New York City Celebrates Third Annual "Day of the Child"
Wyclef Jean and Coolio Join Children Uniting Nations and New York City Children’s Services in Mentor Recruitment Event
New York City celebrated its third annual “Day of the Child” today at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, where approximately 400 children and 200 adults who are interested in learning about mentoring came together for the City’s annual event to recruit mentors for children in foster care.
The Day of the Child brought caring New Yorkers together with children ages 4 to 18 who are involved with the Administration for Children’s Services’ (ACS) foster care, childcare and Head Start programs. Adult volunteers had the opportunity to learn more about how to make a difference in the life of a child through mentoring as they enjoyed musical performances, games and interactive activities with small groups of young participants.
“It only takes one person willing to give of his time and of himself to have a positive impact on a child’s life,” said Commissioner Mattingly. “The Administration for Children’s Services works every day to find support for the young people in our care. That’s why I particularly would like to thank all our partners for their contribution to the Children’s Services Mentoring Action Plan.”
The first Day of the Child celebration was held by Children Uniting Nations in Los Angeles six years ago. This event is designed to bring awareness and support to the needs of children who by no fault of their own are living in out of home care. In 2002, the nonprofit organization brought the event to New York City to expand mentoring opportunities for youth in foster care and raise awareness about the challenges faced by these young people.
“Every child deserves a caring adult in his or her life who is there as a guide for a long time,” said Daphna Edwards Ziman, founder and chair of Children Uniting Nations.
The New York Daily News has been a proud sponsor of this effort since its inception in 2001. Hundreds of holiday plush toys and Chicken McNuggets donated by the McDonald’s New York Tri-State Owner/Operator Association were one of the many treats provided to add to this positive experience. Sponsors for the 2004 New York City Day of the Child celebration include the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Pepsi Cola, McDonald’s and WB11. Collaborating partners include Mentoring Partnership of New York, Mentoring USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters New York City and New Yorkers For Children.
"The Daily News is very pleased to be involved in this program that does so much to support and encourage children in foster care in our City," said Les Goodstein, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Daily News. "We're delighted that by the reach of our paper, we've been able to recruit so many people interested in serving as mentors to these kids, who need and deserve the love and guidance of adults in their lives."
WB11 weatherman Mr. G acted as master of ceremonies for the event, introducing musical performers Wyclef Jean and Coolio, as well as speakers including Commissioner Mattingly, Mrs. Ziman, Sharon Davis, former first lady of California and Children Uniting Nations CEO, and Mentoring USA founder Matilda Cuomo. The event also offered workshops providing information on mentoring to parents, staff and other adults involved with children’s services, ACS “Circles of Support” groups for foster parents, stress relief and MetroPlus Health Plan.
Children’s Services’ Central Mentoring Office will follow up with volunteers to introduce them to future mentoring opportunities. The Central Mentoring Office works with partners in the NYC mentoring community to match youth living in foster care with mentors by acting as a clearinghouse for referrals, disseminating best practice on mentoring programs and raising public awareness.
Out of the more than 20,000 young people currently living in foster care, only 655 are in mentoring relationships. Many more are on waitlists due to a need for more mentors, especially men of color. Research has shown that young people with mentors are more likely to have greater self-esteem and feel hopeful about their future than their peers who do not have mentors. As a result, these children are less likely to use illegal drugs and alcohol or skip school, and are more likely to enroll in college and give back to the community by getting involved in community service.
To learn more about mentoring a child in foster care in New York City, visit www.nyc.gov/acs
or call 311.