Today’s news:

Big-hearted local opens free gym for kids

Help Our Neighborhood Kids (HONK) just opened in Sheepshead Bay as a center for children looking for fun activities after school.

The center is open to boys and girls ages nine to 21.

Billed as “a second home for our kids,” HONK offers children a place to hang out, make friends and play sports. Kids can compete in games of pool, ping pong, chess, scrabble, two-hand-touch football, volleyball, soccer, softball and stickball.

Every Friday night is a tournament night during which children will compete in their favorite sports.

On Saturday mornings, there’s rap sessions for children to express their feelings and discuss their lives.

Once a month, there will be special events like a dance night, comedy night, “spit a rap” night, and “sing a song” night. These events will be held on Saturdays.

HONK is a non-profit organization and hopes to receive enough donations from community residents and politicians to forgo asking parents to pay tuition for their children to attend. But since the center just opened and is still getting its footing, parents are being asked to provide $120 per child per month. However, no child will be turned away because of an inability to pay, according to Ray Fiore, who founded HONK with his sister, Brenda.

Fiore is a former boxer who operates a boxing club on Quentin Road off East 34th Street. He’ll use his skills to teach kids how to box at HONK.

The goal of the center is to provide children with positive experiences that will keep them away from drugs, alcohol and other choices that could be detrimental to their young lives.

“I want to help kids. I know there are some kids out there that are looking for some place to go,” Fiore explained.

HONK is located at 2464 East 17th Street between Avenues X and Y. To join the center, contact 347-439-2397 or 718-627-3841.

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