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HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services Kids & Teens Build KaBOOM! Playground

June 5, 2015

HSVS, In The Media

The children and teens of HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services’ Carey Gardens and O’Dwyer Cornerstone Programs built a KaBOOM! Imagination Playground, made possible by Nathan’s Famous.

“We are thrilled that HeartShare St. Vincent Services was nominated for the Imagination Playground experience, which further enhances the physical, emotional and social benefits of at-risk children and teens participating in our youth programs. We are also incredibly grateful for the $2,000 donation, as our children often enjoy nutritional meals and snacks at our after-school programs,” said HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services (HSVS) Executive Director Dawn Saffayeh.

Both youth programs were presented with a $1,000 gift card to Pathmark and Waldbaum’s to be used for groceries. “This donation means so much to our students, who spend an extraordinary amount of time at our programs, particularly during the summer extended hours that span over more than 12 hours daily,” said HSVS Cornerstone Director Diana Greco. “HSVS youth programs offer a variety of academic, recreational and arts-based hands-on programs that reinforce academic concepts. We also motivate our students to pursue their creative interests and advise how to cope with every day challenges.”

HSVS, an affiliate of HeartShare Human Services of New York, opened its Carey Gardens and O’Dwyer Cornerstone Programs last year after displacement following Superstorm Sandy. The HSVS Surfside Cornerstone Program moved four times after Sandy until being temporarily co-located at the O’Dwyer Program.

“I, along with other members of the Coney Island Alliance, want to ensure that our community is healthy and thriving,” said Wayne Norbitz, President of Nathan’s Famous. “Providing a recreational outlet, for both mind and body, is essential for the growth of our youth. We cannot thank the kind people at HSVS enough due to their incredible impact on the development of our area’s youth, championing both physical and emotional growth.”

Traditional playgrounds consist primarily of fixed equipment, such as slides, monkey bars and teeter-totters, all of which focus on developing children’s gross motor skills. Imagination Playgrounds are made up of loose parts that prompt children to transform their environment and create a play space of their own.

For more information on HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services programs, visit

HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services’ youth programs gathered together on Wednesday, June 3 for the unveiling of the KaBOOM! Imagination Playground sponsored by Nathan’s Famous. Nathan’s also donated a $1,000 gift certificate each to the HSVS Carey Gardens and O’Dwyer Gardens Cornerstone Programs in Coney Island.


Assistant Director Nain Merino-Morales at HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services’ (HSVS) Cornerstone Program holds a $1,000 gift certificate towards groceries, which the HSVS staff aims to use for nutritional meals and snacks for the children during their time at the program, as well as a way to teach their students life skills, like cooking.


Mariana, age 9, puts her creativity to the test, while building modules of the KaBOOM! Imagination Playground sponsored by Nathan’s Famous. The playground was donated to the HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services’ Carey Gardens and O’Dwyer Cornerstone Programs in Coney Island, Brooklyn. HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services (HSVS) is a HeartShare affiliate.


Mariana and Shamar, age 9, attend HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services Surfside Gardens Cornerstone Program in Coney Island, which has been displaced since Superstorm Sandy and is co-located at the HSVS Carey Gardens Cornerstone Program in Coney Island, Brooklyn.


Kindergartener Evelyn (left) and First Grader Mayelin attend HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services (HSVS) Surfside Cornerstone Program, where they met in September and learned English together with HSVS after-school teachers and staff.


Amari, age 8, attends HeartShare St. Vincent Services’ Cornerstone Program, which includes after-school, weekend and summer camp services, provides homework help and tutoring to students, as well as teaches leadership and life skills.