All 70 schools where volunteers will work on New York Cares Day for Schools receive Title 1 funding from the government. What does this mean? Title 1 funding provides financial assistance to schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income households. For example, 95% of the students at schools receiving Title 1 funding are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. These extra funds aim to give all children a fair opportunity to obtain a high-quality education.
New York Cares has chosen to work with Title 1 schools on Cares Day based on this need. These schools require the most volunteer support since the students, their families, and the surrounding communities have limited time and resources to dedicate to revitalizing school grounds, beautifying learning spaces, and organizing storage areas. That's where New York Cares will come in on October 22nd, with 4,000 New Yorkers from across the city painting, weeding, sorting, and cleaning all day long so kids and parents can focus on the most important part of school life - getting a good education.
One of the schools participating in New York Cares Day for Schools is PS 323 K in Brownsville. The school's mission is to facilitate a learning climate which supports the educational needs of all students to achieve the academic foundation essential for success in high school, college, and life.
“We are a Title 1 school - 99% of the students are entitled to free lunch and depend on public assistance," said the principal at 323 K. "The school is a central part of the community and an oasis for many students and their families, and we want students to have a sense of belonging, and feel that they have a safe and secure place to come to every day. A lot of that comes from the building being in good condition and the hallways being bright and engaging."
However, PS 323 hasn't been able to find the extra budget dollars or the time to work on a few projects that could go a long way toward helping the school feel more like the oasis it hopes to be. On New York Cares Day, about 70 volunteers will do some gardening, organize storage closets, and paint a vibrant multicultural mural in the school's main hallway, which will all go a long way toward the school's objectives.
While the volunteer portion of New York Cares Day for Schools is focused on revitalizing public schools on October 22nd, the event is really more of a campaign dedicated to raising money to support New York Cares' education programs. Our volunteer-led programs serve more than 63,000 adults and children every year on projects designed to teach marketable job skills, improve math and reading test scores, get more high schoolers into college, and so many more valuable services to the community. Participants have been signing up and asking their friends, family and co-workers for donations for a few weeks already, and we only have three more weeks until the campaign culminates with the volunteer day in schools.