#WhyCFK, CFK Volunteers

How to Support New York City Public Schools

All children deserve to go to quality public schools. Unfortunately, many NYC public schools in low-income communities cannot provide their students with the resources that support achievement. These schools don’t have the budget to match their needs. In more affluent communities, a school’s parent association is often able to bridge this gap by raising $100,000 or more in a given year.

Change for Kids partners with incredible elementary schools throughout NYC—93% of the students enrolled in our partner schools live in poverty. Our partner principals work tirelessly to provide a quality education for our students, but there are still gaps to fill.  Here’s how you can help.

Volunteer at a Change for Kids partner school. You’ll expose students to a new, engaging opportunity that otherwise wouldn’t be possible without volunteer support. Change for Kids offers a variety of volunteer opportunities – from weekdays, weeknights to weekends – at our partner schools throughout NYC. Activities include school beautification days, field days, career days, guest reading to a classroom and more!

Donate essential items. Do you have children’s books, games or clothing that your family no longer uses? Change for Kids will find the best use for your item, whether it’s a board game or a winter coat, by matching the item with the appropriate school in need.

Donate money. Want to make a difference, but don’t have enough time in the day to volunteer? You can donate to Change for Kids to invest in our public schools and the future of New York City. Your donation will support essential programming that boosts academic achievement such as music, art, fitness and nutrition education—the programs that are often cut first when a school’s budget shrinks.


CFK Program Partners, P.S. 15

From Clay to Claymation with P.S.15 and the CMA Media Lab – VIDEO

In June, fifth graders from P.S. 15 spent a day in the Media Lab at the Children’s Museum of Art. In the hands of these young artists, chunks of colorful clay became shapes, letters and animals. Then, molding and remolding their creations, a camera captured each subsequent shape. Check out the video below to see the finished product–students’ first clay animations!

5.27.14 PS 15 from Children’s Museum of the Arts on Vimeo.

CFK Program Partners

Behind the Scenes at Story Pirates HQ – VIDEO

One of CFK’s most beloved volunteer opportunities, Story Love puts our students’ whimsical stories in the hands of grown-up readers. Readers provide our budding authors with crucial positive feedback, while our students share unforgettable heroes, villains, plots twists and one-liners, like this winner from a recent session in May: “If life gives you disco balls, just disco.” Excellent advice, future Tolstoy!


But attending a Story Love session at the Story Pirates HQ in the Drama Book Shop on West 40th, volunteers get a glimpse at the madcap creative engine behind the stories they are commenting on.  Just before Memorial Day, a group of readers from the Junior League gathered there to offer feedback on stories from 4th and 5th graders at P.S. 160 in Queens. They worked in a space packed with props from past shows–dolphins, a giant Hello Kitty doll, and masks that would give Jim Henson a run for his money.  Behind the readers was a wall of kid authors whose stories have been performed at Saturday shows.


In the room next door, the Story Pirates were rehearsing at full tilt, and readers couldn’t help but laugh at overheard lines. We caught a sneak peak of the Story Pirates’ amazing creativity at work–check out this video of a few select scenes from a story about a muscle-obsessed lonely cow. Many thanks for this insider’s view, and to our friends in the Junior League for volunteering for Story Love!

Behind the Scenes with the Story Pirates for CFK from Change for Kids on Vimeo.

P.S. 15

P.S. 15 Kindergarten Artists Make Fine Feathered Friends

An integral part of the art program at P.S. 15 is a field trip to the Children’s Museum of Art, our program partners at the school. On Friday, January 24, 23 kindergarteners spent a morning in the gallery at CMA, where the main exhibit, “Tweet,” features birds of all sorts rendered in different kinds of media—from MetroCards to found feathers to water colors.

After students learned about some of the ways birds can be represented in art and what they symbolize, they got to make construction paper totem poles. They topped their creations with their own mythical bird.

Using chalk, students drew three half faces on the left side of dark construction paper, one on top of the other. Then they folded and pressed the paper in half to transfer the chalk from one side to the other, creating three perfectly symmetrical totem heads, the top one, to be transformed into a bird.

After decorating the faces with bright colors, students refolded their papers and clipped small chunks from the open edge, creating three distinct head shapes.

They decorated and glued wings to their bird. Once attached to the repurposed arm of a hanging file, the totems could be attached to the edge of a desk and would stand  upright.

When asked what they liked about this project, students answered “drawing faces,” “the wings!” and, of course, “the colors”–bright chalk that glowed on the blue paper.  One student explained that he liked getting to make whatever he wanted, and a lot of it. “What I like about art is that you just create a lot of stuff,” he said.

When the glue had dried and they were lined up on the tables, the class’ totems were bold, eye-catching and totally fly.