Arts for All of Brooklyn's Special Kids
(Credit: Kate Milford, Extreme Kids and Crew)
Helping Kids Be...Kids!
Investing in the Subway Sleuths program would be a way to marry the Community Foundation’s support for special needs communities with our dedication to expanding arts and cultural opportunities to all Brooklynites.
It was an irresistible opportunity for us as funders to take the lead in fostering the program’s development, and to see what seemed like a natural fit—the structure and predictability of the subway system and autism’s characteristic attention to detail and focus—come to life here in Brooklyn, the home for great ideas.
In 2010, through our Arts for All Fund, we gave NYTM a $5,000 startup grant for Subway Sleuths, and last year, we upped our support through a $10,000 challenge grant.
The program now runs as a 10-week session twice a year, with structured lessons about trains and subways, guided exploration of the Museum, group projects, and a final “Subway Sleuths Super Party” for students to present their work and celebrate with family and friends. By interviewing participants in advance of the program, teachers are able to individualize their lesson plans to match the cognitive and developmental levels of the group and individual participants.
Participants take a guided tour of the New York Transit Museum at the “Special Day for Special Kids” event
Lessons use the language of the subway to teach social skills, like “getting off track” in a social situation, a common issue among individuals with spectrum disorders. Instructors also discuss how sometimes people get distracted or take “a detour,” and what it means to be “on board.”
Last December, following our meeting with the new Bed-Stuy-based, parent-run nonprofit Extreme Kids & Crew, which provides enrichment programs for children with disabilities, we too had a great idea: connect the two groups doing complementary work, and see if they could work together.
The result: A “Special Day for Special Kids” at the New York Transit Museum on January 22nd. More than 230 children and adults attended the event and enjoyed free and reduced admissions, art projects, live music, and a scavenger hunt—in an environment where kids could be themselves and parents could relax knowing their special kids would be fully appreciated and understood.
- New York Transit Museum Assistant Director Marcia Ely
As ActionPlay’s first funder, it’s another example of the emphasis we place on creating new resources and funding new ideas here in Brooklyn.
Students from the Rebecca School at the Brooklyn Museum with ActionPlay
In mid-January, ActionPlay led its first group of students from the Rebecca School on a field trip, highlighted by a hands-on sculpture making project.
“Brooklyn Community Foundation values children that see the world in a unique way. The Brooklyn Museum partnership with Actionplay, supported by an ‘Arts for All’ grant, is creating a museum experience that respects children with autism and developmental disabilities’ unique sensitivities,” said ActionPlay Founder and Director Aaron Feinstein. “I love the title ‘Arts for All,’ it really says just what we are striving to create in our partnership with the Brooklyn Museum—arts for children with autism and developmental disabilities, and respect for ALL children as unique, creative, and awesome!”
What's Happening Across Brooklyn
Here are a few highlights of news and events we’ve shared with our followers this week. Don’t miss a thing! Like us at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn and follow us at Twitter.com/DoGoodBklyn.
Brownsville Youth Court Featured in the Daily News
The paper visits our grantee partner the Center for Court Innovation's Brownsville Community Justice Center (which we supported with a $25,000 grant in 2011) for a profile on their Teen Court. Read it here.
New E-Waste Recycling Center for Brooklyn!
This week, the Lower East Side Ecology Center opened a permanent e-waste collection center at 469 President Street in Gowanus. The center is open Tuesday - Saturday to accept your unwanted electronics. More info, including a list of accepted materials here.
Brooklyn Greens: "Greening from the Ground Up" - Note the New Date and Location!
Build a Better Brooklyn
Please take a moment to cast your vote for Brooklyn Community Foundation in Bay Ridge Toyota's Build a Better Brooklyn Facebook contest. The dealership will give the winning charity a percentage of the proceeds from every car sold during the first quarter of this year. Vote here!