The Children's Aid Blog

The Children’s Aid Society: Helping Consumers Get a Hold of Their Credit

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image016Most of us use credit as an ordinary part of our financial life; however, excessive credit use can cause turmoil for every family which means it is critical to understand how credit works and impacts our lives. With the hidden fees and expenses in the fine print, borrowing money can be a complicated process, negatively impacting your Credit Rating.

The Children’s Aid Society knows how difficult it is to manage your credit which is why we have made this an important part of our advocacy effort. Understanding credit is the first step in attaining financial freedom and flexibility.

According to the Federal Reserve, levels of consumer credit debt in the United States have grown steadily over the last several years. Many consumers are drowning in debt, and many credit cards companies are raising fees, responding to record defaults and new regulations for 2010. Interest rates and fees are impacting a record number of consumers. By providing information to help understand their credit history, Children’s Aid encourages families to earn about important topics such as:

  • Do’s and Don’ts of Plastic
  • Getting a Copy of Your Credit Report
  • Forms of Credit
  • Interest Rates and Charges
  • Over-Extended or Out-of Control Credit

With the financial education provided by Children’s Aid, families can get the information and assistance needed to understand these credit issues that impact their future solvency. With in-depth information and advocacy publications, in both English and Spanish, individuals and families learn to build a stronger future!

East Harlem Head Start Program Proudly Marches in the Three Kings Parade!

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For the fourth year in a row, the East Harlem Head Start program proudly marched in the city’s Three King’s Parade.

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The event, while always a chilly one, is a favorite among the children and families. The parade, coordinated by El Museo del Barrio, has everything  needed to celebrate the special holiday: music, floats, special honorary kings, and even camels!

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The Head Start families did a lot to prepare for the big day. Parents and children created crowns to wear and designed signs to carry. image006 The teachers read books about the day’s traditions. A representative from El Museo even came to the Center to give a presentation on the history of Three Kings Day. image008 As always, it was an honor for everyone to participate in such a special community event.

A Head Start on TV Careers, With the Garden as a Lab

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Moses McRae and Jazmyn Benjamin, both 15, were at Madison Square Garden, where workers, officials and athletes served as interview subjects and mentors to the students.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story, written by Vincent M. Mallozzi, about Moses McRae and Jazmyn Benjamin and their recent opportunity to interview workers, officials and athletes at Madison Square Garden. Below is an excerpt from the original article.

Last month at Madison Square Garden, Moses McRae, 15, conducted an interview with Danilo Gallinari of the Knicks:

“Who do you think are the toughest opponents in the league?” Moses asked Mr. Gallinari, a 6-foot-10-inch forward, shortly before a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

“There are many tough opponents,” Mr. Gallinari said. “But I would have to say that Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are two of the toughest.”

Moses, a sophomore at the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan, is studying television production — but not in high school. He is one of 10 children from low-income communities who are taking part in Hope Leadership Academy, which is run by the Children’s Aid Society, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund.

“My interview strategy was to memorize as many questions as possible and to write some key words down on paper to help me remember questions I might have forgotten to ask,” Moses said after the interview, which he conducted along with Jessica Gooden, 15, a student at Frederick Douglass Academy II in Harlem, where she lives.

Since 2007, Hope Leadership Academy has worked with the Garden of Dreams Foundation to form the MSG Classroom program, which teaches children about jobs in television, including announcing, producing, directing and creating graphics.

The students use Madison Square Garden as their laboratory, and Garden employees and officials, as well as athletes — from the Knicks, the Rangers, the Liberty, MSG Entertainment and the music channel Fuse — serve as interview subjects and mentors.

“This has been an extremely successful partnership,” said Michael Roberts, assistant division director for adolescent services at the Children’s Aid Society. “This is a very unique program, because it is not just about giving something to a child to help out in an immediate crisis, but these are real-world skills these children are learning, skills that will help them find jobs in the future.”

Read full article…

To learn how you can make a difference, please link over to The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund or contact:

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund
230 West 41st Street
Suite 1300
New York, NY 10036
(800) 381-0075

Photo courtesy of Earl Wilson for The New York Times

Children’s Aid Early Childhood Department gets Ooey Gooey with a Workshop that Refreshes and Invigorates Children’s Aid teachers!

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On Monday January 4th, The Children’s Aid Society’s Early Childhood department sponsored an all-day division-wide professional development workshop for its teachers to kick off the 2010 year. Lisa Murphy, better known as the Ooey Gooey Lady, came to The Philip Coltoff Center at Greenwich Village to talk to a group of over 120 CAS early childhood educators from across 10 centers about strategies for incorporating science and mathematics into their curriculum.

Her workshop titled Fizzle, Bubble Pop & Wow, provided ideas for simple science experiments for young children. For example, teachers learned how to create mini-explosions and different materials using everyday household ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. Teachers came away from the workshop refreshed and invigorated for the New Year.

Many thanks to Ooey Gooey for joining us!

Margaret Caspe, The Children’s Aid Society in New York

Engineers distribute toys for Three Kings Day in East Harlem

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Photo Courtesy of Ben RussellOn Wednesday, January 6th, the Hispanic community celebrated Three Kings Day. No one who takes this celebration more seriously than the children and families at The Children’s Aid Society’s East Harlem Center.

Seventy-five children and their families took part in the evening of dinner, dancing and art. Keeping with the theme of the day, children decorated crowns with glitter and jewels. Since camels were the preferred method of transportation for the three wise men, many in attendance constructed and decorated paper camels.

The highlight of the evening came when toys were given to the children by the New York Chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Ten members, including the Chapter’s President Edward Montenegro (pictured), joined the evening's festivities and, thanks to the toys, quickly became the most popular people in the room. Almost as soon as the gifts were in the children’s hands, the engineers were fast at work helping the little ones assemble their new toys. Everyone had a wonderful time; A future engineer may have been born that evening too!

Lifting a Girl and Her Ailing Grandmother

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The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund recently featured this Children’s Aid story about Maria Cruz de Leon and how Children’s Aid helped improve her reading. Below is an excerpt from the original article by Daniel Slotnik.

The speakers behind the green sofa and love seat in the sunny living room of Rosa Cruz’s Washington Heights apartment were silent as Ms. Cruz’s 10-year-old granddaughter, Maria Cruz de Leon, shyly danced.

Maria said she loved dancing and singing, but she liked dancing more because “when I’m dancing, I just feel like I’m alone and everybody’s watching me.”

She said she had learned many of her steps at Alvin Ailey Dance Camp, a Children’s Aid Society summer camp that taught her “jazz, hip-hop, a lot of things I can’t even remember.”

Ms. Cruz beamed at Maria’s footwork, her smile belying the tough times they had shared.

Read more…

To learn how you can make a difference for this family and many others, please link over to The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund or contact:

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund
230 West 41st Street
Suite 1300
New York, NY 10036
(800) 381-0075

Photo courtesy of Chester Higgins Jr. for The New York Times

Get Fit For Life with Kelsey Stevens at The Children's Aid Society's Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem

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Sports & Fitness for the whole family is available year round at The Children's Aid Society's Dunlevy Milbank Center in Harlem. There is something for everyone: female focused fitness and basketball programs and an inter-generational program that brings in children and their family members regardless of age. Want to manage some of the biggest names in Sports? Learn how the Sport Management program at Dunlevy Milbank is preparing its teens for such an exciting career.

Report on Childhood Obesity – Planning for a Healthier Tomorrow

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mapChildhood obesity is a serious health condition affecting over one-third of American children, from state to state.  A recent national report, “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America 2009,” released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), issued a list of health reform recommendations to combat obesity. It emphasizes the importance of preventative medical care, such as nutrition counseling and screening for obesity-related illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. The Report also recommends increasing the number of programs available in communities and schools that make nutritional food readily available and affordable to children and their families.

According to the RWJF Report, the fight against child obesity cannot make a  nationwide impact without a concerted, national strategy implemented at the federal, state and municipal levels in collaboration with businesses, schools, and communities.

In another report, School Meals: Building Blocks for Healthy Children,” the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends that standards be set by the USDA for nutritious menu planning in schools, where fruit, vegetable and grains would pre-dominate, and sodium and saturated fats would be significantly reduced. The following quote is from Stefania Patinella, Director of Nutrition, The Children’s Aid Society:

The Children’s Aid Society applauds RWJF and the IOM for bringing attention to arguably the most urgent health issue facing our nation’s children. In 2003, Children’s Aid launched the Go!Healthy initiative to educate children and families about wellness and the joys of healthful cooking and eating.  Go Healthy includes: Go! Kids, a toddler food and fitness program; Go! Chefs, a hands-on cooking and nutrition education program for children and families; and Healthy Meals, our foodservice program that feeds approximately 1,500 children each day in the early childhood, after-school and teen programs. The Children’s Aid Healthy Meals program adheres to and exceeds the IMO recommendations. Children’s meals are made entirely from scratch from original recipes that are based on whole and fresh foods, especially fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Healthy Meals constitutes a profound change to the heat-and-serve model of foodservice, and to implement it successfully we developed a Cook’s Training program to educate cooks in healthful food preparation and basic nutrition. The program has made a profound impact across our community centers—not only in increasing the nutrients and taste of foods we serve, but in broadening the palates and eating behaviors of children, teachers and parents. As districts around the country turn their attention to better school food, Children’s Aid is leading the equally important effort to provide better food in early childhood programs (where children consume up to 80% of their daily calories) and after-school programs.

Teamwork: The Children’s Aid Society and The Boys and Girls Clubs of America

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flag footballIt takes a huge commitment of resources and teamwork to serve the needs of underprivileged Youths of New York City. We have seen on this blog how The Children’s Aid Society collaborates with hundreds of partners and thousands of volunteers to provide help in the daily lives of under-privileged children. Among these partners is the venerable Boys & Girls Clubs of America. In fact, Children’s Aid is a founding member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA).

The BGCA, like Children’s Aid, is dedicated to serving the needs of kids every day - encouraging young people to complete their homework, play sports, enter an art competition or eat a healthier snack. The BGCA serves boys and girls in thousands of  locations, many in partnership with Children’s Aid.

martial arts In fact, virtually every Children’s Aid Community after-school program site, operating under Children’s Aid community schools and centers, functions as a Boys & Girls Club. These programs serve children in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx.

Other examples of this historic partnership: Children’s Aid and the BGCA of New York engaged in partnership with Morgan Stanley to provide 83,500 meals and 66,000 snacks to children just last summer. And, along with our after-school programs, weekend and holiday programs also are offered at our community centers and schools, using BGCA curricula.

We can all be partners of The Children’s Aid Society - your donation, no matter how big or small, multiplied by others' commitment, can make a difference in a child's life that will last for a lifetime! To learn more, visit us here.

Business of Giving: Follow IBM’s Lead

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As the economy slowly resuscitates, companies might use a slow rebound as an excuse to ignore their social responsibilities. But I ask you to take a lesson from IBM, and not, as the company says, “retreat into our shells,” but rather, “go on the offense.”

“Although some companies are reacting to the present crisis by hunkering down and hoping to ride out the storm, from both a business and a societal standpoint, we are taking a different approach,” writes IBM Chairman and CEO Samuel J. Palmisano in the company’s 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. “We believe that the issues facing the world are too critical and far too urgent -- and the opportunities to make meaningful progress on them too immediate -- not to act now.” |

For this reason IBM pledged itself to:

  • Aiding victims of natural disasters with its “disaster relief in a box” Web-based management system.
  • Addressing food shortages by helping compute genetic data that can be used to generate stronger strains of rice.
  • Using technology to improve educational opportunities for 700 schools in 22 countries.

To read the full article, link here

C. Warren Moses, Former CEO