Teaching our Children
Preparing our Youth
Honoring our Elders
It is known that children learn best through experiences which interest them and in which the media used are exciting and alive. Funders of music and arts programs take pride in the fact that reading, math, and other academic skills improve when arts and sports programs are a part of an overall curriculum. It is our belief that this same emphasis can foster greater interest in the child who is a part of our after-school program and who is unfortunate enough to be enrolled in a school where such programs have been terminated for financial reasons.
Plan: Artists, newsmakers, and athletes partner with the Center to tap into the innate potential of children. They make scheduled visits. Through the medium of music, dance, sports and current events; they spend time talking, singing, teaching, reading, and playing with the children. Some of the participants in this program are: Dr. Adelaide Sanford, the former New York State Regent ; Iyanla Vanzant; a writer; Bruce Ratner, real estate developer; Senator Eric Adams, a legislator; Harry Belafonte and Ruby Dee, artists; Dr. Ian Smith, a newscaster; Susan L. Taylor, the National Cares Mentoring Founder and former Communications Executive; and, newsmakers, including Hon. David Dinkins, Jesse Jackson, Rev. Alfred Sharpton, and Rev. Herbert Daughtry, among others. This program serves as a model which can be emulated throughout the City and is one which foundations will have continual interest in funding.
With the rise in incarceration, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS in the communities we serve, many grandparents are finding themselves raising their grandchildren. In addition, it has been documented that when those who are in the sunset years of life and those who are in their youthful years are linked together, there are tremendous benefits which accrue to both groups. In this program, older adults have the opportunity to make a meaningful and structured contribution to young members of the community. They feel invigorated, useful, and valued when given the opportunity to share their skills and their life experiences with others. The children in the program see older adults make a positive contribution to their daily life and begin to value them as productive members of society and not as appendages or burdens. As an added bonus, the engaged youth, while learning valuable skill sets (i.e. pottery making, crocheting and photography, etc.) gain an appreciation for their elders and their contributions to the world in which we live.
Plan: The active participation of these caregivers in the life of the Center is sought. The Center recruits grandparents of enrolled children as well as older adults from senior citizen programs and churches. Participants volunteer for the number of hours they can provide. The time spent at the Center will be utilized in the classroom assisting the teaching staff, as well as other areas of the center, i.e. kitchen, playground. In addition to other programs held during Puerto Rican and African American History Month and holiday celebrations such as Kwaanza, an Annual Grand Parent Day is held to which all grandparents, who may not be involved in the intergenerational initiative as well as enlisted senior citizen groups are invited.