Three cheers for the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF), whose members visited our Ficalora Family Foundation Head Start Center to read to our preschoolers and engage in fun activities together. They also brought along one of the children’s favorite furry monsters: Elmo! You can see the excitement on the children’s faces — and the adults’.
Last Tuesday, third-grader Tania couldn’t stop smiling — or dancing or building or engineering. That’s because it was the day of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)’s first city-wide Bring Your Dad to Afterschool celebration — and The Child Center’s COMPASS afterschool program at P.S. 89 in Elmhurst, where Tania is a daily participant, was selected by DYCD as a model site to implement the event.
It was the first time Tania got to show her dad what afterschool, where she spends 15 hours a week, is really like. “I was happy my Papi was with me because I love him so much,” Tania said. “We danced and made a little robot car.”
For years, schools across New York State have participated in the national Dads Take Your Children to School Day, but as children like Tania can tell you, afterschool is as much a part of their daily life as the regular school day is. It’s where children receive quality homework help, build friendships, interact with relatable role models, and engage in enrichment activities (like STEM or performing arts) that encourage their strengths.
Karina suffers from a disability and was having trouble with her SNAP (“food stamp”) benefits. Our staff at HALE, where her son is a client, referred her to our Single Stop program. Case Manager Yessenia Robles advocated on Karina’s behalf and was able to get her benefits reinstated immediately.
Single Stop provides free counseling on entitlements, health insurance, finance management, and legal services to clients of all ages who are facing various challenges. We are grateful to be able to provide this service to the community!
When Rosalba, mom to 11-month-old Isaias, learned about The Child Center’s Early Head Start program in Astoria, she worried her son wouldn’t be eligible because he has Down syndrome. Home Visitor Alondra Santiago assured Rosalba that we work with all kinds of families and are here as a program to support her. With excitement, Rosalba enrolled Isaias immediately. One of their goals: to strengthen Isaias’ oral-motor skills while helping him build connections between the right and left sides of the brain so that he can blow out the candles on his first birthday cake. In this photo, Alondra perfectly captures the strong bond and happiness in this family.
Tuesday was a special day at Corona Head Start/EarlyLearn: It was Dads Take Your Child to School Day! A record-breaking 131 dads and other male role models participated in the event — much to the joy of 4-year-old Ximena, who had a blast painting a green elephant with her Papi.
Our school-age children had their own Dads Take Your Child to School Day fun. Stay tuned!
Third graders Na’Mya, Camilla, Alia, and Kimberlee were excited to see this Monopoly-themed photo frame on their first day at the afterschool COMPASS program at P.S. 273 in Richmond Hill. The students had played different versions of Monopoly throughout The Child Center’s summer program and immediately wanted to take a picture.
When Hasan Davis, former Commissioner of Juvenile Justice for Kentucky and Annie E. Casey Foundation Fellow, was in third grade, he flipped through his social studies textbook and came across its sole image of an African American. It was a photo of a beaten, elderly man, and the caption read, “American Negro slave.”
“I had been looking for that story of me, as an African American,” Davis says. “When I saw that photo, I thought, ‘This is all there is to my story.’”
Davis credits his mother with teaching him stories about black people’s contributions to this country, and to society at large, that changed his perception. But he never wants children of color to feel the way he did flipping through that textbook, so he’s made it his life’s work to get stories of African American contributions into the hands of young people. Most recently, he’s done that by writing the children’s book The Journey of York: The Unsung Hero of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The book tells the story of the slave who not only accompanied Lewis and Clark on their famed journey, but also was a pivotal partner who contributed greatly to its success—a fact that most people still don’t know. Davis has been making that story come to life through a one-man show at schools around the country. On April 17, Davis brought his show to The Child Center of NY’s P.S. 223 COMPASS (afterschool) program. The show included a powerful reenactment by Davis, followed by an equally powerful dialogue with the children related to race, slavery, and history.
September is synonymous with “back to school,” but in the 4-year-old class at our Escalera Head Start, Lead Teacher Katherine Beltran and Assistant Teacher Saptashikha Chowdhury have been actively preparing their students for September since June. That’s because all of their students will be entering kindergarten this fall.
It’s a big transition, Ms. Katherine notes, and the children may have a lot of apprehensions about being in a new school with new teachers, classmates, routines, and expectations.
Ms. Katherine and her staff began by introducing the children to one of the classic stories of metamorphosis — that of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly — but with a twist: They had the students act out the transformation themselves, starting by scrunching up into a ball to represent the egg, wiggling like a caterpillar, crouching down to mimic the chrysalis stage, and culminating in the butterfly yoga pose, which the children had already learned.
In 2016, The Child Center of NY launched its #DreamsTakeFlight campaign, encouraging children to let their dreams soar. This summer, JetBlue has joined us to help our kids rise to a new level in a different way with its Soar with Reading (SWR) campaign.
SWR is an initiative that places thoughtfully designed vending machines that dispense brand-new, free books for kids ages Pre-K–14 in under-resourced communities. Children are allowed to take as many books as they are interested in so that they can continue learning and reading during the summer and begin their own home library.