Let me start by addressing the criticism GA will inevitably get for this.

No, this isn't an attack on HoLa Charter School.  Its the story of  a program designed for aggressive expansion (2 classrooms per year plus ancillary spaces to accommodate growth) moving into the home of a 501(c)3 for needy Hoboken children, The Boys and Girls Cub.

And who ends up getting the shaft.

Here's who The Boys and Girls Club serves:
The key word is need.  These kids are needy.

Most are left to their own devices because their parents are either working or unable to care for them. The B&G Club provides everything for them from meals to mentoring.  Or it did.

Club programs and services promote and enhance the development of boys and girls by instilling a sense of competence, usefulness, belonging and influence.
Influence.  Savor the irony.

The Club's mission-- to instill a sense of "usefulness, belonging and influence"-- is being undermined daily by an incremental reduction in services, the quality of services, and even ousting from their own facility.  While some can be attributed to losses in federal and state funding when the economy tanked,  B&G's limited resources- including its space- have been steadily encroached upon and some taken over completely by HoLa, another 501(c)3.

I'm told B&G staff are afraid to come forward, to speak out. Afraid they'll lose their jobs. 

And nobody else is talking about it. Anyone who does is slapped down as hostile to HoLa.

Well, GA is telling you that's BS.

HoLa's a great addition to the Charter school community.  I support HoLa as a Charter school option.  It doesn't really matter who is pushing out the B&G, a school or a business, the issue here is that they ARE being  pushed out and their vital services eroded.

GA wants folks to know what's going on.  I'd heard rumors about it for awhile.

But yesterday a reader- a local mom whose kids had belonged to the B&G and who retains friends there- wrote this:

Regarding the B&G club - I cannot substantiate these items myself, but I was told by (name redacted) and mostly (name redacted) (a  lead counselor with the B&G Club) that this has been going on:

  • No more hot meals (or any meals) for the B&G club kids in the afternoons.
  • No more access to the stove/oven - the Hola kids use it in a cooking class.
  • The B&G kids dance class was bumped uptown to the high school claiming they were running out of room.  Truth is that they made an Hola classroom out of the dance room.  Carmelo (Garcia) said that the dance group grew out of the room.  Oh yea?!!  Then move them to the gym - don't move them out of the neighborhood.  
  • The Hola kids use up the classrooms in the afternoon and the B&G club kids are crowded in together in one room - from kindergarten - older grades because there's no room for them. Hola was very reluctant to give up another room for them.  
It's sad.  I've met some of the B&G club parents.  Some are unable to care for their kids or are so busy.  One of them has 5 kids and she's a nurses aid.

Where is Timmy Occhipinti, 4th Ward Champion of the Water-filled Bucket?

Or Scott Delea, on their Board of Directors?

How about someone giving the Boys and Girls Club kids some attention?


  1. Last Thanksgiving, when I was organizing the annual Family & Friends Thanksgiving Buffet Dinner at the Multi-Service Center and the 411 Marshall Community Room, fund-raising had fallen significantly short, which meant I had to lay out over $2,000 of my own money and hope to make it up on the back end.

    Mr. Occhipinti showed up at the 411 Marshall venue, so I suggested to him, as the newly elected councilman of the ward whose support had drawn heavily from the neighborhood's neediest residents, it would be a highly appreciated gesture if he were to donate $50 to $100, and that I would personally publicize my thanks to him for working together with people of differing political stripes for the good of the community we both serve.

    Tim told me he'd "have to get back to" me on that, and that he already had "too many people digging into [his] pocket." Yet he made sure to hang around the event for a while to take advantage of the photo op.

    I am not going to go channel Kanye West and make a blanket declaration that Tim Occhipinti does not care about the underprivileged, but his conduct in this instance, as the new councilman purporting to serve the city's neediest residents, and at the start of the holiday season, no less, told me an awful lot. As does the content of this article. Grandstanding on the opening date of the pool when there's an election coming up is the low-hanging fruit of the Low-Income-Pandering Politician's Playbook. But showing up for an activity funded entirely by private donations, through which needy residents, in some cases seniors with nowhere else to go for Thanksgiving, get a full cooked, catered meal, to smile for the cameras while spitting in the hat being passed, as the newly elected representative, no less, is pretty telling, in my opinion.

  2. HoLa-tta Hoboken politics-as-usual. Yet again. And this time, children in need are the ones who suffer. Despicable. "Sick & wrong" is an apt mantra for this, not to mention lots of other things in the Mile Square dystopia.

    Interesting, but not surprising back-drop, via Jake Stuiver. And his analogy raises a thought---why not ask Kanye West to make a donation? He does lives in town, after all.

    Or put Pupie on the philanthropic hot-seat. I recall he was a HoLa-dancer, correct? The cost of just the paper goods for his annual public birthday bash would probably help the Boys & Girls Club significantly. The least he could do....

    One rule of thumb for any npo Board member:
    "Give, Get, or Get Off."

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this, Jake. And for your generosity to Hoboken's needy residents and seniors.

    You're a mensch.

    Your anecdote tells all one needs to know about Occhipinti's true character and motives. As symbolic as the campaign photo-op garden he and his Hoboken Volunteers planted at the B&G club last year. (If you wish to contact Tim's flowers today you'll need an Ouija board)

    Since posting this GA's gotten more information on the displacement of the B&G Club. Which I'll post separately.

  4. In light of the hand-wringing over the $25 rec fee (which parents can quietly opt out of and still let their kids play as many sports as they choose), should we expect the same people to man the barricades to ensure that at risk children aren't cheated out of their rights to safe, supervised recreation?

    Does the community not have a vested interest in making sure the Boys and Girls Club is not getting shouldered out of its own facilities and curtailing its mandate accordingly?

    Here's a good quote: "In my mind, elected officials are responsible for providing adequate services to the community, as well as making sound financial decisions to support those services. Unfortunately, once again, neither one of these seem to have been accomplished." - Tim Occhipinti

    What's the matter, Mr Occhipinti? The children are no longer politically useful to you? Something other than the garden is greener elsewhere?

    And another: "Mayor Zimmer says our city is in such dire financial straits we must charge Hoboken’s children to participate in recreation programs." -Beth Mason

    Ms Mason, should the children of the Boys and Girls Club be charged to continue using the Boys and Girls Club?

  5. If state and federal funding dried up for the Boys and Girls Club programs, THAT is the fundraising effort that we should be involved in, not the build-out of classroom space for a school that is merely a tenant. If this scandal is what I think it is, once more, the most vulnerable population - impoverished children - have been marginalized and exploited. That plainly sucks in any language.
    Usted está mal y lo sabes!

    And why did we as a city decide to disband the programs at the Boys and Girls Club? Who's decision was this? And why is HoLa more deserving of the below-market space than any other charter school - since they've all scrambled for space - or business for that matter? And please, please, tell me, tell US, Carmelo's children ARE NOT enrolled are they?


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