ARRIVE! has arrived
by Crystal Wolfe
Aug 30, 2018 | 5709 views | 0 0 comments | 120 120 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Pastor Jon Storck (kneeling) with kids at City Camp.
Pastor Jon Storck (kneeling) with kids at City Camp.
Pastor Jon Storck of Grace Fellowship Church in Sunnyside left his position earlier this summer to launch the nonprofit ARRIVE!

The idea for the new venture came from the church's City Camp, a program Storck has run for nine years. Its goal is to provide a safe haven for immigrants in the summer.

“City Camp was continuing to grow, and I wanted to go where my heart was,” said Storck.

City Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, and includes music, art and educational classes, to name a few of the programs that serve close to 150 children between first and fifth grade.

Breakfast, lunch and a snack are provided, and the cost is only $25 per week.

“We've never turned anybody down, we'll take people who show up at the door,” Storck said. “We don't do marketing. We just send out reminders, and 90 percent of participants are kids who are returning to the program.”

A rotating cast of 15 to 20 volunteers from the church and local high schools run the programs, so it always feel new and fresh.

When participants reach the sixth grade, they are invited back as a Junior Counselor. A goal this summer was to have one week of City Camp led entirely by former participants.

Currently, City Camp runs for four weeks during the summer, but Storck would like to see the program extended next year to last the entire time public schools are out of session.

In the fall, ARRIVE! will rent a space to provide after-school tutoring. While the kids are learning, Storck would like to provide jobs skills training for immigrant parents newly arrived to New York City.

“We want this to be a community utilized space,” said Storck. “I don't want ARRIVE! to be involved in the immigration process itself. Rather, I want to present immigrant families with a welcome package of available services, such as lawyers, doctors, and food and clothing pantries. I want to help immigrants in a holistic way.”

Storck is originally from Tennessee, but has called Sunnyside home for over a decade. A long-term goals for the nonprofit is to have its own building with space it can rent out to immigrant entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.

Storck wants immigrants coming to Sunnyside and Queens to be able to say within five to ten years that they didn't just survive the process of immigration and relocation to this country, but that they are thriving and participating members of the community.

His vision for his nonprofit is ultimately to make the dreams of immigrant families come true.

“The idea of the name for the non-profit was inspired by the idea that at the end of a journey, when people become successful, they say they have arrived,” Storck said.

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