SCOTT BARON’S STAR OF QUEENS
GREATER RIDGEWOOD YOUTH COUNCIL
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
BACKGROUND—Robert Monahan grew up in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. He graduated from the LaSalle Academy and Manhattan College, then returned to LaSalle as a science teacher, educating young men in earth science, physical science and biology. After marrying his wife in 1974, they relocated to Glendale and raised a family of three. They now have six grandsons, with two more on the way.
Monahan took a job at the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council (GRYC) while teaching at LaSalle; both positions wound up being full-time jobs for him. “I would teach at LaSalle, then come out to the youth council and work from 3 to 10 p.m.,” he said. “I did that for a year, then the executive director of the GRYC left, and I was promoted to that position.”
OCCUPATION—Monahan first served as GRYC executive director from 1982 to 1990, then moved on to the Police Athletic League for 10 years. Since returning to the GRYC in 2000, Monahan helped grow the organization into a borough-wide juggernaut. Today, the GRYC—powered by an $8 million annual budget—offers after-school activities, tutoring, internships and other programs at 30 different locations to 2,700 youths across Queens.
“We’re as far out as Rosedale and Bayside and as close as our Ridgewood headquarters, where we have UPK [universal pre-kindergarten],” he said. The organization has been “blessed” to receive support from local elected officials through the years to help grow the GRYC into what it is today.
COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT—Outside of the GRYC, Monahan is primarily involved with the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, a chapter of Kiwanis International, which raises funds for local and global causes aimed at improving the lives of children everywhere. In the past, he served as chair of the Glendale Kiwanis Scholarship Committee, which hands out thousands of dollars in scholarships annually to middle and high school students toward higher education. Monahan is also a member of the Knights of Columbus and previously supported the Ronald McDonald House. He is also involved with Cursillo, a spiritual religious retreat program for young adults.
BIGGEST CHALLENGE—Though grateful for the support that has helped grow the GRYC by leaps and bounds over the last decade, Monahan said the biggest challenge he faces is acquiring even greater funds to serve more youths throughout Queens. “We could probably serve 5,000 kids a day if we had additional funding,” he said. “We have waiting lists everywhere. Our biggest challenge is to be able to service all the kids that need service and their families.”
Help is on the way for the GRYC as the organization—through funds allocated from local officials—aims to open a state-of-the-art youth center next year at the former Garity Post on Fairview Avenue in Ridgewood.
BIGGEST INSPIRATION— “Obviously, my family is my biggest inspiration,” Monahan said. “I try to bring that whole atmosphere to the youth council, so my staff and the accomplishments they achieve every day is over the edge for me. It’s a blast coming to work for me.”
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Monahan, Robert [MC????]
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I believe that Robert is a member of the Class of 1974.
McEneney, Mike (MC1953)
[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated.]
Monahan, Robert [MC1974]
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