The following is a sponsored post by the Staten Island JCC.*

After navigating a pandemic that interrupted so many normal childhood experiences, parents are wondering how they can help their kids thrive and grow. It might just be time to try something new!

Parents are turning to community centers like the Joan & Alan Bernikow JCC of Staten Island that offer a wide array of extracurricular activities—such as music, sports, swimming, and more—so that kids can try out different hobbies and learn new skills in a fun environment.

Sports and recreation programs help build healthy lifestyles from a young age. In the JCC’s basketball, soccer, tennis, Krav Maga, and aquatics programs, kids at all levels of experience can stay active while developing a healthy mentality towards success.

From months of schooling over Zoom to online gaming and endless screen entertainment at our fingertips, today’s kids are missing out on that connection more than ever. After school programs give children the opportunity to focus on the activity at hand while cultivating relationships offline with their peers and mentors.

Extracurricular activities help kids and teens become a part of a community. In the JCC’s iTeens program, teens from high schools across the island meet up for fun and games in a safe environment and work on community service projects that help them make a difference. The JCC also offers School’s Out programs that bring kids together for special activities outside of the classroom!

The newest frontier in childhood education is Social and Emotional Learning. Through practices that improve skills like decision-making, conflict resolution, and mindfulness, SEL helps kids grow as they relate to others and themselves. The JCC’s Explorers After School program builds SEL concepts into its curriculum alongside academic support, sports, and creative projects so that kids can learn and grow together in a supportive community.

With a new school year beginning, it’s the perfect opportunity to get your kids involved in something new! For more information about youth programs at the JCC, visit

  • Working with sponsors provides critical support for the work and mission of InsideSchools by helping us to remain a free, independent resource for all New York City families.