Astoria kids spend a “virtual” summer around the world

Is traveling through countries around the world a dream for you? Well, for this year’s campers at Goodwill’s Beacon program at IS 141 in Astoria that dream came true in a virtual way.

The elementary and middle school students, and SHSAT preparatory class students participated in the Beacon’s “A summer around the world” program. The goal was to help participants develop a better understanding of cultures around the world, nature, ecosystems and how they impact our daily lives.

Each week, all students  focused on a different theme: Going Green, Nature and Habitat, Nutrition, Engineering and Architecture. The participants engaged in hands-on activities: Molding key animals in the food chain using paper Mache, presented art projects using recycled items, and compared and contrast food resources for a better nutrition option.

The middle school participants learned about mechanical systems and analyzed key components in a machine. They enhanced their knowledge by building Lego robotics.

As for the SHSAT preparatory, the English Language Arts portion of the course focused on key components: Test-taking strategies to familiarize students with the nuances of the exam and targeted practices that isolate the three specific sections of the exam to help students understand the intricacies of each component.

After identifying gaps in the reading levels of many students, it was determined that students would benefit from exposure to selected readings on 11th and 12th grade level. SHSAT exams were given to students to see how they would perform on the actual exam and to track their progress throughout the summer. Based on the outcomes and demand for the SHSAT prep course this year, we look forward to running this program next year for middle school participants in the community.

Evening programs consisted of co-locators, DA training, community fitness and basketball for school aged and adult participants who live in the community.

The campers also went on field trips to the Urban Farm, City Growers Rooftop Farm, Museum of Natural History, Sculpture Park, Astoria Bowl, Kaufman Movie Theater, Lego Land, and Victoria Gardens. After a long and hot summer of learning, participants were rewarded with a trip to Sportime USA, where they enjoyed the day rock climbing, laser tag, and playing fun filled games.

Beacon program are school-based community centers serving children age 6 and older and adults. Goodwill operates 5 Beacons in Brooklyn and Queens After-school in evenings, on weekends, during school holidays and vacation periods, including the summer. All services are offered to New York City residents at no cost through funding provided by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development.

For more information about Beacon program at IS 141, contact Director Farhan Kapadia at (718) 777-9200 or

Goodwill’s Beacon Program at IS 141:

37-11 21st Ave, Room 209

Astoria, NY 11105

P: 718-777-9200

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