Tag Archives: New York City

+ NYC Kids Can Camp With Your Help

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Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund has been giving inner-city kids in New York the joy of a summer vacation with volunteer host families and at Fund camps, creating unforgettable memories and fresh possibilities.

Every year, nearly 10,000 New York City children enjoy free Fresh Air Fund programs.  In 2008, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada.

Three thousand children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2300-acre site in Fishkill, New York.

The Fund’s year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year.

The Fresh Air Fund is an independent, not-for-profit agency.

The Friendly Town Program

Children are selected to participate in the Fresh Air Fund Friendly Town program based on financial need.  Children from low-income communities are registered by more than 90 social-service and community organizations in all five boroughs of New York City. 

Fresh Air children are boys and girls from six- to 18-years-old.  They visit 300 Fresh Air Friendly Towns in the summer.  Children on first-time visits to Friendly Town host families are six to 12 years old and stay for up to six weeks.

The program also has a special one-week option for New York City families who would like to host children on their summer vacations in the country. 

 Over 65 percent of all children are reinvited to stay with host families year after year.  Reinvited children may continue with the Fund through age 18, and many spend the entire summer in the country.  These children and volunteer families often form bonds of friendship that last a lifetime.

Friendly Town Host Families

Host families open their homes to inner-city children for two weeks or more in the summertime.  Each Friendly Town community is supervised by a committee of volunteers.  Committee members select host families after reviewing their applications, visiting them in their homes and checking their personal references.

There are no financial requirements for hosting a Fresh Air child.  Most hosts simply want to share their homes with inner-city youngsters. 

Host families are not paid.  The Fund has a program for placing children who have special physical or emotional needs.

Fresh Air Fund Camping Program

Three thousand New York City youngsters, ages 8 to 15, attend Fresh Air camps on a 23,00-acre site in Fishkill New York. 

  • Camp Hidden Valley is for boys and girls with and without special needs who are 8- to 12-years- old. 
  • Camp Tommy is for 12- to 15-year-old boys. 
  • Camp Anita Bliss Coler is for girls who are 9 to 12. 
  • Camp Hayden-Marks Memorial is for 9- to 12-year-old boys. 
  • Camp Mariah is a coed camp for 12- to 14-year-old career campers.

Additionally, 2,000 young people participate in year-round weekend camping experiences.

Special features shared by all camps include a planetarium, model farm, wilderness trail and ropes course.  Camp Tommy is named in honor of Board member/designer Tommy Hilfiger for his dedication and support of Fresh Air children.  

Career Awareness Program

The Fresh Air Fund’s innovative Career Awareness Program is designed to help New York City youngsters understand the relationship between school and work, and how to make choices that will determine their futures.  In New York City, 12- to 14-year-olds participate in job shadowings that offer close-up views of business and a career fair.  The year-round program includes weekend camping trips and an intensive three-and-a-half week summer session at the Career Awareness Camp — Camp Mariah.

Ther career camp is named in honor of Board member/singer Mariah Carey for her dedication, support and commitment to Fresh Air Youngsters.

Career Awareness graduates continue to receive support through the PreOccupations Club and benefit from the guidance of volunteer mentors.

Vist http://www.freshair.org to volunteer or contribute to this very important project.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

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+ Poets’ Forum on Contemporary Poetry: NYC November 6-8 2008

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A forum on Contemporary Poetry is being presented in New York City in November, 2008.  Hosted by The Academy of American Poets, it will take place November 6-8, 2008, at various locations in the city.

There will be discussions and readings with Frank Bidart, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Louise Gluck, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, and C K Williams — among others.

That is an impressive list.

  • Thursday, November 6, 7PM: Poets Forum reading, with some of the most acclaimed poets of our day on one stage.
  • Friday, November 7, 10:30AM and 2:00PM: Poetry Walking Tours, exploring the literary history of the West Village, Harlem, Walt Whitman’s SoHo, and the Museum of Modern Art.
  • Friday, November 7, 7:00PM:  Poets Awards Ceremony.  Celebrate contemporary poetry and the recipients of the premier collection of awards for poetry in the United States.  There will be readings by Lucie Brock-Broido, Louise Gluck, Eamon Grennan, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Claudia Rankine, and others; a reception follows.
  • Saturday, November 8, 10:00AM – 4:00PM:  Poets’ Forum, a discussion of contemporary poetry.  Some of the most important poets of our time explore questions central to poetry today.  Four intimate panels will include Frank Bidart, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Louise Gluck, Lyn Hejinian, Sharon Olds, Ron Padgett, Carl Phillips, Robert Pinsky, Kay Ryan, Gary Snyder, Gerald Stern, Susan Stewart, Ellen Bryant Voigt, CK Williams.  Moderators are Timothy Donelly, James Longenbach, Claudia Rankine, and Tree Swenson.  This will be held at New York University. 
  • Saturday, November 8, 7:00PM:  American Poet Launch Party.  Reading and reception for the new fall issue of Americn Poet, the journal of the Academy of American Poets.  Charles Bernstein, Major Jackson and Cecily Parks will read from their work.     

Of last year’s forum the poet Robert Hass said, “Last year’s gathering of poets from all over the country and from many sets of aesthetics and practices in the fall in Manhattan, when the air was cold and Central Park glistening, felt like something between an updraft and a feast.”

For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit www.poets.org/poetsforum .  An all events pass is discounted until September 1st.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ Black History in New York City: Web Site from Columbia

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Glenn Collins wrote in the NY Times about a new Web site from Columbia University: www.maap.columbia.edu.

A Web site was officially unveiled on  March 5, 2008. 

It has been given the acronym MAAP: “Mapping the African American Experience.”  The site uses text, audio, video, maps and historical images as well as interactive maps to showcase 52 historic sites in New York City. 

They range from the familiar (the African Burial Ground in Lower Manhattan) to the rarely acknowledged, including Downing’s Oyster House at 5 Broad Street near Wall Street, and the Colored Orphan Asylum.

Downing’s Oyster House was a teeming restaurant, and in the 19th century its patrons were bankers, politicians and lawyers.  The proprietor, Thomas Downing, a free black man, presided over a far different scene downstairs in the basement: a hiding place for escaping slaves.  It was a stop on the Underground Railroad, on the way to Canada and freedom.

Stories about Downing’s and the many other locales and people significant to black history in New York City have rarely been classroom staples.

“It gives students an opportunity for detailed study in a way that would never be possible in traditional textbooks,” says Frank A Moretti, professor of communications at Teachers College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

He describes the new site as the most extensive Web-based examination of the city’s African-American history.  The site is a portal to film and music clips, photographs and artwork, and is searchable by location and year back to 1632.

The yearlong project was conceived by Reginald L Powe, a longtime developer of educational content for publishers and curriculum providers.  Powe’s Manhattan-based company, Creative Curriculum Initiatives, has produced boxed sets of 52 cards (3 1/2 by 5 inches) depicting hisorical locations under the rubric “The African Experience in New York.”

“As an African-American interested in history,” says Powe, “I found it hard to understand why so much of the city’s African-American past was unknown to students.  People know little about slave revolts and people burned at the stake — and about inspirational stories of those who advanced at impossible odds.”

A thousand sets of the cards will be made available free to schools in New York City.  They will be offered for sale to the public for $24, which is “the price reputed to have been paid for Manhattan,” says Powe.

To create the Web site, more information, images and video interviews were added by educators in Columbia’s Center for New Media Teaching and Learning.  

Dr Moretti, the center’s executive director, says the project was initially financed with $250,000 from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, and then Columbia contributed $250,000 in development and staff expenses to produce the site and teaching materials.

Dr Margaret S. Crocco, professor and coordinator of social studies education at Teachers College, directed a team of eight educators to create 24 free, downloadable lesson plans at eighth- and fourth-grade levels.   The images and information can be dragged, manipulated and otherwise organized by students for projects and teacher creating their own lesson plans.

The site is evidence of “the significant awakening of interest in New York’s black history,” says Kenneth T Jackson, the Jacques Barzun professor of history at Columbia, and the editor in chief of the Encyclopedia of New York City.

“This site should just keep expanding,” he says.

Here’s hoping other cities follow suit.

sole source: Glenn Collins’s article in the NY Times on 3/6/08.  www.nytimes.com

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or email  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

+ Ancient Greece — New Show at Children’s Museum in Manhattan

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“Gods, Myths and Mortals: Discover Ancient Greece” is a 4,000 square foot exhibition that just opened The Children’s Museum of Manhattan.  It will continue through December 2008.

The show presents an odyssey that is physical, historical, cultural and technological.  And it IS the Odyssey — Homer’s “Odyssey” –with a section that lets your child navigate a virtual ship on a floor-to-ceiling screen through a hailstorm of boulders, or walk a curving balance beam between Scylla and Charybdis, and negotiate through other challenges as she or he journeys home to Ithaca!

Andrew Ackerman, the museum’s executive director, says, “It’s our first major exhibition about antiquity, and the first time we’ve displayed ancient archeological artifacts.”  Among other things, there will be ancient coins, and a 6th-century amphora . 

The museum has collaborated with five universities, the Greek government, the History Channel (which produced three videos), and a panel of about 15 scholars.  There was extensive research with 8- to 11-year-olds.

This show is opening only a month after the newly renovated Greek and Roman galleries just across Central Park (at the Metroplitan Museum).  The timing was not planned, but the museum feels that this experience will provide a context to make visits to the Met more understandable.  One child in the research group had asked, “Didn’t the Greeks do anything but make statues?”

“Our goal was not to separate art from history from science from philosophy,” said Mr Ackerman.  “Traditionally, when you go  to an art museum, you only see art.  At a history museum, only history.  But in ancient Greece, it was all of a piece.  We wanted that holistic experience.”

There are four sections, which focus on two main periods: the late Bronze Age (about 1500 to 1200 BC) and the Classical Period (about 480-323 BC).  The first area, “The Gods of Olympus”, includes a video introduction to Greek culture, narrated by Zeus, Poseidon and Athena.

There are also digital quizzes about the gods, and a chance to play 20 questions with Aristotle, a talking bust.

In the second section, “Growing Up Greek”, household life is introduced, as well as the gymnasium or school; there are stations that explain the importance of weaving (and a loom to try).  Greek emphasis on physical fitness is shown, and you can arm-wrestle with a mechanical hand.

“The Odyssey” begins with a huge Trojan horse, whose multi-level interior is open for climbing.  As your child journeys, he will visit the cave of Polyphemus (the Cyclops) and animatronic sheep will bleat when he crawls beneath them, as Odysseus did, to escape. 

Some of the experiences come in digital form: a game that presents situations from the Odyssey and asks players to choose among strategies (the game then gives feedback).  Megan Cifarelli, assistant professor of art history at Manhattanville College and the exhibition’s curator, says “It’s the ideal of the examined life.  We want them to reflect on their decisions.”

In the last section, “Discovering Greece”, there are models and digitized explorations of Greek science and architecture; a display links Greek forms to contemporary buildings (the White House), Greek discoveries to modern research, and ancient Greek language to English words.

Dr Cifarelli stressed the insistence on authenticity.  The Greek government provided replicas of objects; the museum contracted for a model of the reconstructed Antiythera Mechanism, the geared navigational device from 150 to 100 BC, which has been nicknamed the world’s first computer.

“Something that bothers me in children’s illustrations of the ancient world is that, to make them appealing, they feel they have to make them not Greek,” said Dr Cifarelli.  Every image here is actually based on, or inspired by an ancient artwork.

The museum faced some thorny questions: whether to water down the truth about Greek life.  They ultimately favored realism: no fig leaves on illustrations of male athletes; it is clear that Greek households had slaves; warfare is (bloodlessly) addressed.

“The history of humanity is the history of conflict,” Dr Cifarelli said.  “And we didn’t want to pretend that it was great to be a woman in 5th-century BC Athens.”  Children learn that girls were not allowed an education, and were confined to the home until they married at thirteen.

There are some comic elements.  Lead bullets (shot from sling-shot devices) , it is explained, were often inscribed with the ancient equivalent of the word “Ow!”  There is a karaoke machine, and children can pretend to sing with the Sirens: familiar pop with mischievous new lyrics.  Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” becomes “He Will Survive” — Odysseus, that is.  He should have run into those rocks — He should have slipped into that sea — If we’d known he’d make it this far — We’d have tried to sing on key…

Lucky the child – and the adult – who gets to experience this show. 

“Gods, Greeks and Mortals” runs through December 2008 at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, at the Tisch Building, 212 West 83rd St; 212-721-1223.  Then it goes on a national tour, beginning in Chicago.  My sole source is an article by Laurel Graeber in the NY Times on 5/23/07.

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or  aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com