A year ago, The Child Center of NY launched “Dreams Take Flight,” a public awareness campaign to encourage kids and adults to let their dreams soar — literally!
The initiative was introduced to create awareness of The Child Center’s multifaceted, innovative work by taking what some might consider a mere time-passing activity — making a paper airplane — and turning it into a learning and sharing opportunity.
In early November 2016, we brought together students from August Martin High School and younger students from PS 182, Samantha Smith Elementary School for an afterschool Project-Based Lesson (PBL), in which the high schoolers mentored the younger children in an introductory lesson on Aviation Studies. Supervised by service learning and other staff, groups of three created paper airplanes, discussing key elements in flight, such as weight, lift, drag, and thrust. They then wrote dreams, aspirations, or empowering statements upon, and then they launched them.
We encouraged students and faculty at other schools to create their own, similar lesson plans, as well as individual children and adults of all ages to make a paper airplane, write their dreams on it, and take a picture before launch. We asked everybody to share their photos or videos with us via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, utilizing the hashtag #DreamsTakeFlight — and many of you did! (Keep those pictures coming!)
Giving Tuesday 2017 was the perfect day to revisit the Dreams Take Flight initiative and proudly showcase The Child Center’s commitment to providing evidence-based, innovative programs that engage children with school and help them become secure, capable, and confident.
On November 28, we once again invited a group of students to August Martin — the only high school in New York where you can get a flight certificate before you get a drivers’ license! — to experience flight simulators in action.
Joined by August Martin aviation students, instructor Mr. Black demonstrated the flight simulators to middle schoolers from MS 82. Then, one by one, the students got to try out the simulators for themselves. There was spontaneous applause after the first student landed his plane successfully.
“At The Child Center of NY, we strive every day to help children and families with wraparound, ‘whole child’ services — and we’ve been doing so for over 60 years,” said CEO Traci Donnelly at the Dreams Take Flight launch in November 2016. “Dreams Take Flight reintroduces us to the public at a moment in time when we are particularly poised to accomplish even more by reaching even more children — and helping their dreams to soar.” Since last year, The Child Center went from being able to serve 21,000 children and families to serving 26,000. This increase shows that there are ever more kids who need us.
To learn more about our “whole child” approach, please take a moment to read “Kevin’s Story,” the focus of The Child Center’s 2017 annual appeal. Kevin’s success is a testament to the power of perseverance when kids get the tools they need to realize dreams they didn’t even know they had.
By the time he was 16, dropping out of school seemed inevitable — Kevin barely had enough credits for freshman standing. That’s when his guidance counselor referred him to The Child Center’s school-based mental health clinic, called a “healthfulness center” at his school. With a partnership that included Kevin’s therapist, Jennifer, his guidance counselor and teachers, and Kevin himself — easier to create when they are all in one place! — Kevin graduated on time and is now attending college. That’s something he never thought possible for himself before he started therapy.
Thanks to generous support, The Child Center was able to remove hurdles and create level playing fields for 600 kids like Kevin, who got the help they needed at our school-based healthfulness and wellness centers.
We at The Child Center of NY believe that positive relationships are essential to healthy development. Our programs help families love and support each other, work through trauma, and connect to warm, caring people who can help them build on their assets.
Our dedicated staff speak over 22 languages and are deeply familiar with the challenges our clients face. No other agency in Queens provides the comprehensive range of services that we do, nor our level of multicultural expertise. In this way we nurture children, strengthen families, and empower young people to make good decisions throughout their lives.
We never want to turn any child away, but we need your help. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to The Child Center of NY this December, and give kids like Kevin the promising start all children deserve.