This past school year at Booker T. saw us establishing new partnerships and building on current ones. Let us begin by reporting on Summer Camp 2012. Nearly 100 children were able to participate in our summer camp program thanks to your contributions and assistance. The children and teens really enjoyed themselves and participated in a program that truly maximized their potential. More importantly, we were able to bridge the summer learning gap, by providing an academically rich morning that was fun and interactive at the same time. As the new 2012-2013 school year is upon us, we look forward to new partnerships we established last year. Here is a glimpse at what occurred last year:
Girls on the Run
We completed two full cycles of GOTR in December and June. In each cycle we enrolled a total of 13 adolescent girls. The coaches and mentors that were chosen for our site are professionals in the areas of finance, education and counseling. For 14 weeks, twice a week, the young ladies attended self-esteem building workshops, life skills workshops and adolescent topics related workshops, all while training and preparing for a 5k run up and down the East River promenade. They completed exercises and worksheets from the GOTR curriculum which is used nationwide. We expect this program to return for the fall 2012 semester.
Our partnership with the NY Academy of Science really allowed this program to come into existence. The weekly sessions for the STEM segments were taught and facilitated by two young doctors who work at Mount Sinai Medical Center. These two young professionals taught science lessons related to genetics. The students were really excited about these interactive activities. The doctors provided many hands-on experiences for the children and really made the topic of genetics interesting and insightful. We were cautiously optimistic at first, because we taught the topic would be too challenging and dull for children - however, we were wrong. From direct observation, the children seemed to like the topic and interacted positively with the two instructors. This year we plan to team up again with the NY Academy for Science and perhaps introduce a new facet of STEM, maybe in technology or engineering.
This initiative was facilitated by the Yorkville Common Pantry. They provided the staff and materials for this project that occurred twice a week. This partnership was a very important one, because it helped us address the issue of poor nutritional habits among our children and their families. The staff of YCP was very knowledgeable and made each activity very interactive. The students discussed many topics ranging from the nutritional food groups, understanding the nutrition facts label on food products, the advantages of fruits and vegetables, and many other topics. Additionally, the children prepared and cooked various dishes that would be affordable to their families. The children's families were also afforded the opportunity to shop at YCP's grocery store and get food items for their households. This project was very successful and will also come back in the fall of 2012.Lastly, we continued partnerships with the Diller Quaile School of Music and Junior Navigators. Diller-Quaile provides Booker T. students with scholarships that allow them to attend choral or instrumental studies. Each year, the students who attend perform at a winter/spring concert at Merkin Hall. Junior Navigators is a program that provides inner city children the opportunity to have camp like sessions within the five boroughs of New York City. Through games, crafts, excursions to museums, nature walks and camping, children build camaraderies, character, and basic understanding of the world and cultures around them.