New York City Children’s Theater is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund our Literature at Play workshops in homeless shelters as part of the After School Reading Club (ARC). But what is ARC?

This year, the Department of Education (DOE) is piloting Afterschool Reading Club (ARC). ARC is a new literacy enrichment program for elementary school students living in shelters. The program was piloted in 18 shelters in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens throughout the school year.

Afterschool Reading Club meets three days a week for 3 hours a day, and is taught by DOE teachers.

For 20 years, New York City Children’s Theater has been dedicated to reaching all children in NYC with innovative theater programs that enhance their social, emotional, and educational gains. We work in over 70 public schools each year, serving approximately 15,000 students. We are honored to be chosen as a partner in this important program

Brooke Boertzel, Director of Education

The pilot program began in October and reached hundreds of students and their families within the first six weeks. Overall there are 1,400 students in grades K-5 living in these 18 shelters.

In addition to New York City Children’s Theater, the DOE partnered with Studio in a School, The New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library for this program.

“As a longtime elementary school teacher and principal, I know how critical building an early foundation in literacy is – it’s truly the foundation of equity and excellence in education. The Afterschool Reading Club pilot demonstrates our commitment to reaching every student and family and meeting their needs.”

“We know that homeless families need more than a roof over their heads. That’s why we are proud to partner with the Department of Education and others to promote literacy and provide other critical educational support for children living in shelter.”

“The Afterschool Reading Club is welcome news for elementary school students living in temporary housing. It is crucial that we provide our city’s most vulnerable children with sound early literary instruction.  This important pilot demonstrates New York City’s commitment to equipping all students with the knowledge they need to achieve academic excellence and promising career opportunities. I am pleased to support this exciting project.”

“There are far reaching educational consequences when children are being raised in a shelter system that often falls short of providing the nurturing and encouraging environment they need to succeed. Genuine initiatives like–   Afterschool Reading Club –   are not only an essential part of effectively responding to the City’s ongoing housing crisis, but reflects commitment to curtailing the crisis level chronic absenteeism of Bronx school children living in homeless shelters”

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Homeless Shelters


Children Served

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