The Hunts Point Alliance for Children Learning Toolbox Event Series was a year-long series of events throughout the Hunts Point neighborhood to celebrate literacy. The free events were hosted in collaboration with Alliance members, each providing a literacy “tool” or skill that students need to succeed in school. Each event in the series aimed to encourage a love of learning in a fun new way.
When a student attended their first event, he or she received a book bag with picture of a toolbox on it. For each event they attended, they earned a button (shown above) representing the skill they developed to attach to to the bag inside the picture of the toolbox. The button was the tool and the bag was the toolbox.
Event Series Kickoff
Story Time and Book Making Workshop with John Carl Martin of Happy Island Books
Children and families came out to the POINT in April, 2015 for a fun-filled interactive book reading with John Carl Martin of Happy Island Books. After the book reading, children were able to make their very own books inspired by the themes they discussed with John. The Bronx Children’s Museum had a button making station, Jumpstart provided ECE books and literacy resources, and the Hunts Point Branch Library spread the word about their summer event schedule. Each child left with their very own Learning Toolbox Bag and the “tools” (book buttons) to put in them.
I am Malala Community Book Club
In June, students from across Hunts Point came together to discuss the book I am Malala. The event, which was orchestrated by Ms. Hunsinger, Hyde Leadership Charter School librarian, included a discussion by Patricia McCormick, the woman who co-wrote the book with Malala. It was inspiring to see students from St. Ignatius School, MS 424, PS 48, and Hyde participate in such a meaningful dialogue.
Literacy Inc. Fair
In July, Literacy Inc. hosted two fantastic community events focused on fostering a love of reading. On July 8th, they hosted Reading on the Rails, where families met at the Hunts Point 6 Train Station to travel together City Hall, while listening to a read-aloud story and participating in other activities. At City Hall, they were joined by families from other neighborhoods around the City that took the same trip!
On July 23rd, HPAC participated in Literacy Inc.’s Literacy Fair at the Hunts Point Playground. They were joined by other local and city-wide organizations that focus on early childhood literacy.
Rocking the Boat Community Rowing
At HPAC, we know that there are many different types of literacy. For the month of July, HPAC partnered with Rocking the Boat and their Community Rowing Program to promote early childhood literacy and teach students more about the ecology of the Bronx, and Hunts Point specifically. HPAC provided nature related crafts for young students and Rocking the Boat staff brought them onto the river in the boats made by their own high school students!
Reading Rockstars Summer Reading Journal
HPAC created the Reading Rockstars program to encourage families to continue reading books after the academic school year ended. In order to combat the Summer Slide, each family was given Summer Reading Journal to keep track of the books they read together. The families that read and wrote about ten book were crowned “Reading Rockstars” and earned a free book for their home collections.
Back to School Fair
On Saturday, September 26th 2015, HPAC staff, Alliance schools and organizations, and members of the Hunts Point community celebrated the 8th annual Back to School Fair at Hunts Point Riverside Park. Over 650 people, including Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz and State Senator Jeff Klein, enjoyed music, food, school supplies, crafts, books.
Jumpstart’s Read for the Record
For Jumpstart’s Read for the Record celebration, Students across Hunts Point read the book Not Norman by Kelly Bennet and completed activities related to the book. As part of the HPAC Learning Toolbox Event Series, each participant received a Not Norman and Jumpstart pin to add to their Learning Toolbox Backpacks! We are proud to report that 586 students in Hunts Point read Not Norman and contributed to the worldwide record.
Bronx Charter School for the Arts Book Fair
In December, Bronx Charter School for the Arts hosted a Scholastic Book Fair as part of the HPAC Literacy Toolbox Event Series. Students were able to choose from a range of exciting titles, new and classic, and learn about the services that Smile NYC Program offers.
In January, families with children between the ages 1-8 were invited to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King for Friendship Day at Saint Ignatius School. The art projects and games were aimed at developing literacy skills and teaching the importance of celebrating diversity, working together as a community, and accepting each others differences. Every child that attended also received a book to commemorate the special day.