NEW YORK, NY (June 24, 2020) – Children’s Aid announced today its partnership with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) and Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) to deliver children’s books to under-resourced communities across New York City. This unique partnership brings nonprofit, education, and child welfare agencies together to address one of the leading drivers of the achievement gap among our city’s children.
The Children’s Aid Child Welfare and Family Services Education Team started the Grab and Go Book Project: Feeding Minds and Bodies in May. Designed to work in tandem with the DOE Grab and Go meal distribution program, the team thought incorporating an education component, by providing books to school-aged foster youth and their families, would effectively address two Children’s Aid program strategies by ensuring kids are learning and growing.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Department of Education and the Administration for Children’s Services to launch a new Grab and Go initiative focused on the importance of reading books,” said Phoebe C. Boyer, president and CEO of Children’s Aid. “Reading is linked to better grades, improved behavior, better attendance rates, and better overall success for children. We have already distributed books — alongside a tasty, nutritious meal — to our 450 school-aged youth in foster care and will reach hundreds more in the coming weeks. It’s the perfect balance of feeding the mind and the body.”
The book project highlights the collaboration of all three agencies. Books were directly delivered to the homes of 450 school-aged foster youth and their families. The DOE and ACS also facilitated deliveries to DOE’s Grab and Go meal sites across the city. The families who frequent the sites for food are able to not only receive a nutritious meal, but also select and take books home to feed their minds.
Children’s Aid solicited and received more than 13,000 book donations from various organizations and personal donations including Barnes & Noble, Book Fairies, DRA Advisors LLC, Hindi’s Libraries, Igloo Books, and private donors.
The DOE served on the planning committee for the book project, actively doing research and providing data to identify meal sites that fit the project criteria. Chosen sites provided the greatest number of free meals to needy families – ranging from 1,300 to 2,300 meals per day – and served the greatest clusters of youth in foster care.
Outreach to DOE liaisons and social distancing ambassadors to coordinate deliveries at each site were also key to the project’s success.
“This partnership gets to the heart of what our students need: to have their bodies and minds nourished. These free books will provide students with fun, exciting, and educational tools to continue learning through the summer months, and I’m so grateful to Children’s Aid and the Administration for Children’s Services for bringing this to life,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
The ACS coordinated the logistics of delivering more than 5,000 books to Grab and Go meal sites across the five boroughs, providing vehicles and volunteers to transport, load, and unpack books at each site.
“The Administration for Children’s Services works hard to make sure all children in New York City have the resources they need to thrive, and literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can give. I want to thank the Children’s Aid and the Department of Education for their partnership in this book drive which has already distributed thousands of books to children and families in some of the City’s highest need neighborhoods,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell.
Through this innovative three-part collaboration, Children’s Aid is focused on executing its strategic mission — ensuring every child has the opportunity to learn, grow, and lead. The Grab and Go Book Project provides children in under-resourced communities an equal playing field to thrive in school and succeed in life. Providing healthy and nutritious food, while ensuring excellent education and health care, social-emotional support, and strong stable family environments are the keys to safeguarding a child’s success.
As part of the project, books were also donated to the Children’s Aid Early Childhood Program. These books were provided to students and families through a weekly food delivery service to the most vulnerable families in the Bronx, Harlem, and Washington Heights.
For more information please visit our website or follow us on Twitter @ChildrensAidNYC.
For more than 165 years, Children’s Aid has been committed to ensuring that there are no boundaries to the aspirations of young people, no limits to their potential. We know what it takes to ensure children and youth grow up strong and healthy, and ready to thrive in school and life: excellent education and health care, social-emotional support, and strong stable families. Today, we serve nearly 50,000 children, youth, and their families at more than 40 sites in four under-resourced neighborhoods in New York City. For additional information, contact Anthony Ramos at (212) 949-4938 or anthonyr@ChildrensAidNYC.org.