Grateful Moments: KHCC's 2023 Journey of Community, Growth, and Impact

Grateful Moments: KHCC's 2023 Journey of Community, Growth, and Impact

 Reflecting with gratitude on 2023! We have had a very impactful year this year. We are thankful and proud of all the efforts and success stories that our community and staff have achieved this year.We would like to sincerely thank everyone who has been a part of KHCC and supported KHCC every step of the way.

In January, we kicked off the year with our advocacy day. On this day, we made a trip to the New York State Capitol Building in Albany. We met with New York Senators R. Jackson and Gustavo Rivera to discuss plans for keeping the afterschool program in their budget for the year. It is crucial that the New York government keeps funding afterschool programs to keep kids off the streets and ensure a safe environment for them.

Horace Mann School came in February to help out around KHCC. The high schoolers came in and assisted us in many ways. For example, they helped pack food pantry bags and participated in our Early Childhood Services. We are very thankful and greatly appreciate it because it allows our young kids to have someone to look up to and helps our teachers relieve their work for a few minutes.

In March, we welcomed our new CEO, Raye Barbieri! We are very proud and happy that she has joined our KHCC family. Raye has a long history of working at different nonprofits. She has been an amazing addition to our KHCC, tackling all road bumps with ease and the utmost professionalism. We also started planting in our garden this month. The garden is a crucial part of KHCC because we often use it for horticulture therapy and education for our young students! We also invite anyone from the community to come out and join our Second Saturday. Here, community members can get away from the busy city life and relax by digging out weeds and harvesting fruits and vegetables. Sometimes, if you are lucky enough, you could take some veggies home!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month; our youth and staff went to the Bronx County Courthouse. Here, our members marched to spread awareness to our government officials for #BronxDenimDay. Together we can break the silence and end sexual violence.

Our unforgettable fundraiser was in May! This was an incredible night; we had Dean Meminger host the night, two youth members came in and sang for us, and Rob Anderson was live painting for the auction. We want to thank everyone who came out and donated to our center. We are excited to see everyone at our 50th gala this year!

June was an action-packed month with the Neighborhood Fest and had multiple corporate volunteers come in to help. Our neighborhood festival was truly remarkable! Nearly 200 people joined us for an array of fun-filled activities. It was an incredible time for our community, offering enjoyable experiences for everyone. Adding to the enjoyment, Cam the therapy dog was there, contributing to the wonderful atmosphere. Deloitte, Valley National Bank, Fieldston, and KPMG all came in to help around the center. They helped out where we needed it the most, our food pantry. These corporate volunteers worked very well and really made a difference, either by packing pantry bags and/or handing them out in the hot summer weather!

Our amazing summer camp started in July! Our summer camp is so much fun! We have kids that have been at KHCC for years come together! Other than fun activities, we have amazing field trips! This year we went to Central Park Zoo, Billy Beez, and Rockland State Park Pool, and more!

August was a busy month for the KHCConnect program, starting their new cycles of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) and EWDP! These programs are very crucial to KHCC and to the Bronx community; they have the power to change lives. Success doesn't stop at graduation but keeps on going long after the program's time.

September is the beginning of the school year in New York, and we were very ready for our Afterschool programs! Our youth program includes multiple afterschool programs that are on the KHCC campus and at different schools around the Kingsbridge Heights area. We are proud to be a safe haven for these kids. Our teen center is a cell phone-free place where kids can be safe and have the freedom to be who they are.

In October, we had our highly anticipated harvest festival where we had hundreds of community members come together to enjoy a fall afternoon. There were a ton of activities where everyone could paint pumpkins, decorate cookies, and enter a haunted house if you dare! We are so happy that everyone came out in their amazing costumes; therapy dog Cam was very impressed. We also had Flynn, our beekeeper, come to KHCC to help us harvest the honey from our own honey bees. It was such an amazing experience being able to see firsthand how honey is extracted from the combs. We'd like to thank Flynn for your help; we couldn't do this without you!

As we geared up to conclude another year of exciting activities, November brought a heartwarming initiative to ease holiday stress in the Bronx community. We distributed over 500 hot meals and 50 frozen turkeys, extending a heartfelt thank you to the Cohen Foundation for their generous contribution. Additionally, our Changing Futures program orchestrated a walk for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, uniting staff and community members in a sea of purple to raise awareness and demonstrate unwavering support for victims. 

In December, it got very cold, but the holiday spirit of KHCC was very warm! The month was filled with fantastic news, including our successful Holiday Toy drive, the heartening Parent Journey Graduation, and KHCC's festive holiday party. Our Toy was a great success! We were able to give a gift to all of our students who are currently enrolled in our center and even extend the holiday cheer to families in our community A huge shoutout to our donors and contributors who ensured all kids had a smile for the holidays. and contributors, we were able to gift all kids of all ages, from babies to teenagers; everyone went home with a gift, seeing the look on the kids' faces truly warmed everyone's hearts! We would also want to recognize Sara Zion for their grand donation to the holiday drive. Another amazing moment was the Parent Journey graduation; it was great to see everyone's progress that they made throughout the program. The Parent Journey graduation was another highlight, celebrating the remarkable progress made by participants throughout the program. The Parent Journey program holds a unique place in our hearts as it empowers parents and fosters positive growth. 

Last but certainly not least, we wanted to express our heartfelt gratitude to the incredible KHCCrew for making it all happen. As we closed the year at the Holiday Party, we are immensely proud and thankful for the entire staff at KHCC. Your unwavering dedication, support, and love truly make KHCC an amazing place to be. Thank you for your hard work and commitment! Navigating through 2023 presented its challenges, but reflecting on the remarkable achievements we've accomplished alongside the individuals at KHCC, we're confident that we can overcome any obstacle. 

United, we've provided support in times of adversity, rejoiced in each other's successes, and, above all, stood by one another. KHCC stands as a beacon of hope, an avenue for opportunities, a home away from home, and this wouldn't be possible without the invaluable contribution of every individual who is part of our extended family.