.

“Teachers assign a lot of assignments and it’s kind of stressful, but, you know, chess gives me something to like depend on. After a long day, I know that when I’m done, like school and everything, I can just go, you know, play a chess game, relax and enjoy it,” Jessica said. [read more]

New York Edge’s Learning Labs aim to ease remote learning burden for parents

Posted on: March 10th, 2021 by New York Edge No Comments

New York Edge is ramping up efforts to aid working parents who are continuing to struggle with managing their child’s remote learning during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. [read more]

For more information on our Learning Labs and how to enroll, please visit

New York Edge launches Learning Labs to help students and parents with remote learning.

Posted on: February 2nd, 2021 by New York Edge No Comments

As thousands of families across Queens and New York City juggle the continuous shifts between in-person and remote learning, New York Edge’s Learning Labs are providing a safe, educational environment for children on the days they are scheduled for virtual school – easing the burden for working parents who need assurance that their children are cared for during the workday. [read more]

Vice President at Pfizer Appointed to New York Edge Board of Directors

Posted on: January 7th, 2021 by New York Edge No Comments

New York City’s largest provider of on-site afterschool programs – today announced the appointment of Niesha Foster, Vice President, Product Access, Global Health & Patient Access at Pfizer, to the organization’s Board of Directors.

“We are proud to welcome such an accomplished and committed leader to our Board of Directors,” said Rachael Gazdick, CEO of New York Edge. “Niesha’s strong expertise and unwavering dedication to bettering communities across our city makes her an invaluable member of our team, and I look forward to our work together to deepen New York Edge’s impact across the five boroughs.”

As vice president of Product Access, Global Health & Patient Access at Pfizer, Ms. Foster is focused on addressing patient affordability and advancing health equity in diverse communities. She is accountable for U.S. Patient Assistance Programs, oversight of key international donation programs, and co-leads Pfizer’s Multicultural Center of Excellence, which advances health equity in ethnically diverse and underrepresented communities.

In her 17-year career with Pfizer, Ms. Foster has led numerous strategic and operational programs across commercial and platform functions. She was the finance lead for Pfizer’s HIV franchise and COPD program, and created and implemented Pfizer’s policies for interactions with healthcare professionals. Ms. Foster also served as chief of staff to the senior vice president of Policy, as well as to the president of Worldwide Research & Development. During her time as Corporate Affairs Lead, she focused on shaping the operating and access environment for the Rare Disease and Inflammation & Immunology business groups. Additionally, Ms. Foster has created unique community partnerships with organizations including the National Newspapers Publishers Association, to amplify the needs of the sickle cell disease community.

“It’s crucial that students be given tools and mentors in order for them to succeed in and out of the classroom,” said Ms. Foster. “I’m proud to join New York Edge to support students across the five boroughs and provide them with enriching, inspiring programs that will provide a launch pad for success.”

Prior to Pfizer, Ms. Foster forecasted the National Football League’s (NFL) Annual Salary Cap, and served as an auditor at PwC.

Ms. Foster holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Syracuse University and an MBA from the University of Virginia, Darden School of Business.

New York Edge provides thousands of students from more than 100 schools in grades K-12 across the five boroughs with engaging programs that will enhance their learning, enable them to grow academically and personally, and help them develop the passion and perseverance to meet their goals. From robotics classes, to leadership programs, to chess club, fencing, step club and beyond, New York Edge’s groundbreaking initiatives are customized to integrate the school day curriculum and lead to improved academic performance at every level.

New York Edge Awarded $100,000 From National Grid’s “Grid for Good” Initiative

Posted on: December 14th, 2020 by New York Edge No Comments

New York Edge – New York City’s largest provider of on-site afterschool programs – has been awarded a $100,000 grant from National Grid’s Grid for Good initiative to provide tools, resources and employment opportunities to help hundreds of students across the five boroughs pursue successful careers in the energy industry.

“It is vital that our students have access to programs and tools that will enable them to expand their horizons, discover their passions, and ultimately achieve their greatest potential,” said Rachael Gazdick, CEO of New York Edge. “National Grid’s generous donation will enable us to provide students across New York City with the resources to gain invaluable skills and explore careers within one of the fastest growing fields. We are grateful to National Grid for this partnership and look forward to working together to prepare our city’s young people for future success.”

Grid for Good is National Grid’s new flagship corporate responsibility community investment program, and New York Edge will serve as one of its charity partners through this grant.

The grant will allow New York Edge to provide industry specific skills and training to hundreds of its students from ages 16 – 24 to help them gain meaningful resources and employment opportunities in the energy field. The Grid for Good program is a unique pathway to employment comprised of industry knowledge training, peer networking, work readiness training, mentoring, internship opportunities, and more.

New York Edge provides thousands of students from more than 100 schools in grades K-12 across the five boroughs with engaging programs that will enhance their learning, enable them to grow academically and personally, and help them develop the passion and perseverance to meet their goals. From robotics classes, to leadership programs, to chess club, fencing, step club and beyond, New York Edge’s groundbreaking initiatives are customized to integrate the school day curriculum and lead to improved academic performance at every level.

Students need afterschool programming now more than ever

Posted on: December 10th, 2020 by New York Edge No Comments

New York City students are experiencing a school year like no other, hindering their ability to learn, grow, and excel both academically and personally. With the ongoing changes in in-person and virtual learning, families in Queens and across our city are forced to tackle this transition that significantly impacts students, working parents and caregivers, and communities at large. [read more]

New York Edge Names New Chief Government Contracts and Compliance Officer

Posted on: November 16th, 2020 by New York Edge No Comments

New York, NY – November 10, 2020 – New York Edge, the metropolitan region’s largest provider of on-site afterschool programs, has appointed Peter Quiñones as its chief government contracts and compliance officer. [read more]

Local McDonald’s owner donates books to Queens students

Posted on: October 23rd, 2020 by New York Edge No Comments

A local McDonald’s owner and operator sought to make the school year, filled with remote lessons and unusual schedules, a little easier and fun for students through a slew of book donations.

Dubbed “Happy Meal Readers,” students in elementary schools throughout New York City were treated to an array of books focusing on dinosaurs during their after school program with New York Edge via Zoom on Oct. 21. [read more]

A Conversation With NY Knicks Legend John Starks

Posted on: August 19th, 2020 by New York Edge No Comments

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, John Starks came to personify New York City as one of the most beloved New York Knicks players of all time. Since retiring from the game, Starks brings the tenacity he brought to the court to philanthropy. For the past 5 years, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, and has been involved with the Foundation since its inception in 2006. The Foundation, in partnership with MSG Entertainment, MSG Sports and MSG Networks, provides young people with life-changing access to educational and skills opportunities; mentoring programs; and memorable experiences that enhance their lives, help shape their futures and create lasting joy.

Starks shares, “When they first asked me to be a member of the Board, I felt that it was right up my alley. I have always wanted to help people and the Garden of Dreams Foundation accomplishes this in such a significant way. It means so much to be part of an effort to give back to the community that has given us so much for so long. Our focus is on kids and families in need and being able to help brighten their lives is incredibly uplifting to me.” Starks’ work in the community is not limited to the boardroom. He regularly visits kids in the hospital and has developed lasting relationships with their families. “Visiting those kids and seeing them smile despite what they are going through, has changed my entire perspective on life,” he says.

Starks attributes both his desire to help others and his tenacity to his mother, who raised 5 sons and 2 daughters as a single parent. She had help from his grandmother, who Starks says was only 5 feet tall, but could inspire fear in her grandsons. He recalls with a chuckle, “My Grandmother was like E.F. Hutton. When she talked; we listened.” Being raised by two strong, outspoken women taught the siblings to speak up for what is right. But it is his mother that Starks credits for his tenacity. “I saw my mother fight and scratch to keep her kids clothed and fed—and with 5 boys in the house, food ran out quickly. I saw how she never gave up and that is where I get my tenacity from.”

Life, he says, is like a basketball game. It can start off rocky and then smooth out. The key is to stay focused; to stay in the game and never give up. Starks remembers struggling to focus when he was going to school hungry. His childhood experiences provide a powerful connection to the kids that he and his colleagues at the Foundation are working to support. Starks wants kids to know that he is a living example of what staying focused and putting in the hard work can do. His journey began at age 7, when he first dunked a basketball by jumping off an oil can. The feeling of flying hooked him, and he never looked back. Now he works to provide kids with opportunities to discover their passions and be supported in pursuing them.

Unsurprisingly, the basketball great also talks about the importance of knowing when to pivot. “In my youth I had to make the difficult decision to leave behind some friends who weren’t taking me in the right direction. Sometimes you must look at the man in the mirror and make that tough decision for yourself. You have to be able to pivot to keep moving toward your goals.” Starks is proud of the way the Garden of Dreams Foundation pivoted to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, shifting funds initially earmarked for grants for improvements to physical spaces like courts, to instead provide immediate financial relief to its partners, including New York Edge, which the Foundation has long supported. Budget cuts have impacted summer camp programs this year, including New York Edge’s camps, and as part of the Garden of Dreams COVID Grant Program, the Foundation made a generous $100,000 grant to support NYE summer camp for 200 kids. “Everyone has been hit by this pandemic, but the communities New York Edge and the Foundation serve have been hit hardest. In these times, our Foundation has stepped up for youth by supporting the work of organizations like New York Edge. Together, we make a real impact on young people’s lives.”

In reflecting on his own journey, he recalls the days of being bussed from his neighborhood of North Tulsa to the predominantly white South Tulsa. On his very first day of junior high, Starks was kicked out for defending himself against a student who called him the n-word. He remembers the KKK burning crosses at his brothers’ football games to intimidate the Black players. The 7th grade was the first time Starks ever had a white coach. “Coach Hunt was a great man. I have so much respect for him. He treated all the players like we were his sons and his son was on the team. That taught me a lot about relationships and that people can work together no matter the color of your skin.”

While his hometown has changed, more change is needed there and across the country. Starks is inspired by the youth speaking truth to power and advocating for Black lives. “There is no place for what happened [to George Floyd] in Minneapolis. It has galvanized the world and it is good to see people coming together to say, ‘enough is enough.’ It is good for children to see that we are in this fight together,” Stark shares. “As a parent, you want your child to feel safe every time they walk out the door. For that to happen, we have to do better. We have to respect all citizens and protect their rights.”

The power of teamwork is evident across Stark’s work at the Foundation. Starks marvels at the dedication of the Board and staff at the Garden of Dreams. “I think we are able to make such a significant impact because we are so focused on our work to uplift lives and because we listen to our partners and the community and respond in meaningful ways.” Stark shares special words of praise for the staff, “They put their heart and soul into everything they do for the Foundation. Our staff makes sure the impact is known and felt by the community. Our accomplishments would not be possible without the staff on the ground. I take my hat off to them.”