Spring has sprung!! And we’ve been busy bees here at Carver Center! Our Spring Newsletter highlights outstanding achievements and the many programs and services we offer to our community. Our community center is more important than ever as we work to provide aid and support to families and individuals that truly need it.
Our vital programming is only made possible by your support. Thank you for contributing to Carver Center’s success!!
Teen Center – College Bound!
Nineteen Teen Center members ranging in age from freshman-junior year visited Virginia Wesleyan, Virginia State, University of Virginia, University of Richmond, James Madison University and Old Dominion University this spring. Prior to the trip, Teen Program Director, Kelley Gordon-Minott asked each student to complete a college survey. Teens ranked what’s important to them in a college (size, location, majors offered, distance from home, graduate programs, etc.) These rankings were used to evaluate each college during the five-day tour. “It really got them thinking about what they want from a school on a deeper level versus just wanting to go to a school because it’s got a ‘brand name’. They are much more educated consumers now,” said Kelley. The tours are a great way to inspire our teens to work hard in order to go to college and are also a reality check – making it clear to them that they must take ownership of their own education journey.
Carver After School Program: It takes a village to enrich young lives!
Big thanks to our partners who are helping us to end the school year with a bang! Starting on April 6th, girls in grades 2 and 3 will participate in an 8-week financial literacy program, sponsored and provided by the Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson through a grant from Key Bank. Activities include making a piggy bank and learning how to open a bank account. Thanks to a partnership with the Rye Nature Center, Carver After School children at JFK Elementary enjoyed hands-on nature lessons and interacted with a variety of live animals. Students also had a chance to get their hands dirty with The Clay Art Center, who is generously providing our Early Learning Center with 8 weeks of creative clay-working classes.
Finally, in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, the children at Edison celebrated World Read Aloud Day on March 2nd. Guest readers visited classrooms during and after the school day. Several members of Carver Center’s staff and Board were thrilled to share their favorite books with the students.
Thank you again to all the individuals, supporters, and partners for your generosity in providing these critically needed enrichment opportunities to our children!
Raising Mindful Children
What is Mindfulness? It is moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, emotions, sensations and surrounding environment. Solid scientific evidence suggests that mindfulness interventions improve children’s attention, self-control, emotional resilience, memory and immune response. This all can lead to an improved classroom climate (for both students and teachers) and reduced levels of stress/bullying on playground and during tests. Mindfulness skills may also boost the immune system and lower propensity to diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
We’ve begun to incorporate mindfulness into our children’s programs and have seen a positive impact on behavior and coping skills in students. “Meditating is good – it helps you make better choices so you don’t have to get angry,” said one of our students. Our Mindfulness initiative has grown to now include 19 groups at Carver Center’s After School sites. “We continue to support children and staff through this collaborative initiative and grow the numbers of individuals that can benefit from this important work,” said Leith Colton, Carver Center Community Wellbeing Manager.
Picking up STEAM!
How we’re inspiring the next generation of Engineers
It’s no secret that minorities and females are enormously underrepresented in technology fields. What’s more – tech industries are already facing a shortage of skilled workers. At Carver, we’re working toward filling this gap!
Thanks to the dedication and generosity of Ryan Stackpole, Carver Center is on its way to establishing a Tech Center of our very own! What started as a class to help middle school girls and boys learn to build computers has snowballed into something much more! Ryan and his dad Andy donated their time, expertise and the hardware components to teach our students to build 12 desktop computers as part of our Saturday Program curriculum. These working computers will now be used in computer classes for Carver pantry clients. Our Teen Center members will also have access to the Tech Center computers for school work, life skills classes (learning Word and Excel), college applications and resume building. The Carver Operations department is currently refurbishing an under-utilized room to convert into a Tech Center. Once complete, the Tech Center will also be used by Carver Summer Campers to learn computer coding. Our Saturday Programs will be expanded to offer computer classes such as Life Skills, Minecraft Engineering and Coding. Children ranging in age from 4th grade to 10th grade will all benefit from these computers!
Harvard Business School Club of NY and the Carver Center Deliver Partnership Impact to Port Chester
Over the last 18 months, Carver Center has been busy working with alumni from the Harvard Business School to maximize community impact. Read more here about this strategic alliance and how local residents from this world renowned institution are making a difference in our community. We’re also proud to announce that Carver CEO, Joe Kwasniewski, is the recipient of a full scholarship to Harvard Business School’s Executive Education program in Performance Measurementt for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations. Congratulations Joe – you are living Carver’s mission to build brighter futures!
Seated left to right: Carver Center CEO Joe Kwasniewski, Board President Maureen Gomez, Wendy Jacobs, Julie Souza, John Callaghan, Hal Kennedy.
Missing from photo: Sonia Alcantarilla, Anne Zahner, Jen Prather
Stephanie Barrett of Greenwich and Tom Murphy of Rye are hard at work this spring as they put the finishing touches on the Carver Center’s Annual Appeal campaign. With a “close the gap” goal of $300,000 to reach by June 30th, the campaign co-chairs discussed the impact of Carver’s work and its new after-school program conducted at Port Chester’s five elementary schools.
“As funding becomes tighter across school districts, Carver helps to meet growing need by providing college prep classes for high schoolers, after-school homework help, and daily hot meals for 1300 children. I want to be sure that the annual appeal goal is met so that these programs can continue,” explains Barrett, a public school teacher in Greenwich.
Murphy adds, “Port Chester has a 16% poverty rate, so it’s critically important for Carver to continue offering a fully stocked food pantry as a way to minimize food insecurity. Also, Carver provides the only community swimming pool in the area. Everyone should have access to water safety lessons, no matter the cost.”
With a total fundraising goal of $3.7MM almost complete for fiscal year 2015-16, funds raised through the annual appeal support critical needs such as the pool, food pantry, and maintenance of the increasingly well used facility. Both Barrett and Murphy also serve on the Carver Board of Directors.
You can help us provide critical services that build brighter futures.