Our Culinary Stars on PBS!

Emmy Award-winning chef Lidia Bastianich cooks with students from The Culinary Arts Program at August Martin High School

Lidia Bastianich Cooks with Our Youth

**New date and time: Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. on WNET, Channel 13, for the New York Metro market. PBS will run the show in most other U.S. cities on Fri., Dec. 20–check the Lidia Celebrates America website for air times in your area.

Renowned chef and Emmy Award-winning television personality Lidia Bastianich cares deeply about immigrants and under-served youth having pathways to bright futures.

On Sunday, December 15, Lidia’s PBS special Lidia Celebrates America will premiere on WNET and will include a segment of Lidia cooking with 12 juniors and seniors of the Culinary Arts Program at August Martin High School (AMHS), an inner-city school in Jamaica, Queens. The five-year innovative partnership between The Child Center and August Martin has brought about a dramatic turnaround in graduation rates from 23% to 74% in four years. 

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Decades of Strength: Annual Manny Fiallo Jr. Men’s Luncheon Honors Far Rockaway Community Advocates, including Our Own Deepmalya Ghosh

Deepmalya Ghosh, The Child Center of NY’s Senior Vice President of External Affairs and Community Engagement, was presented with a City Council proclamation for his tireless efforts to improve the Rockaways at the Manny Fiallo Jr. Men’s Luncheon this past weekend. New York City Council Member Donovan Richards (pictured, right) hosts the annual event, held June 9 at the Rosedale American Legion this year, to celebrate men who have given back to the community in honor of local giant Fiallo whom we lost last May. Continue reading

Afterschool Programs Highlight Hunger and Homelessness

This holiday season, our afterschool programs are encouraging kids to give back. Our programs celebrated the Thanksgiving season by raising awareness about hunger and homelessness.

X Out homelessness
During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (November 15-23), the COMPASS program at P.S. 96 asked for an end to hunger and homelessness, not just in the community but nationwide. Throughout the week, kids watched videos and learned lessons on hunger, homelessness and philanthropy. They collected socks and canned food for a donation drive to help out, and they drew attention to the issue with an “X-OUT Homelessness” campaign. To raise awareness, students placed an “X” made of duct tape on their book bags, shirts or sweaters.

COMPASS program staff set an example of service by volunteering at the Masbia Soup Kitchen in Coney Island. They peeled, chopped and diced, preparing 480 pounds of vegetables that the soup kitchen will turn into delicious soups and dinner plates for the hungry. Continue reading

Fun, Thankfulness and Family Togetherness

pumpkin patch day

During the holiday months, The Child Center’s families come together for events centered around healthy food, fun, and family togetherness. These programs bring the whole family together—not just for arts and crafts and other fun, but also to talk about gratitude and growing closer.

Our programs celebrated National Food Day on October 24, a day focused on inspiring Americans to change their diets and our food policies. We participated in NYC’s Big Apple Crunch, a fun citywide event promoting healthy food. Our Woodside Head Start program joined in the celebration by inviting families to help them crunch their way through healthy, fresh apples.

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A Community Approach to Family Health

The Child Center of NY was pleased to partner with Queens Community House to host a day of health education, fun, raffles, Zumba, and face painting. On November 22, the community came together for A Community Approach to Family Health, a family-focused event sponsored by Advantage Care Physicians.

Community Approach to HealthThe morning started at Parsons Beacon program with registration, tables inviting people to register for The Child Center’s Single Stop program. Congresswoman Grace Meng gave some opening remarks before Monica Corbett, a community leader and Chair of Pomonok Houses Resident Association, spoke to the crowd. Reverend Alfonso Wyatt led the group in a chant that inspired kids and parents to take charge of their health and take care of their bodies.

Advantage Care Physicians led the group in break-out sessions that helped educate people on child development at every stage: Nursery and Elementary School Years, Middle School Years, and High School Years. Continue reading

Joining Russell Simmons, LL Cool J and LIFE Camp in a Campaign for Peace

Joining Russell Simmons and LL Cool J in Campaign for Peace

CEO & Executive DIrector Traci Donnelly (third from left) with Russell Simmons, Erica Ford, and the Peacekeepers

On Thursday, LL Cool J and Russell Simmons launched a new anti-violence program and gave life advice to the youngest inmates of Rikers Island. Traci Donnelly, CEO and Executive Director of The Child Center of NY,  joined Erica Ford, along with other artists and community leaders, for an event that helped youth learn how to control both their physical energy and their minds.

Erica Ford–founder of LIFE Camp, Inc, an organization that prevents youth violence and partners with Russell Simmons’ RushCard “Keep the Peace Initiative”–opened up the event at Robert N. Davoren Center. Erica introduced two former inmates who shared about their lives growing up in South Jamaica, their incarceration, and time in solitary confinement. One broke into tears as he encouraged the teens to realize that jail isn’t who they are–just where they wound up–and that they can make a change.

LL Cool J shared with the teens about his own childhood trauma and success against the odds. As a child, he saw his father shoot his mother and grandmother and was told his mother would never walk again. He encouraged them: Keep striving, have dreams, and don’t get distracted from them. Leave bad influences and old friends behind, surrounding yourself with people who want the same thing you do. Continue reading

Keeping the Peace

Keeping the Peace Middle school can be toxic, especially if bullying goes unchecked. That’s why the young people at our MS 226 Beacon Center launched a widespread effort to make their community feel safe.

Recently the Peace Keepers, as the students call themselves, were featured in an anti-bullying segment on NY1, where they beautifully conveyed their vision of a more peaceful world.  You can see the clip here.

Among other activities, the Peace Keepers created a youth council that studied tolerance, presented anti-bullying messages to the community, and learned techniques for conflict resolution.

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At the Tribeca Film Fest, a Big Debut

IMG_0583“There were three of us at first,” said Beatrice Winston, 18. “We were freshmen, all shy and scared.” The three girls, each struggling with her sexual identity, felt very alone in their new school. But they found courage in each other and decided to start an LGBTQ club. One by one, other teens joined. A social worker at their school agreed to facilitate the club, which
became a safe haven.

When the club had the opportunity to make a short film, through a partnership between The Child Center of NY’s Beacon Center in Far Rockaway and The Tribeca Film Institute, they knew exactly what they wanted it to say. Continue reading

Getting in the Spirit of College

Getting Ready for CollegeBanners, school songs, mascots: Kids at the Beacon Center at MS226 invented all of these to stage a mock “homecoming” recently.

According to site director Angelika Peacock, this is just a small step at getting college into the kids’ psyche.

“Kids in this neighborhood don’t picture themselves at college,” says program director Angelika Peacock. “Most don’t even know anyone who has gone to college. This is just a fun activity. But it’s part of a much bigger effort to get kids thinking seriously about their futures.” Continue reading

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