In August 2015, the YAB traveled to the NJY Camp in Milford, PA for a productive and fun weekend retreat where they evaluated their work from the past year and clarified their goals for the coming year. Highlights included “show and tell” around the campfire, flying high on the zip line, hitching rides on passing golf carts, and untangling the human knot!
On August 23-24, 2013 New Yorkers For Children Youth Advisory Board (YAB) participated in their first group retreat at the Fairview Lake YMCA in Newton, NJ. This retreat provided an opportunity for YAB members to reflect on their work this past year and plan for the upcoming school year.
This jam packed weekend included team building activities and project management workshops led Ysette Guevara of Minds On Fire (http://www.minds-on-fire.org). The YMCA staff also led the group through a challenging high ropes course. A campfire with s’mores and ghost stories topped off the weekend’s activities. When they were not in their workshops, YAB members were able to explore the beautiful hiking trails of the YMCA, swim in Fairview Lake, and play basketball and volleyball.
This quick trip outside the city provided an excellent opportunity for YAB reflect on their progress and prepare for another exciting year.
On May 19, 2012, the NYFC Youth Advisory Board (YAB), sponsored by Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy, planned and organized a Dr. Seuss themed literacy event called ‘The Reading Road’ for young children in foster care. Throughout the morning, children traveled from station to station, overcoming obstacles, exploring new possibilities and cultivating a love for reading. Special guests Lauran and Justin Tuck joined YAB members, NYFC Young Associates, and NYFC volunteers to share stories, games, and crafts with children in foster care.
The event began with a reading and dramatic interpretation of Dr. Seuss’s ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ to demonstrate that reading is both fun and essential for a bright future. Children then enjoyed face painting, crafting their own books and bookmarks and games to practice their vocabulary and letters. While children read and played, their foster parents enjoyed stress-relieving yoga with NYFC Friends Committee member Rory Hermelee and participated in a workshop lead by Jumpstart, demonstrating how to encourage reading in their households. Every child in attendance left with a copy of Justin Tuck’s children’s book, ‘Home-Field Advantage’, an ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ pop-up book and a backpack filled with a comforting stuffed animal and warm blanket, all of which were donated by the Tuck family and NYFC supporters.
On June 19, 2010, New Yorkers For Children’s Youth Advisory Board (YAB) volunteered at the the face painting booth for children with severe disabilities at the 5th Annual New Alternatives for Children (NAC) Kids Olympics. Larry Harris, Nicole Esposito, and Arlenis Sosa were on hand to show their support. Over 600 NAC children and family members participated in activities including relay races (with and without wheelchairs), rock-climbing, soccer and gymnastics at Chelsea Piers. These activities enable NAC’s special children to overcome physical and mental obstacles, meet new challenges and build self-esteem; as well as experience team spirit and healthy competition, get lots of exercise, and, most importantly, have a memorable and fun day as parents and friends cheer them on. Most of NAC’s children are living in poverty; many have had more surgeries than birthdays; and too many have lived the first years of their life in sterile hospital wards, not out of medical necessity but because their families could not care for them at home.
The YAB is a group of high school and college students in foster care who serve as advocates for youth in foster care in New York City. They meet at NYFC once a month to plan events and programs that positively impact younger children in foster care. The YAB also advises NYFC on the needs and desires of older youth in foster care and provides an opportunity for these youth to meet and socialize with one another.
On Monday, March 29, 2010, New Yorkers For Children Youth Advisory Board and Friends Committee members gathered at Exhale Spa to host the first ever Youth For Yoga event to benefit younger children in foster care in New York City. More than 25 youth in foster care (ages 7-10) and 10 Youth Advisory Board members participated in the yoga class, which was led by an instructor from Yo-Yoga. New Yorkers For Children supporters Marisa Arredondo, Jen Creel, Selita Ebanks, Susan Shin and Rory Hermelee were also in attendance to learn fun and relaxing yoga exercises. The hour-long class flew by as the youth and Friends tested out a variety of yoga techniques and poses, including Selita Ebanks’ personal favorite: the “half moon.”
The New Yorkers For Children Youth Advisory Board (YAB), a group of high school and college students in foster care who serve as advocates for youth in care, proposed the Youth for Yoga event as their spring community service project. YAB worked with the Friends Committee to plan the class, which was intended to help younger children in foster care learn how to manage their emotions through yoga.
Special thanks to Exhale for generously providing both their Yoga and Core Fusion Studios for the class. Additional support was provided by Alternative Apparel and Vitaminwater.
The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) supports New Yorkers For Children by shaping public awareness and perceptions of children and youth in foster care, and inspiring peers to become advocates in their communities. YAB collaborates with other programs for positive youth development, education, and professional success, while inspiring New Yorkers of all ages and walks of life to strengthen society.