Preparing Kids for School in NYC’s Poorest Neighborhood

Posted on August 27, 2018 by Catholic Charities Admin  |  Share

Firsthand Look at How a Community Can Overcome Poverty

To prepare children in struggling communities we serve for school, Catholic Charities NY launches back-to-school events from Staten Island all the way up to Sullivan County and on both sides of the Hudson River. More than a backpack and school supply give away, these events are staged like street fairs filled with fun, social service advice and community spirit.  Here is an inside look at what makes these events special.

By Elba Deleon Lopez

Catholic Charities NY Benefit Specialist

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can you use to change the world.” 

Nelson Mandela

There’s no greater gift than giving back to the community that you serve and for me, the Back-to-School Catholic Charities cohosted in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx where I work was particularly special.

Here in Hunts Point, with the unfortunate distinction as the poorest neighborhood in the Bronx and most at-risk community in New York City for children:

This is why we at Catholic Charities NY not only gave away school supplies at the event we hosted on August 10, 2018 but threw an all-out neighborhood party. Together we helped make our community better, stronger and more unified. We came together as one, with our local Councilmember Rafael Salamanca Jr. and the NYPD 41st Precinct.

“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is a progress; working together is a success”

Henry Ford

The bottom-line purpose of our back-to-school event was to give back to underprivileged children who are in need of school supplies. Over 2,000 book bags filled with supplies were distributed among toys, books and clothing. NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neal and Council member Rafael Salamanca Jr. gave out the book bags. Seeing the joy in the children’s faces brought back happiness to our community and to all of us at Catholic Charities NY.

Some key Back-to-School event staff:  L-R: Elba Deleon Lopez, Ivelisse Ferreira & Jasmine Sanchez

Catholic Charities is very grateful to have received many donations from IAHD, a Bronx organization that serves children with developmental disability and their families.  A particularly well received donation from them was a bicycle we raffled off at the event. Coca Cola Corp. donated NY METS tickets.  The Coalition for the Homeless donated 200 book bags with school supplies to give to children at the event.  Good Plus Foundation donated toys.

We had many other organizations attend and provided free resources such as YMCA, Girls Scouts, NYC Thrive, The Human Resources Administration, the HUB and the NYC Fire Department

The children had an amazing time enjoying from the many activities we had available. We had two ice cream trucks that gave out free ice cream, an interactive Game theater, a DJ, three bouncy houses, dance group and face painters.

No event is successful without the support of the staff. We want to thank everyone for their tremendous effort and participation in making our Back to school event a success.

To those who wonder what next year’s event will hold, there is a saying “The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment."

Thank you to all.

“When you're surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”

Howard Schultz

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