I began running in my teens. I ran because it got me out of the house where emotions often ran high, it gave me time to be by myself, and it was a time to release whatever teenage anguish I was harboring. For these reasons, I ran for hours at a time. And running became a part of me and my identity. When I got injured training for the marathon 12 years ago, I knew in my mind that one day I would train for and complete a marathon. But, after two children and a car accident – I had considered that dream dead. Until a friend asked me (she claims I asked her, but I wouldn’t have had the courage) to run the marathon with her to support Change for Kids. And because CFK is so near and dear to my heart, I said yes.
Almost five months ago, I started out by running a mile. One mile. I swore as I ran that mile. Not in the good way – swearing that I would run daily or better myself in some way. In the bad way, the way that includes words with four letters that I don’t like to say around my children.
So, if I started out swearing, why did I keep going? The reason was twofold. The first is that I believe so completely in the mission of Change for Kids. I have spent the past six months in the office working to raise funds to supply our partner schools with the critical resources they need to get their students ready for success in middle school and beyond. I believe so completely that I decided to not just talk my mouth off, but to also put my physical and emotional willpower on the line for Change for Kids.
The second reason is one that many of us have experienced. Nothing motivates more than fear. Fear can be crippling, and in so many instances it is so hard to overcome. For me, in terms of training for and running a marathon, fighting fear is liberating. It is an obstacle to overcome. And for me, it is empowering to overcome an obstacle to meet a goal. But the true motivation comes from knowing that our students have many obstacles to overcome, and their odds of overcoming these obstacles can only be strengthened by a solid education. And that’s where I can help. I can help raise funds to help CFK provide even more resources to our students and our schools. As I’m running, when the miles start to add up and the legs start to get tired, I will focus on the ultimate goal, the reason I am running, and the goal will energize me to the end.
Naiomi Chacon, a proud graduate of Change for Kids partner school P.S. 277, won the hearts of guests at CFK’s 4th annual Super Chefs as the night’s keynote student speaker. Naiomi spoke about her experiences at P.S. 277 and how an eyeopening CFK field trip to BlackRock got her thinking about her future career as a fashion designer.
“I have a passion for fashion. I sketch looks all the time in my notebook. I like to draw the people around me and add fashion details to their outfits,” Naiomi said at Super Chefs. “One day, I could be a model with her own clothing line. I could design evening wear for the red carpet and walk the catwalk at Fashion Week.”
Although she’s only a 6th grade student, Naiomi is already getting to work. And that inspired many Super Chefs guests.
Eager to encourage this Fashionista to pursue her dreams, Change for Kids Board Member Louise Phillips Forbes coordinated a memorable day for Naiomi: a trip to the February MILLY New York Fashion Week show and backstage access to interview MILLY designer Michelle Smith.
This past February, Naiomi and Louise embarked on their girls day out. The day started off with a special birthday lunch for Naiomi at Del Posto and then onto the MILLY fashion show. Naiomi watched the show in awe, as models gracefully passed by and colorful lights flashed. The sparkly outfits were her favorite! (Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a little sparkle?!)
After the show, Naiomi and Louise went backstage to interview MILLY designer Michelle Smith. Naiomi asked Michelle Smith how she comes up with her t-shirt designs, what family members share the same passion as her, and more. Naiomi learned about all the planning that goes into a fashion show and selling a clothing line. Michelle Smith even suggested that her and Naiomi work together to design dress and a “really cool t-shirt.” We can’t wait to see the designs!
Thank you Louise Phillips Forbes and Michelle Smith for making this amazing opportunity possible for Naiomi. Now we’re counting down until Naiomi takes on New York Fashion Week in 2030!
Watch Naiomi and Louise’s spectacular day and Naiomi’s interview with Michelle Smith below.
Change for Kids is recruiting a team for the 2017 TCS NYC Marathon! Join Team CFK and get a guaranteed spot in the race of a lifetime.
On November 5th, run 26.2 miles alongside thousands of athletes from across the globe while making a huge difference for kids right here in NYC. You’ll help bring essential resources in fitness, nutrition, art, music and literacy to nearly 4,000 public elementary school students in low-income communities.
Each mile of running you put behind you will pave the path for our students to reach a bright future. Sign up here!
This year was the inaugural Super Chefs event, and a step in a completely different direction from Bowl for Kids. But by the end of the evening, it was clear to everyone that we would have to do Super Chefs again next year…and the year after that. It was a huge success!
The super chefs themselves created mouth-watering tastings to please a crowd of 400. Chef Chris Santos prepared pork belly B.L.T. tacos; chef Maneet Chauhan prepared moong daal chaat in semolina puffs with mint cilantro water; chef Gabe Thompson prepared pork meatballs with polenta, bacon, tomato and Parmesan; chef Abraham Salum prepared Guajillo chile, wild mushroom and Oaxaca cheese tamales with braised chicken and Komali’s finger salsa tamale; and chef Vincent Chirico prepared a hamachi and yellowfin tuna duo with preserved ginger sauce and avocado.
From a campaign that raised more than $250,000, to chefs who are eager to stay involved with their partner schools, Super Chefs was a remarkable–and fun–experience. And we think, by looking at these photos, you can see that on every face.
Want to see more? Click here. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Super Chefs campaign and event!
Our runners couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to run the ING New York City Marathon on November 3—cool temperatures, partly sunny, not too much wind. We couldn’t have asked for a better team, some of whom have been holding out since last year to run for Change for Kids. Our thanks to Maureen Ford, Pat Daly, Suraj Patel, Viral Patel, Courtney Raneri, Brad Zanoni, Ken Davidoff and Alex Porter. Together, these athletes have raised more than $25,000 for the students in our partner schools.
At the end of their run, several teammates toasted their triumph. As you can see, they make running 26.2 miles and raising $25k look easy!
On September 26, the CFK Junior Council hosted their Summer in September event to support P.S. 15 and P.S. 81. The crowd at Hudson Terrace was decked out in their summer best (and then accessorized with props from the step-and-repeat). As expected, Summer in September was a blast, and the Junior Council and their guests raised $16,000 for their schools! Here are a few photos from the evening.
After the liquor bottles were all put away, after the silent auction items went to good homes, after the CFK staff finally managed to sneak in a full night’s rest, we counted up the total income from this year’s Bowl for Kids…$188,232.
Which is about $41,000 more than we were able to pull in for Bowl for Kids 2010. Woohoo! Applause, applause! If you celebrated with a few too many Trips to the Principal’s Office (our signature Tom Collins, remember??), you can relive all your half-hazy memories by checking out the photos here. Most importantly, though, you should know that it’s not just our amazing student musicians who benefit from this event every year. Every single one of our programs is in the midst of expansion right now, and it’s because of people like you that our students will continue to receive the kinds of programs that foster creativity and confidence to achieve. Continue reading →
The wild success of last week’s Bowl for Kids event left us with quite a conundrum here in the office. Is there a bowling metaphor, we wondered, that would accurately convey how ecstatic we were with the turnout and energy at Thursday’s event? Call it a strike, turkey, kingpin or a smorgasbord of spares; whatever the (cheesy) metaphor, it doesn’t do justice to the final count:
That’s enough for comprehensive programming at two of our partner schools: field trips, music lessons, literacy tutoring, Story Pirates, art education, early reading, and school supplies for 1,400 students. PLUS, enough left over to add tutoring sessions on Saturdays, expand fitness and nutrition programming, and ramp up our music program to include more students than we’ve ever been able to serve.