Expanding access to Regional Enrichment Centers to students who are homeless

Amid the COVID-19 situation, the New York Junior League is still identifying ways to serve our community. As New York City schools adjust to the new normal, educators settle into remote teaching, and students grapple with a new, ad hoc way of learning, more than 100,000 students who are homeless might not have the same opportunities to learn.

This week, the NYC Department of Education (DOE) opened up Regional Enrichment Centers (RECs) to provide safe child care to students whose parents are first responders, health care workers, and key transit employees. Yesterday, the mayor added the children of grocery store and pharmacy workers to the list of children eligible to enroll in a REC.

However, the 114,000 children experiencing the daily trauma of housing instability are not eligible to enroll. The NYJL signed on to a letter, organized by Advocates for Children, urging the mayor and the DOE chancellor to open these enrollment centers to students who are homeless, so they may have access to reliable technology for remote learning and the space to focus on their lessons, with the help of a volunteer DOE educator. The letter also requests that the the DOE expand enrollment eligibility to the children of shelter workers.

Read the letter here, and follow NYJL on Twitter for more advocacy updates.

 

 

NYJL Updates During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Last updated April 2, 2020

During this time of crisis, the health and safety of the staff, members, and partners of the NYJL community are our highest priorities. Although we are making adjustments in real time as the COVID-19 situation evolves, we remain steadfast in our commitment to women and children in New York City, community partners, and our strong, passionate women volunteers.

We continue to monitor and follow the public health recommendations of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the directives of local and federal government officials.

Please check this web page, or NYJL’s InstagramFacebook, or Twitter for the latest updates.

NYJL Events and Meetings

Through April, all in-person events are cancelled, postponed, or moving online to a video platform.  

  • Fundraising events: Please visit our Events page for more information on the status of each fundraising event.
  • New membership orientations: We will continue to host new membership orientations through Zoom. Please check our new membership information page for upcoming dates.

Community Programs

Scheduled volunteer activities for our community programs have been suspended, but there are several ways we can continue to serve our community. We understand that volunteering your time is a deeply personal choice, but for those who wish to stay engaged in community response, here are some opportunities: 

Critical Supply Donations to Partners

With the city practicing social distancing, many of our partners need activities and supplies to help clients, particularly children who are homeless and confined to temporary living spaces, through this difficult time. If you would like to support our partners, here are several community partners’ lists of supplies needed. You may purchase and send items directly to the following organizations:

  • Win – Needs activities for children living in homeless shelters.
  • Isaacs Center – Needs school supplies for students.
  • The New Jewish Home – Needs activities for senior residents.
  • Covenant House – Needs snacks and activities for youth in the crisis shelter.
  • Department of Homeless Services – Needs toys and activities for children in shelter. Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.
  • SCAN-Harbor – Accepting food donations (both non-perishable and perishable). Stay tuned for updates on this opportunity.

Live Volunteer Opportunities

The primary area of critical need is meal and pantry item distribution. Several of our partners are still providing grab-and-go meals, or meal services, for their clients. Volunteers are needed to help package and serve meals; partners are following safety guidelines for volunteers. The NYJL recommends that volunteers carefully review New York Cares’ guidelines for safe volunteering. If you would like to participate, please follow these guidelines for your own safety and that of community members.

  • Urban Outreach Center (UOC) – Pack and distribute grab-and-go meals.
  • Isaacs Center – Help with plating and packaging meals and Meals on Wheels delivery.
  • Crossroads – Prepare and serve meals, and help with cleanup and food pantry distributions.

For more information and to find out how to sign up for these volunteer shifts, please refer to this document

Virtual volunteer opportunities 

Our community partner SCAN-Harbor is looking for help updating their website and YouTube channel with virtual activities for the youth. Anyone with knowledge of using WordPress and managing YouTube who would like to donate her skills should contact community@nyjl.org.  

Advocacy opportunity

The NYJL signed on to a letter, organized by Advocates for Children, urging the NYC Department of Education (DOE) to open Regional Enrollment Centers (RECs) to the 114,000 students facing housing instability, so they may have access to reliable technology for remote learning and the space to focus on their lessons, with the help of a volunteer DOE educator. Currently, the RECs provide safe spaces for remote education and childcare for children of first responders, health care workers, key transit employees, and grocery store and pharmacy workers. Read more on the issue here https://nyti.ms/2UCG7Bw.

NYJL has posted several messages on Twitter in support of this sign-on letter. Please consider retweeting NYJl.

Complete the 2020 Census!

The 2020 Census takes less than 10 minutes, but its impact will last 10 years! The federal government uses the census to determine NYC’s fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds for public education, affordable housing, infrastructure and much more. The Census also informs how many seats NY gets in the House of Representatives. 

Please contact community@nyjl.org and let us know if there are any organizations seeking volunteers for small group activities, virtual support, and/or supplies.

Together, we will get through this!

The Building Blocks of Parent-Child Relationships

One of the foundational “building blocks” of early child development is a secure attachment between child and parent. In partnership with the Single Parent Resource Center (SPRC), NYJL’s Building Blocks program aims to strengthen these bonds through interactive play. Volunteers organize activities where parents and their children (ages 6 months to 4 years) can tap into fun, imagination, movement, and health. At the end of each session, children and parents take home their projects, which serve as reminders of their time together at Building Blocks. 

Unlike other NYJL projects, volunteers’ children are part of the program. And as many NYJL volunteers are new parents themselves, Building Blocks fosters teaching and learning together and integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection. Some activities have included adorning planters for growing basil at home; decorating holiday cookies; playing soccer; and making lava lamps out of household items. Building Blocks has also partnered with another NYJL community committee, Cooking and Health Education for Families (CHEF), to focus on nutrition and making good food choices.

At the 68th Annual Winter Ball, the NYJL will honor two key leaders of the Building Blocks program: Outstanding Sustainer Rosemarie Dackerman and Outstanding Volunteer Olivia Leon. Rosemarie heads community partner SPRC, and Olivia helped launch, and now co-leads, the program.

“Being part of the Building Blocks committee and being able to have my son join our sessions and help volunteer has been a truly rewarding and unique volunteer experience,” says Olivia. “[…]Building Blocks is a great example of how the NYJL grows and evolves volunteer options to meet the needs and schedules of our membership.  But the best part has been working with the Single Parent Resource Center and their clients over the span of three years. It has been great to watch all our children grow together, learn from each other and form friendships.”

Celebrate Building Blocks with us at Golden Tree’s Spirit of the Season: A Spotlight on Community on Thursday evening, December 5. Building Blocks will be among five committees recognized for their important contributions to our community. 

Congratulations to the NYJL’s 2019 Outstanding Sustainers and Volunteers!

Please join the New York Junior League in congratulating our 2019 Outstanding Sustainers and Outstanding Volunteers! Toast to this year’s honorees and hear stories about them from their friends and family during the upcoming Outstanding Sustainer and Outstanding Volunteer Announcement Party, taking place on Friday, November 16, 2018 at the Astor House.

Our Outstanding Volunteers for 2019 are Beth Batiuchok-Colon, Shelby Spears Carroll, Dayna Cassidy, Leighanna Morbey and Allison Davis O’Keefe. Our Outstanding Sustainers are Robin Stratton Rivera and Dee Dee Scarborough. The awards represent the highest honor that a NYJL active or sustainer can receive. 

Join us at this year’s Announcement Party to make the evening an extra special event for this year’s honorees. All members, friends, and family are invited to attend.

Congratulations again to these extraordinary women who will be honored on February 23, 2019 during the 67th Annual Winter Ball at Pier Sixty.

Celebrating the Newest NYJL Volunteers

The New York Junior League recently honored the latest class of provisionals for completing their requirements at the Spring Provisional Graduation. The ambitious and generous 196 women who make up the Spring 2018 provisional class, represent one of the largest provisional classes in NYJL history.  President, Suzanne Manning, congratulated the women and welcomed them as incoming Active Members of the NYJL.

The 2018 Provisionals on the Move, honored for their character, leadership, volunteerism, and other qualities that will make them a successful active Junior League member, are: Alexandra Carmel, Brittany Dotson, Cait Gillespie, Christina Mangels, Delainey Farris, Devin Brooks, Lauren Cook, Lee Fabiaschi, Natalie Rodriguez, Regan Purcell, Samantha David.

Jennifer Barnes acknowledged that she enjoyed learning about the NYJL mission and volunteering with the Playground Improvement Project during her Provisional training. Caley Taylor and Sabrina Fruci bonded during the neighborhood assignment project and are also both excited to volunteer more during their NYJL careers.

Meshal Rao served as social chair of her provisional group, planning happy hours and other events with her fellow Provisionals, and is excited to continue to meet other members in the upcoming Junior League year. Veronica Rogala was also drawn to the NYJL for the opportunity to socialize with like-minded women, and counted the Provisional Graduation as one of the most exciting moments of the Provisional semester.

The New York Junior League is thrilled to have these new members become Active Members, and encourages other interested women to attend an upcoming orientation to learn more about the NYJL.


From left to right: Devin Brooks, Kristen Morea, Suzanne Manning