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Hastings Community 'Rec' Center A Summer Haven For Kids

Hastings teens Karin Espinoza, left, and Alyssa Pistorino spent part of their summer break at the James Harmon Community Center. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore
Hastings youth Advocate Donny Waterous works with local young people through programs at the Hastings Community Center. Photo Credit: Danny LoPriore

HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. - Summer comes to an unofficial end with Labor Day on Monday and local youngsters were spending the last few hours of vacation time at local pools, ball fields and a favorite hangout, the James Harmon Community Center in Hastings-on-Hudson.

"We get a chance to be with friends and meet some new friends here," 15-year-old Alyssa Pistorino said as she spent Friday morning at "The Rec." "It's a comfortable place because we can use computers, play games and stay cool when it's hot."

Hastings' Youth Advocate Donny Waterous said the Community Center offers a respite for kids with time on their hands, activities, day trips and counseling when kids are struggling with issues.

"The kids have a place to come that is one of the best facilities of it's kid in Westchester," Waterous said. "They get to interact with friends and have a good time close to home. This has been a good summer and we're also getting them ready to go back to school.

The Hastings Recreation Department and the Village of Hastings also has a stock of back-to-school supplies for youngsters who may need some material support as school opens next week. Waterous said several youngsters had been by the Community Center to pick up needed school supplies.

"The school requires a list of things from pencils and notebooks to tissues and wipes," Waterous said. "We're down bit in donations this year -- churches contribute much of the materials.It's a service that we know is helpful."

Families who may need school supplies may visit the Community Center or call 478-2380 for information. The Community Center is also expecting new computers for its media room, another assist for after-school hours.

Karin Espinoza, a 14-year-old going into the ninth grade at Hastings High School, said she is looking forward to going back to school.

"Summer is almost over, so we want to get back to school," Espinoza said. "Coming to the Rec is fun for us because we have things to do. A lot of us are friends."

Waterous said the Youth Advocate Program , which continues with Friday night activities during the school year, offers help and counseling through the state-funded Office of Substance Abuse Services.

"We are here for young people and families," Waterous said. "We get the know the children pretty well, so if we can help in any way, we are here."

Pistorino, who said she spent some of her vacation time in Seaside Heights, N.J. this summer and on family outings, was ready for school.

"When  schools starts, we have a lot to do," Pistorino said. "Rec is always here for us."

For the kids of "The Rec", summer is gone but their home away from home is still open for business

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