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Garden of Dreams presents talent show at Radio City

After a two-year hiatus, the Garden of Dreams Foundation will once again present their annual Talent Show on April 13, hosted at Radio City Music Hall.

In partnership with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports, Garden of Dreams is a nonprofit dedicated to providing young people facing illness or financial challenges with access to educational and skills opportunities, mentoring programs and memorable experiences that enhance their lives, help shape their futures and create lasting joy.

Garden of Dreams recently held a run-through of the upcoming show in the large rehearsal hall, with all the youth performers in attendance.

Various guests made appearances at the event to serve as mentors, including the Radio City Rockettes, Chloe Flower, pianist; Wé McDonald, “The Voice” singer; Papoose, rapper; and Tracy Morgan, comedian.

The talent show will have 23 music and dance performances, with performers ranging from the ages of 6 to 21.

Some past Garden of Dreams performers go on to become mentors for incoming youth talent, including Tyrese Shawn Avery, who performed in the 2019 show and received the Inspire Scholarship to attend NYU for four years.

“Most of my mentees are singers, so I’m just really excited to get to work with them and see what they want to achieve. My day to day with the kids is supporting what they’ve done already and opening up their eyes to what else they can do, and what the right next step is for them,” Avery said.

“Garden of Dreams is here to serve the kids and put a spotlight on them, and that’s why they put on this talent show at Radio City — to remind them that dreams do come true if you continue to work at it,” he continued.

The fourteenth edition of the Garden of Dreams Talent Show takes place on April 13 at 7 p.m.

Tickets are free, but must be reserved at

Performers in the Garden of Dreams Talent Show rehearse at Radio City Music Hall. Photo: Noemad Reid/MSG Entertainment.

Anna Chen, a 10-year-old Queens resident, performs “Sonatina op.36 No.3” on the piano. She has taken weekly piano lessons since age 5.

Wé McDonald and KayCee Arianna perform “The Schuyler Sisters.”

Queen of Peace Athletic Association recovers from fire damage

When Coach Eddie Cordero visited Vleigh Park Field in Kew Garden Hills last month ahead of the start of another baseball season for the Queen of Peace Athletic Association (QOPAA), he was dumbfounded at what he came across.

To his dismay, all of the league’s equipment had been burned and badly damaged inside a metal shed along the third base line of their home field at Judge Moses Weinstein Playground.

Among the damaged and charred outdoor maintenance equipment were three sets of rubber bases, liners and measuring tape, rakes, shovels and more inside the metal cage that has been protecting the equipment for well over four decades.

“I was shocked and upset,” Cordero, the parish athletic representative, said .

Coach Eddie and Melissa Grasso, treasurer of QOPAA, agree that vandalism has been dealt with in the past, but nothing to this extreme.

“It’s kind of sad,” Cordero said. “I’ve had family members playing here since 1983 and I started coaching in 1993.”

With basketball season being delayed due to COVID, baseball season was pushed back as well. Normally, Cordero says he’s preparing for baseball season in early February, but this year’s delay meant that he was simultaneously preparing for playoff basketball games and the start of baseball season on the same weekend.

A GoFundMe was created for donations to be made for the league’s equipment, with over $2,200 collected so far.

Cordero has also received a $2,500 grant from the Walter Kaner Children’s Foundation, a local nonprofit, to go towards league expenses.

With a delayed start –– just like the major leagues –– and now having to purchase new field equipment, Cordero says it’s been a difficult past two seasons of youth baseball.

“Last year, right in the middle of Covid in the springtime was tougher,” he added. “But people are starting to loosen the reins and feel a little more comfortable.”

The Queen of Peace school, formerly teaching grades K-8 in Flushing on 77th Road, closed in 2006. Cordero added that since the school closed some 16-years-ago, it’s been a more difficult task to get kids to sign up for the league.

At its peak, the league had around a dozen teams, some instructional and some travel teams, Cordero says. This year, a total of 6 teams (3 instructional and 3 travel) are part of the league.

Alumni of the league also includes Kyle O’Quinn, a Queens native who went on to play professional basketball for the New York Knicks, and relatives of Jose Alvarado, another NBA player, also participate in the league as coaches and players.

Having moved to the neighborhood in 1978, Cordero has seen three generations of his family compete or coach in the league. The all-volunteer QOPAA is part of the non-denominational Catholic Youth Organization. He says the league revolves around building sportsmanship, and keeping kids active.

A father of six, Cordero says his nieces and nephews all participate in the program.

“I’m still hanging in there because I have a three-year-old granddaughter who I’m hoping to coach when she gets eligible to play.”

To donate to the league, visit

Club of Sharing Hearts joins Queens West Kiwanis

Queens West Kiwanis have officially chartered Kiwanis Club of Sharing Hearts/Queens West to the division.

The club, whose members have been diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities, will be the first of its kind in the history of Kiwanis International.

“The club is excited to be joining such a community minded organization and is ready to give back in a big way,” Carol Verdi, lieutenant governor of the Kiwanis, said. “They will surely follow the Kiwanis motto of helping one child, one community at a time.”

Kevin Facey, president of the new club, and Carol Verdi, lieutenant governor

The ceremony was held at the Hyatt Regency at Resorts World Casino who provided the venue and food for the luncheon for free, and Kiwanis members from throughout Queens came to show their support.

All of the new members received their pins, and President Kevin Facey, Treasurer Larry Ottley, and Secretary Michael Cyrus were recognized.

The other members of Kiwanis Club of Sharing Hearts/Queens West include: Sofia Ghale, Marilyn Barros, Michael Jones, Brianne Sheridan, Manuel Hazoury, Mariam Abdallah, Mathew Koshi, James Cutright, Joanna Norris-Boyd, Dowlat Sukhram, Paula Samaroo, Aletha Capers, Nicholas Palmeri, Feliz Cruz, Camille Tyson, David Rumeo, James August, Marc Posey, Raymond Deleon and Adviel Osario.

“I am very excited to be part of this club,” Michael Cyrus said. “I can’t wait to work on the different activities coming up and help the community.”
At the event, the new club brought their first initiative to life by selling handmade blue and yellow bracelets in honor of Ukraine. All proceeds from the sales will go to relief for Ukrainian refugees.

Donations raised from last week’s event totaled over $700.

“Kiwanis membership equals service to our communities, and especially the children. Membership is our fuel to help those who are less fortunate than ourselves,” New York Kiwanis Governor James Mancuso said in a statement.

“Thank you to all the chartered members of Sharing Hearts,” he continued. “You have done something great by joining Kiwanis; there is no more of a noble cause than putting others before yourself.”

Joanna Norris- Boyd, Camille Tyson and Paula Samaroo performed a song and dance number at the event.

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