On Thursday, August 20, 2020, the Office of the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., in conjunction with AT&T, The Fresh Air Fund, and the New York Public Library, hosted a pop-up “Back to School Literacy” event distributing school supplies and books to local Bronx families.
Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden, who was joined by Council Member Vanessa Gibson, helped give away over 1000 kits and books at The Fresh Air Fund Summer Spaces Program site, located at 1155 Cromwell Avenue, near P.S. 114, in the Highbridge section of the Bronx. The Fresh Air Fund’s Fresh Air Summer Spaces program was created in response to COVID-19, offering fun, free and safe play spaces for New York City children, ages 5 through 13. Fresh Air Summer Spaces allowed children the chance to enjoy safe, supervised outdoor summer activities such as arts and crafts, interactive games and dance parties.
“The global COVID-19 pandemic has created hardships for many throughout our borough and this is just one of many ways that we are easing the burdens parents face as our children get set to return to school,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. “I want to thank AT&T, the New York Public Library, and The Fresh Air Fund for helping ensure that parents, particularly those hit hard economically by the pandemic, are not overwhelmed by the need to buy supplies for their children as they get set for a new school year. It is important that we make sure we all do our part that students receive everything they need to further improve their scholastic skill-sets and reach their fullest academic potential.”
“Our city’s students faced immense challenges this year, and this back-to-school season it is more critical than ever before to connect them with the resources they need to thrive in school,” said Robin White, Director, NYC and Westchester External Affairs, AT&T. “AT&T is proud to work alongside Bronx Borough President Diaz and organizations like The Fresh Air Fund and New York Public Library to give Bronx families and students the school supplies and books they need to develop the skills that prepare them for success in and outside of the classroom.”
“We are deeply grateful to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. for his ongoing dedication and support of The Fresh Air Fund and children in The Bronx. We offer him our special thanks for spearheading the distribution of much-needed school supplies and books to enrich the lives of children,” said Fatima Shama, Executive Director, The Fresh Air Fund. “This summer more than ever before, New York City children deserve to make memories, try new things, see new places and make new friends. Through Fresh Air Summer Spaces in the Bronx, young people are experiencing the joy and freedom of safe and supervised outdoor play right in their own neighborhoods.”
“The New York Public Library is determined to support New York City students and their families as they navigate unprecedented challenges this year. While we continue to offer vital digital resources to support remote learning – including e-books, personalized virtual tutoring for grades K-12, and literacy activities – we are very grateful to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and AT&T for providing this wonderful opportunity to connect with our patrons in the Bronx, which allowed us to provide important educational materials, including books, to ensure children are receiving the support they need to succeed in school this fall,” said Brian Bannon, the Library’s chief librarian and the Merryl and James Tisch Director of Branch Libraries and Education.
About The Fresh Air Fund
The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit organization has provided free summer experiences to more than 1.8 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877.
This summer, despite the challenges presented by COVID-19, The Fund will continue to provide safe, fun, engaging and enriching experiences for New York City youth to keep the magic of summer alive through virtual and outdoor programs. Fresh Air children also participate in year-round leadership and educational programs.
For more information, please visit FreshAir.org.