August Photo of the Month: Ready for Back to School

Our 2023 Backpack Drive gets students ready and excited for their academic journey!

Sean and his sister receive stocked backpacks, courtesy of The Child Center's backpack drive, before they start school and afterschool at P.S. 56 in Richmond Hill, Queens

Sean, the smiling boy you see in this picture, is starting second grade this year at P.S. 56 in Richmond Hill, Queens. He’s also starting his third year at The Child Center of NY’s COMPASS afterschool program. Thanks to the generous supporters of our 2023 Backpack Drive, Sean is prepared and excited for the academic adventures to begin!

The Child Center operates more than 20 afterschool programs, either on site at children’s schools or in community centers close to where they live. All of them provide a meaningful connection to what they learn during the school day. Activities are based on each school’s and community’s needs, as well as students’ interests; however, all our afterschool programs maintain a mix of homework help and menu of enrichment activities in the areas of literacy, STEM, visual arts (Sean’s favorite!), performing arts, sports, health and nutrition, leadership, and community service. A full 100% of our COMPASS programs received a DYCD rating of “Meets Standard” or above during the 2022-2023 school year.

Our P.S. 56 program also has a robust Ready Readers curriculum for second graders like Sean. It’s part of our literacy strategy that works to ensure all our students can read at grade level. This includes our Literacy Leaders sight-word program, which has extraordinary results: By spring, 87 percent of participating students had improved their sight-word skills, and 72 percent were reading at grade level (compared to the participating schools’ average of 49 percent reading at grade level in third grade, the first year of school testing).

Wondering about the girl in the photo? That’s Sean’s sister, who is starting kindergarten and our afterschool program this year with her brother. She’s not so sure what it’s all about yet. But once she begins kindergarten with her stocked backpack and discovers new activities and friends at afterschool, we know her smile will be as big as her brother’s!

As our young scholars head back to the classroom, our backpack drive is still going. Through this annual campaign, funded exclusively by generous supporters, The Child Center provides backpacks filled with grade-appropriate supplies to 4,000 young people in Child Center programs. The goal is to ease the financial burden on struggling families and empower children to focus on their education. Please visit our backpack drive webpage for more information on how you can help children like Sean and his sister start the school year right. Every dollar you donate goes directly toward purchasing fully stocked backpacks, and it takes less than minute.

It’s not too late to spread those smiles!

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