At the cornerstone of New York Cares’ mission to meet pressing community needs is a commitment to Education. No matter one’s age, New York Cares believes that education is fundamental to development and opportunity. That’s why more than 60 percent of our annual volunteer programming is focused on improving the academic outcomes of New Yorkers across the five boroughs. Through after-school homework help, math and reading enrichment, and 19 years of the city’s largest free SAT Prep program, New York Cares transforms the generosity of volunteers into higher grades, new careers, and college acceptance letters.
But we don’t stop there, knowing that a commonly overlooked aspect of learning relies on something so simple – one’s environment. Once a year, New York Cares focuses all of its efforts on mobilizing as many New Yorkers as possible in service to public schools on New York Cares Day for Schools. This year, on Saturday, October 21, more than 2,500 caring residents took to 38 public schools to repaint, reorganize and reinvigorate the campuses. In order to execute such an extensive day of service, New York Cares relies heavily on a partnership with the Department of Education, who works with us year-round on over 10,000 volunteer-powered projects. This year, we truly had all hands on deck with a visit from the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, Carmen Fariña.
“Working in public schools isn’t a work of charity, it’s an investment in the future of the city,” said Fariña as she helped kick off the day at PS 140 M on the lower east side and urged volunteers to, “don’t make this a one-shot deal, make this something you commit to.”
Photographer: Nick Mason
Every volunteer on Cares Day made a small investment in the future of New York City’s students. A fresh coat of paint may seem simple, but it accomplishes more than brightening up the place; it shows every student, parent, and teacher that comes through the door that somebody cares. Full-scale revitalization efforts included the painting of countless murals and fences, reorganization of libraries, cleaning of unused storage spaces, gardening, and removal of rubbish from school grounds.
While service is at the heart of New York Cares Day for Schools, the event is also an important way to raise funds in support of our year-round education programs. Teams of volunteers spend the 2 months preceding the day fundraising and spreading the word about education needs across the city. This year, volunteers collected approximately $100,000 - a Cares Day record and one that shows just how much New York cares about Education.
Photographer: Les Sugai
Photographer: Cheresa Myers
To find out more about New York Cares Day for Schools or to make a donation in support of our year-round education programs, visit newyorkcares.org/schools.