Bronx kids find safe place on Randall's Island

RANDALL'S ISLAND - Efforts to keep the borough's children busy and out of harm's way this summer are being helped by the Randall's Island Sports Foundation.

The foundation aims to help kids build self-esteem, foster sportsmanship and give them a place to play. Many of them, such as those who visit from P.S. 50, love the physical activity.

"Sports!" says one camper when asked what he most enjoys.

"We play basketball and golf," answers another.

And they're just a few of the thousands of children who board a bus every week and head to Randall's Island for what foundation officials say is a day of fun, competition - and even some choreography during dance class.

"Whether it's sports or the drama club, they're less likely to get involved in negative activities," says Lou Schlanger, who runs the RIK Island Camp at Randall's Island.

"If you start them at an early age, it becomes a way of life," he says.

Many parents are grateful for the program.

"They keep them busy rather than having them at home," says Yaramarie Vazquez, whose daughter attends the camp. "My daughter comes home happy."

And the fun doesn't stop once the summer ends. The camp plans to run free programs during the rest of the year that are available to children throughout the Bronx.

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