FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 13, 2018
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CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF MANHATTAN EXPANDS PARTNERSHIP WITH CITY'S DEPARTMENT OF HOMELESS SERVICES
Grants Totaling $275,000 Bring "Health and Learning Hubs" and Museum Programs to More City Shelters
NEW YORK—The Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM) and the New York City Department of Homeless Services today announced they are expanding their collaborative partnership to improve quality of life for homeless New Yorkers by replicating CMOM's successful early childhood health and learning hub model inside two additional homeless shelters serving families with children. The Children's Museum will also expand its programming for staff and families at shelters. This expansion is made possible through $200,000 in grants from Target Corporation (NYSE: TGT) and a $75,000 grant from New York Community Trust.
The Children's Museum's health and learning hubs bring permanent museum-quality installations, wall graphics, and hands-on education programs focused on developing healthy lifestyles and literacy to underserved communities. In addition to installations and educational programming, families will also receive a free one-year CMOM membership. Two new hubs at Park Avenue Manor Family Shelter (Brooklyn) and Hamilton Family Residence (Manhattan) will open this spring, with two additional hubs to be installed by fall 2018, bringing the total number of hubs installed in City shelters for families with children to 18.
"At the Department of Homeless Services, we are committed to raising the bar for families experiencing homelessness as they get back on their feet," said Department of Homeless Services Administrator Joslyn Carter. "The Children's Museum's colorful graphics, fun interactives, and joyful programming for families and children reinforce our dedication to encouraging healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and learning—and exemplify how innovative collaborations are helping us transform a haphazard shelter system decades in the making. We are thankful to the Children's Museum of Manhattan, Target, and The New York Community Trust for their partnership, allowing this extraordinary initiative to reach even more New Yorkers in need."
"Our work with the NYC Department of Homeless Services is a fundamental expression of the Children's Museum's commitment to serving all New York City's families," said Andrew S. Ackerman, Executive Director of the Children's Museum of Manhattan. "We believe that culture, the arts, health, and learning are vital for all our citizens in every borough and neighborhood. We are grateful to Target and The New York Community Trust for their ongoing support of this important work."
In addition to enhancing quality of life in four more shelters for families with children by introducing dedicated educational installations that teach about health and wellness, the grant funding provides for Children’s Museum staff to conduct programs for families and shelter staff at all 18 shelter locations, utilizing CMOM's EatPlayGrow™ curriculum created in conjunction with the National Institutes of Health. The curriculum emphasizes strategies for healthy, affordable living. Programs will feature hands-on art activities, literacy, music, and dance and will offer information about nutrition, physical activity, and the importance of sleep. The program participants will enjoy a family festival as well as free museum memberships.
In addition, the grant from the New York Community Trust will fund an expansion of family programs and professional training for staff to another five shelters new to the Children's Museum outreach. Programs and training at these five additional locations will also be based on CMOM's EatPlayGrow™ curriculum and will include activities and materials from CMOM's new All the Way to K and Beyond (ATWTK) initiative developed with NYC Department of Education and Administration of Children’s Services. ATWTK offers free literacy resources for parents and caregivers to help prepare children from birth to five years of age for learning and school. To date, CMOM has introduced their educational curriculum to a total of 23 transitional housing facilities across the city, which together serve approximately 2,500 families experiencing homelessness each day, comprised of more than 7,500 New Yorkers.
"When caregivers help young children make healthy choices and develop language skills, they’re making smart investments in promising futures," said Natasha Lifton, Senior Program Officer, The New York Community Trust. "Supporting early childhood development for those most in need is a core value at The New York Community Trust, which is why we’re thrilled to fund this effort."
"Research showed that by transforming the environment with compelling, fun graphics and engaging interactive elements, we were able to reinforce important health and literacy messages for all types of learners," said Leslie Bushara, Deputy Director of Education at CMOM. "This repetition, at home, at school and in the community, makes it easier for parents and children to grasp, remember and put into action what they’ve learned."
CMOM's work with New Yorkers experiencing homelessness began more than 18 years ago with an innovative program that welcomed teen mothers and their children to the museum for a weekly writing, arts and parenting workshop. Over the years, thousands of mothers and children in need have benefitted from this program, which continues to be offered at the Museum today.
CMOM and the Department of Homeless Services began their learning-hub partnership in December 2014, opening the first installations in Spring 2015 at a NYC Department of Homeless Services transitional housing locations in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.
"Our city is blessed with so many amazing cultural and educational institutions like the Children’s Museum of Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "It's important that we make the most of this resource, forging more partnerships like this one to enrich the lives of children and families in need."
"The epidemic of homelessness in our City is a heartbreaking reality for so many families across the five boroughs, and can have particularly devastating effects on children," said Council Member Mark Levine. "Providing resources to ease the burden of homelessness on even just one child can make a world of difference, and I'm thrilled that the Children's Museum of Manhattan and Department of Homeless Services are partnering to address that challenge. The new Health and Learning Hub in Harlem will be an invaluable educational resource for countless families and I look forward to the program’s opening this fall."
"When I saw the Museum here doing healthy activities with the kids, I thought it was great," said Orlando Cotto, former shelter resident. "They are opening up their creativity and learning about vegetables! They got something really good going on here."
In addition to Target and The New York Community Trust, funding for the health and learning hub initiative and related programming was provided by Morgan Stanley Foundation, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Walmart Foundation, and Chapparal Foundation.
About the Department of Homeless Services
The Department of Homeless Services (DHS) works to prevent homelessness before it occurs, address street homelessness and assist homeless New Yorkers in transitioning from shelter and the street to permanent housing. DHS collaborates with not-for profit partners to provide temporary shelter and services that homeless New Yorkers need to achieve and maintain housing permanency. In April 2016 Mayor de Blasio announced a major restructuring of homeless services in New York City, followed by the release of a comprehensive plan in February 2017 to turn the tide on homelessness, neighborhood by neighborhood. The plan’s guiding principle is community and people first; giving homeless New Yorkers, who come from every community across the five boroughs, the opportunity to be sheltered closer to their support networks and anchors of life in the communities they called home in order to more quickly stabilize their lives.
About Children’s Museum of Manhattan
The non-profit Children's Museum of Manhattan (CMOM)—a citywide resource for children, families, and educators—creates experiences at the intersection of the arts, sciences, and humanities to help children thrive at home, at school, and in the community. Based on West 83rd Street, the Museum creates hands-on learning environments, programs, and curriculums built on evidence-based early childhood research and the museum sciences. In addition to its commitment to delight and educate visitors, the Museum offers tools and strategies for parents, caregivers, and educators to help children become lifelong learners. Thousands more New Yorkers benefit from the Museum’s offerings through its outreach programs at schools, Head Start centers, homeless shelters, libraries, and hospitals. In 2017, CMOM purchased 361 Central Park West. The new site is expected to open in late 2021. www.cmom.org
About The New York Community Trust
The New York Community Trust connects past, present, and future generous New Yorkers with vital nonprofits working to make a healthy, equitable and thriving community for all. It is a public grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. Visit us at nycommunitytrust.org.