Archive for the tag 'parents'

The following is a paid announcement from the MBBC/Nash Jew After School Program (330 Neptune Avenue, 3rd Floor):


MBBC/Nash Jew After School program, located at 330 Neptune Avenue, offers hands-on homework and tutoring help from certified NY teachers and assistants, as well as a slew of excellent programming to grow their world beyond the classroom. With specializations in dance, gymnastics, art, karate and more, we help children become well-rounded individuals.

Our facility also offers music and drama theater, alongside social activities like table tennis and chess. Hot, nutritious lunches are provided to every kid, including soups, fruits, vegetables and juices. We also provide transportation from schools and to homes, a big convenience for working parents.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what one parent had to say about their experience:

MBBC/Nash Jew After School is great in all aspects. My daughter has been attending MBBC’s afterschool program for three years. Besides completing all of her homework in the program, she enjoys personalized attention from teachers and counselors. Every person working in the program greets us with a smile and positive attitude. Every day, they provide kids with different activities: gymnastics, dancing, chess, arts, and after, she can stay for additional training in a program she enjoys most. For my daughter, it’s dancing and gymnastics. All instruction is available in both English and Russian, which allows my daughter to learn Russian language and use it more. Any time I had a problem picking my daughter up, transportation was available. If she felt sick, I was called immediately. I will definitely use MBBC for years to come and recommend it to everyone.

– Natalie Chernikova – mother of Nastya Berard, student

Our programs are designed for students in pre-kindergarten to middle school, and is certified by the New York State Department of Family and Children Services.

Call (718) 891-1111 or visit our website to sign up now!

The above is a paid announcement by MBBC/Nash Jew Afterschool Program. Sheepshead Bites has not verified the claims made in this advertisement. If you own a business and would like to announce a special offer to tens of thousands of locals, e-mail us at advertising [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.

Photo from a previous BBT performance of Nutcracker.

Photo from a previous BBT performance of The Nutcracker.

by Jennifer Szulman

The 27-year-old Brighton Ballet Theater/School of Russian American Ballet (BBT) will be one of only three schools in Brooklyn this winter to perform a version of the classic ballet The Nutcracker, and theirs will offer a distinct telling featuring inspiration from the neighborhood’s various cultures.

Since 1995, BBT has remained the only dance school in Brooklyn to perform The Nutcracker. This year, however, they will be one of three local schools to perform the ballet, and will feature more than 40 young dancers alongside seasoned professionals. Cheographed by Edouard Kouchnarev, the 55-minute-long production draws nuanced inspiration from a Russian Nutcracker-inspired cartoon, and a heartwarming tale of diversity aimed at a young audience.

In this particular version, a young girl similar to Disney’s Cinderella becomes a princess. It is good to simplify an otherwise intricate plot for little children, BBT’s owner said, because they can understand what is happening. Most of the parts are danced by kids and instead of ending in The Land of Sweets, this version finishes in the Land of Cultures, where all the cultures flourish together – not unlike their adopted Southern Brooklyn community.

Founded in 1987, creating the prestigious school took perseverance, drive and the childhood dream of a young dancer.

As an immigrant from the Soviet Union, Irina Roizin aspired to open her own dance school. These dreams came to life when she saw a newspaper advertisement about a small ballet school open on Avenue M. Lessons were held in a quaint living room where three students were trained by a former student of Russian ballet teacher Agrippina Vaganova. At the time, the school had no owner and was funded by the parents of the three students. The teacher and Roizin eventually worked together to create a program for young children. In time, Roizin moved the school to Brighton Beach.

Roizin taught for nearly three decades, growing it to accommodate approximately 400 children per year.

“Our goal is to serve the community,” Roizin said. “Over 27 years, about 15 of our students became professional dancers. We do achieve our goal by bringing up professional dancers but the main thing is to give all children an opportunity to dance professional scale ballet. Even if they’re not going to become dancers, they will take something from this that they can bring to a different profession.”

For those who wish to become masters of the craft, ballet helps dancers develop a skill set used to shape not only themselves physically, but also emotionally and socially.

“This is disciplined, something that gives children an opportunity to be closer to arts, to change their personality, ideas, what music they’ll listen to,” Roizin said. “It’s not too many kids that understand classical music, can be disciplined about themselves, about what they eat. We realize that most of the kids that take ballet for a lot of years do better in school. It’s better attention, social skills and self-esteem. It helps them in a lot of ways.”

Professional dancers are invited to the school for young students to learn from, allowing the children to see what can come from their dedication and hard work.

The non-profit BBT continues to grow its services, recently opening up a pilot program for children with autism, and offers scholarships to students with need.

“We never turn a child away,” Roizon said.

For parents thinking this is just a place to drop their kids off for a play date, though, Roizon points out that she aims to train the best of the best.

“When kids come and parents tell the child, ‘Okay, go have fun!’ I always say, no, you can have fun at the park,” Roizin said. “You don’t have to pay money to have fun. They come here to work and learn something. Maybe this is a little bit of a different approach. The parents who understand stay with us and understand that whatever we do, we do to help parents raise intelligent, educated children. The kids need to understand that it’s fun when they dance and wear costumes and perform, but it’s also hard work.”

BBT will perform The Nutcracker on Saturday, December 21 at 6:30 p.m. The performance will be held at the Leon M. Goldstein Performing Arts Center at Kingsborough Community College, 2001 Oriental Boulevard. For tickets, call (718) 769-9161.


We’re sorry for the late notice on this, but our friends at Coney Island Hospital (2501 Ocean Parkway) are putting on a week-long celebration of breastfeeding, beginning this morning and lasting until Monday.

The events are listed on the flier above. There will be giveaways and raffles, as well as information and registration for the WIC program. Toys ‘R’ Us will provide additional breastfeeding information, and the hospital will be doing tours of the labor and delivery unit as well as the post-partum unit.



Hurricane Sandy has created a miserable month for thousands of Southern Brooklynites. Homes were flooded, cars were destroyed, jobs were lost, and scores are still left without heat and power. While adults everywhere have been reeling from all the damage they have incurred, their children are also paying a heavy emotional price.

According to an article in the New York Daily News, children all across Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Red Hook, living in homes without power, heat, and hot water, have become anxious, depressed, and frightened due to the radical change in their lives, and wondering when or if their misery will end.

Normally when the snow comes, it brings great elation to children everywhere, but not when they have been absent heat or power for over a week with no relief in site.

“I don’t want to live in my house anymore. I am scared. I don’t want to come back. We are literally right by the water,” told Janasia Chambers, 12, to the Daily News, “When it was snowing, it was scary.”

The Daily News cites child psychology experts who describe how fear and depression grow in children deprived of simple things we all take for granted like warm showers, fresh clean clothes, and the ability to play video games.

“The longer this persists, the more of a lasting impact it will have on kids. It will make them more fearful and more anxious,” said Alan Hilfer to the News, “[its like] a prison sentence.”

P.S. 253 in Brighton Beach (Source: Google Maps)

New York City has worked hard to reopen all public schools as quickly as possible since Hurricane Sandy battered them with flooding, blackouts, and damaged heaters and equipment, but progress has finally taken a significant step forward in recent days.

For the first time this week, students were finally able to return to their actual schools, as opposed to the replacement transfer schools located in other districts, and attendance has surged to over 90 percent according to a story by NY1. That is a massive increase for a school like Brighton Beach’s own P.S. 253, for which only 12 percent of students showed up at their temporary location in Flatbush.

Part of the problem with the temporary locations set up by the city was the lack of reliable transportation. Many parents had no access to cars or the subways in the weeks following the storm, and a citywide school bus shortage limited the amount available pickup sites.

Even in areas where the regular schools have not reopened, like for Coney Island’s P.S. 188, a return to normal school bus service yesterday helped the replacement location at P.S. 281 in Bensonhurst receive an 80 percent attendance rate. While bus service has increased, so has the chaos that ensued for parents and children trying to figure out a way to navigate to their new destinations.

“A bunch of kids screaming, a little girl screaming,” said one student to NY1. “It was confusing.”

Crowding, chaos, and confusion aside, the return to normal attendance numbers is an encouraging sign for students of Southern Brooklyn looking for any kind of normalcy.

The Shorefront Y has become the site of one of the city’s largest relief efforts, with National Guard and government agencies teaming up the Y and other local organizations to collect and distribute food, clothing and supplies to Brighton Beach’s residents in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

We just got an e-mail from Shorefront letting us know that a doctor is on-hand at the time of this writing – 12:30 p.m. – treating children who may need medical attention. Many of Brighton Beach’s residents remain without power, heat or hot water, and in such conditions, parent should have their child checked out.

The pediatrician is from Refuah Health Center, and is assisted by a mobile medical truck. They don’t know how long the truck will stay, but they are trying to treat any and all children who come before they leave. They have medicine available and can also write prescriptions.

We received the following e-mail from Eric L.:

I understand that focus is on the hurricane and damage and power right now. Since this is Halloween, I want to give the kids (two little girls, 7 and 3) something to think about besides the light and water for a change and just smiles, so I’m wondering if you know if businesses that are open will be inviting to trick-or-treaters tonight. Alternatively, do you know if there’s a mass consensus to go on a different day, or maybe just go to Kings Highway or somewhere more inland where they were likely less affected.

Eric’s right. At the moment, our entire neighborhood – or at least those in the hard hit areas below Avenue W – are quite focused on the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Many of us won’t even have to dress up – we’re already looking like zombies, milling around the neighborhood stunned at the damage and loss. I’ve seen too many blank stares this week.

So we like Eric’s idea. We might be struggling, but the world goes on, and kids and families in the neighborhood ought to find a little bit of joy as we push through this. Those of you with children, we encourage you to share your plans and invite your neighbors along.

Source: richiebits/Flickr

Our friends over at the South Marine Park branch of TD Bank (2944 Gravesend Neck Road, near Nostrand Avenue and Avenue U) informed us of a fun family event local branches are organizing tomorrow: free pumpkin painting for Halloween.

“Paint a pumpkin and take it with you!” the flier claims. The event – and the pumpkins – are free of charge.

Head to the Gravesend Neck Road branch – or one of the other branches listed below – tomorrow, October 26, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to join the party. This is a rain or shine event.

The local TD Bank branches participating are:

  • South Marine Park - 2944 Gravesend Neck Road
  • Avenue U – 1602 Avenue U
  • Kings Highway – 1122-1126 Kings Highway
  • Midwood – 1104 Avenue J

If you’re a parent of an autistic child and looking for potential play dates, then we have found the group for you.

From their Facebook page, the group “Autism in Sheepshead Bay Brooklyn” hopes to gain more members. Their goal is to set up playgroups for children with autism who live in the area or near it.

By joining the group on Facebook, you’ll get updates on locations were the group will plan to meet.

For more information or if you’re interested and not a Facebook user, contact Arlene at

Halloween is supposed to be scary, but judging from the slew of little critters we received photos of - dogs and kids, alike – it was really of a day to warm the cockles of my brutally dark, cold heart.

View the photos.

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