Think of Stephanie Sanabria as a one-woman fiber optic network. As a City Connects Coordinator, she connects 11 classrooms in Springfield’sEarly Childhood Education Center with resources across the city and brings those resources right into the building where it’s easy for young children and their parents to access them.
“We adapted City Connects for the early childhood years because that’s such an important stage developmentally,” Anastasia Raczek explains. Raczek is the Associate Director of Research & Evaluation at the Center for Optimized Student Support, which is based at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development.
We used funding from the Better Way Foundation to launch this effort in Catholic Schools. The first program launched in 2012 in Boston. Today, City Connects serves more than 2,000 pre-K children in programs across the country. Continue reading →
One powerful feature of City Connects is that we help community partners reach the children they want to serve.
In the case of theSalem Children’s Charity, we also help community organizations manage changing times. Here’s the story of how that happened.
“The way it started,” Brendan Walsh says, telling the 25-year-old story of the children’s charity, “is that there were four guys, all of whom had some connection to the restaurant business in Salem, and it was coming up on Christmas.”
“They said, you know, we should do something for kids at Christmas.”
The four friends decided to throw a party where they passed the hat and collected more than $1,000.
One of City Connects’ longstanding community partners is Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit that collects new and nearly new clothes and distributes them to children in need. The organization has worked with City Connects for more than nine years.
In the fall of 2017, Cradles to Crayons reached out to City Connects and asked us to help out with a pilot program that they had in mind. Cradles to Crayons wanted to achieve a higher level of services by creating a new, seasonal delivery schedule for its KidsPacks – the bags full of clothes, coats, shoes, boots, books, and school supplies. The organization wanted to launch the program in City Connects schools, building on our existing relationship.
The pilot started at the beginning of this school year. In close coordination with our Coordinators, it serves more than 100 students across five Boston public schools. Students receive a back-to-school backpack with school supplies in September — and three more deliveries during the year containing clothing for fall, winter, and spring.
The goal of having these predictable deliveries is to create a system that’s better able to anticipate families’ needs and reach more students.Continue reading →