Why Am I running the NYC marathon for CFK – Yago Cuesta

Yago Cuesta


Running makes me a happier, better person. It gives me joy, focus, purpose, and a profound feeling of fulfillment.

Running the NYC Marathon as a fundraiser for Change for Kids gives me all of that and much more — the opportunity to give back to people by doing one of the things I like the most.

Change for Kids invests in elementary schools in NYC to help under-privileged children to succeed in middle school and beyond. In other words, it empowers them to learn; it encourages them to bring their skills up to their full potential and to push limits aside. This sounds very familiar to a runner.

Like running, learning is an endless adventure, where every single step forward counts and is worth celebrating. Everyone is invited and no one excluded. For no person is so gifted that she does not need to learn more, nor so hopeless that she cannot learn something new. And we should be equally amazed by both accomplishments, as we should by every single step that we take on the way.

There is no more powerful leverage for long-lasting change than education. Like a marathon, it’s a long-distance race that can lead you very far away. And Change for Kids makes both possible.

Let’s then keep running to learn more; let’s keep learning as we run.


CFK Volunteers make a difference every day

Thanks to our 1,400+ volunteers who delivered over 4,500 volunteer hours last year, Change for Kids made a positive impact on thousands of NYC public elementary school children in underserved neighborhoods. See how volunteers from VSA Partners recently transformed P.S. 329.

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There are so many ways to get involved with Change for Kids. Here are upcoming ways that you can get involved!

School & Career Days Volunteer at a CFK School event in May and inspire our students to dream big about their futures.

Golf for Kids Join us on June 26th at the historic Saint Andrew’s course in Hastings-on-Hudson to benefit our 12 partner schools.

TCS NYC Marathon Every mile you run for Change for Kids will help bring programs and resources to over 4,700 CFK public elementary students.

#WhyCFK, Uncategorized

Why Reading Matters By The End Of Third Grade

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical marker in a child’s educational development. Until third grade, children learn to read, but after third grade they read to learn. Children who enter fourth grade without reading proficiency are more likely to dropout of high school, reducing their earnings potential and chances for success.* This risk is greatest for students in low-income communities where schools often cannot provide the resources needed to prepare their students for success.

75% of children who struggle with reading in the 3rd grade will never catch up to their peers unless they get the help they need in elementary school.

That’s why CFK aims to make an impact in reading proficiency early in a child’s educational career. Change for Kids provides programs, tutoring and other resources to aid in building competent readers.

Through our programs Guest Reader and Reading Buddies, children have the opportunity to hear a story from our volunteers and corporate partners. These activities are special, engage students in literacy, and often leave the children asking when they will see their guest reader again!


*Annie E Casey Foundation


5th Annual Super Chefs Sets New Record

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On November 2nd, Change for Kids partnered with 11 nationally-celebrated chefs to raise more than $700,000 at its 5th annual Super Chefs benefit.

Christian Isaiah, Super Chefs student speaker, took center stage and spoke in front of hundreds of guests. This is something he could never have imagined doing a few years ago. “I used to be really shy. But that’s no longer the case thanks to the CFK opportunities I had in school, along with the support of the Brooklyn Landmark community,” he said.

Christian credits CFK programs and experiences throughout elementary school with helping him become the confident, articulate and self-motivated 6th grade student he is today. “I know I’m unique and I’m on the right path,” he said. “I take education very seriously and know it’ll lead me to success.”

Thanks to our incredible Super Chefs supporters, Change for Kids will be able to impact more students like Christian next year as we expand the network of CFK partner schools benefiting from the academic, social and emotional resources we provide.

 Check out a new CFK Video featuring Christian below!

Back to School Update


Welcome from Our New Executive Director, Katrina S. Huffman

I am humbled to exercise my servant-leadership as Change for Kids’ new Executive Director. For the past month, I have been impressed by the staff’s unbridled commitment to invest in NYC’s neediest public elementary schools. I am in utmost awe of our community—from our board, business leaders, principals, and funders—who recognize the importance of bridging the opportunity gap for youth in vulnerable communities.

In my past role as Chief Program Officer at Youth INC, I participated in empowering youth-serving nonprofits through leadership development programs that indirectly affect public school students. I look forward to making a direct impact on NYC’s youth at CFK. Colin Smith did a remarkable job as Executive Director by growing CFK’s community and impact. My focus in the next few years is to develop our network of schools, measure our success, and deepen our influence at our schools.

An investment in our youth is an investment in our future as a city and a nation. As a product of New York state schools from Kindergarten to college, I am eager to work with you to continue this critical work of providing enriching opportunities to NYC’s youth. Together, we will help thousands of students become lifelong learners who excel emotionally, socially, and academically.

Katrina S. Huffman

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CFK Highlight: Two New Partner Schools from the Bronx to the Sea

While students enjoy the last of their summer days, CFK is preparing to welcome two more schools into our network this year—P.S. 6X in the West Farms neighborhood of the Bronx and P.S. 329 in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

  • Principal Tiawana Perez has created a collaborative culture at P.S. 6X with the belief that it takes a village of stakeholders—from parents and staff, to partners like CFK—to educate students. She is teaming up with CFK to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of her students.
  • Principal Salema Marbury has established numerous student-led initiatives at P.S. 329 to combat absenteeism and help students discover their unique talents. She is partnering with CFK to further expose students to diverse, engaging experiences that prepare them for middle school and beyond.

We cannot wait to start the school year and work with our new and returning partner schools!

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School Spotlight: RBC Volunteers Prep P.S. 142 for Back to School

This summer, more than 200 RBC Capital Markets Interns stepped away from their desks and volunteered their time to help P.S. 142 get ready for the first day of school. To make the day even more special, RBC announced a $25K grant to P.S. 142 for the upcoming school year, which will fund CFK programs and resources. Principal Daphna Gutman reiterated to RBC staff and interns that they are making a tremendous impact on the school community.

RBC interns participated in a variety of projects—from leading arts and crafts with summer camp attendees to creating personalized pencil cases for every student at P.S. 142. The interns left behind the cases filled with all the back to school essentials, including a hand-written note of encouragement.


Welcoming Our New Executive Director


On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am thrilled to share exciting news. After an extensive search, we have named Katrina Huffman as Change for Kids’ new Executive Director! Katrina will officially join CFK at the end of this month.

Katrina brings a wealth of expertise, enthusiasm, and vision to lead Change for Kids into our next stage of growth. She is currently the Chief Program Officer of Youth INC, a venture philanthropy organization that provides leadership development programs and grants to 75 NYC youth-serving nonprofits. Prior to Youth INC, she served as a Program Director at Harlem Children’s Zone and Groundwork.

As a native New Yorker, Katrina is passionate about ensuring that all NYC students receive a quality education. We firmly believe that she will inspire the CFK community to achieve even greater impact in the years to come.

I look forward to introducing you to Katrina soon, and to Change for Kids’ bright future under her leadership.

– Nicolas Koechlin, Board Chair

#WhyCFK, P.S. 81, Uncategorized

P.S. 81 Students Get Moving

In NYC, 1 in 5 kindergarten students are obese, and almost three quarters of elementary school children did not receive the state-mandated minimum amount of exercise last school year. That’s #WhyCFK hosts family fitness events at our partner schools—to get even our youngest students into a habit of physical activity.

P.S. 81 in Brooklyn recently held the school’s Community Wellness Fair. While parents scoured the auditorium and met with multiple community organizations that offer health and wellness services, students participated in fitness activities to get their bodies moving. Some students tried yoga for the first time, while others tested their backward jump roping skills. CFK Board Member Laura Farah joined in on the fun and encouraged students to test their limits!

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