Children’s Aid’s Kids Celebrate Black History Month

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Youth at The Children's Aid Society’s community schools and centers across New York City are in the midst of a series of celebrations and community service projects in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday in January and February’s Black History Month.

On February 27th nine Children’s Aid community schools in Washington Heights, East Harlem and the Bronx will hold their annual African American and Dominican Heritage Celebration at the Salomé Ureña de Henríquez Middle Academies Campus community school. The evening will kick off with an open house featuring displays, costumes and food from two villages – one in West Africa and one in the Dominican Republic. Parents and community members will then be treated to performances, including dance, songs and music, by 200 children from the nine participating community schools.

At the Frederick Douglass Center in Harlem, youth are constructing an interactive timeline of events beginning with slavery in the U.S. and continuing to Barack Obama’s election. In January, the center launched a food and clothing drive. Teens designed posters for this community service project.

Children at the Drew Hamilton Learning Center, also in Harlem, created a mural for the center’s lobby entitled “I Am the Future” to illustrate their plans for creating a better world. For their community service, the children made get-well cards for patients at Harlem Hospital.

Youth at Children’s Aid’s East Harlem Center presented a show in January featuring poetry and a performance of a scene from a Langston Hughes play. Center participants also created a “The Color of Our Dreams” project: younger children wrote about their dreams, based on MLK’s dream, and the older adolescents wrote about how they plan to change the world, based on Obama’s Yes We Can campaign. The youth created Black History bingo and visited two senior centers in the community to play the game and sing with the residents.

On Inauguration Day, the younger children at the Philip Coltoff Center in Greenwich Village created arts and crafts projects representing their dreams of change. Older children participated in workshops featuring readings of Dr. King’s words.

Not only are all these children celebrating African-American heritage, they are heeding President Obama’s call to action for volunteers. The students are learning that taking an active role in their community and helping others is very important.

Pictured above: Students created a bulletin board in the lobby of Children’s Aid’s Drew Hamilton Learning Center in Harlem.