About AliciaJ

Alicia Jayo is the Director of Community Engagement at Change for Kids, mainly overseeing the organization's volunteer programs and events planning. Prior to joining the CFK team in July 2011, Alicia was the Executive Director of the Virginia Club of New York, the University of Virginia's alumni group in NYC. She now sits on the Virginia Club's Board of Directors, on its Membership & Marketing Committee, as well as serves on the Board of Directors of the Harriman Cup Polo Match and Benefit. A native of Winston-Salem, NC, Alicia moved to the city after graduating from U.Va. in 2009 with a bachelors degree in both Art History and History.

Robots invade the Bronx!

Thanks to Variety‘s incredible support, Change for Kids’ partnership with the Bronx Museum of Art provides a unique opportunity for P.S. 73 second, third and fourth graders – a chance to discover the value of art through curated exploration of various themes and mediums. Students work in small groups to examine, analyze, and eventually create their own artwork during weekly 90-minute visits to the museum. Rather than study these themes purely academically, the children gain hands-on experience interacting with and producing art, enabling them to place their own work within a larger context. The eight-week program culminates with a student art exhibit at both the museum and P.S. 73, where parents, sponsors, school and community members celebrate the kids’ incredible work.

At this year’s opening reception on Tuesday, June 5th, the museum walls were lined with everything from crayon-colored family portraits to models of local landmarks to large scale robots made from recycled cardboard boxes. Each masterpiece singularly integrated the different artistic concepts and mediums discussed throughout the residency. During the event, the students presented their artwork to doting parents and fellow classmates; sharing their creative process, the trials and tribulations of group work and the significance of the art they created. By incorporating elements of their own neighborhood into their projects (including a remarkable model of “Mets” Stadium – “The Yankees have a stadium named after them! Why shouldn’t the Mets?”), the kids were able to establish a personal connection with their work – pouring a bit of themselves into each piece. With parents looking proudly over their child’s work, and the students equipped with newly discovered artistic knowledge as evidenced by the phenomenal body of work, the residency was nothing short of a tremendous success.

P.S. 73 CFK Violin Performance

Think back to elementary school, to your first time on stage. Whether it was a chorus or band concert, a dance recital or theatrical debut, think back to the moment right before you went on: the nerves, the excitement… the utter dread (eek!).

Eon and his father, Allistair

For the kids in our violin program at P.S. 73, these emotions hit hard Monday morning as they tuned up for their end-of-year performance. Eight-year-old Eon, who has been involved in the program for almost two years, experienced the pre-stage jitters despite it being his second time around. His father, Allistair, tried to help by giving him some sage advice: “I told him to take a deep breath and just let it out. I told him, ‘You’ll do great.’”

And great he certainly did. Eon, along with 44 of his schoolmates ranging from first to fifth grade, wowed us with renditions of “Twinkle, Twinkle,” “Old MacDonald,” and the William Tell Overture. Dressed to impress in ties and flowered headbands, the students performed alongside their teacher, Julliard-trained Majid Khaliq, for the entire P.S. 73 community. Their successful show was a testament to their hard work, dedication, and practice throughout the past year.

All smiles w/ Mr. Majid!

Not to say there weren’t the occasional moments of distraction; basketball and video games sure are fun. Allistair was quick to share an adorable story of Eon’s five-year-old sister encouraging her big brother to play. “There was one time I could tell he was growing tired of practicing,” recounts Allistair, “But before I could say anything, I see my daughter put the violin in front of Eon and tell him, ‘Play something for me. Play something for ME now.’” And with that kind of support as well as the lessons of commitment and perseverance learned, we’re not the least bit nervous about Eon’s future success — in school or with bow in hand.

Congrats to all of our performers at P.S. 73 on Monday! Be sure to press ‘Play’ below to watch them in action.

We shopped ’til we dropped… hey, it’s all for the kids!

If you’re anything like us in the Change for Kids office, then you’re a sucker for good deals. And on Tuesday, May 1st, there were plenty to be found at CFK’s Spring Shopping Soirée. We shopped ’til we dropped (guilt-free!), knowing that a portion of the proceeds went to benefit our partner elementary schools.

The Shop for Kids event featured fine jewels and lace from two of the city’s most fashionable ladies. Alexis Chasman, Stylist Extraordinaire, brightened up our wardrobes with affordable, exciting jewelry; while Margaret Shrum, NYC Lingerie Expert, spotlighted items from several up-and-coming Manhattan lingerie designers.

Joining the women last minute were Douglas and Kenneth Forbes (sons of CFK Chairman and Board Member, Chris and Louise Forbes), who outfitted us with the latest colors in CFK Change Bracelets. When Kenneth learned about the event from his mother morning-of, his first thought was: “Well, I like CFK. Why can’t I come?” So he grabbed his older brother, Douglas, and set up shop, raising $110 over the course of the night.

Check out the photos below to see more from the event. A big thank you to Alexis, Margaret, Douglas and Kenneth for helping to make our Spring Shopping Soirée a success! Missed out on this event? Well don’t let it happen again, ha – sign up to stay in touch.

P.S. 243 Family Fun Field Day

Mr. Justin from FAN4Kids, awesome CFK volunteers, & adorable P.S. 243 students!

Aside from the days the school cafeteria served chicken nuggets for lunch, there was nothing I looked forward to more in elementary school than Field Day. Each spring, the entire grade would gather together on the playground for some fun in the sun. The Egg Walk; Over, Under; Dizzy Bat; Water Balloon Toss (my favorite relay race); all culminating in the final showdown: Class Tug of War.

Last Saturday, May 19th, I took part in the excitement again; this time at Change for Kids‘ inaugural Family Fun Field Day at P.S. 243 in Brooklyn. Over 75 students, parents, and community members joined CFK and FAN4Kids, our healthy living partner, for a bit of friendly competition in kickball, bowling, basketball, and — of course — a water balloon toss!

My favorite little guy of the day!

In addition to fun games and races, we provided a nutritious lunch for the kids and their families. Gone were my beloved chicken nuggets, replaced with: cucumber salad, no-mayo tuna salad (yep…you read that right…NO MAYO!), and peanut butter & banana sandwiches.

All in all, it was an incredibly successful first-go at what CFK hopes will become a much-anticipated and highly-attended annual event at each of our partner schools. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Field Day, when I can lace up, line up, and set off down the relay race track!

Cutest. Children. Ever.

Do you know your A-B-Cs?  Our Pre-K kids sure do, and they proved it this week!  For what is by far our most adorable volunteer opportunity, stellar CFK community members headed out to our four partner schools to help students make personalized ABC books.  The beyond-cute kiddos (and a few fabulous parents and grandparents) turned into perfect print models, as we took portraits of them holding props and smiling big.  The photos were then turned into stickers to place in their very own books (P is for penguin!) to take home to read with family.  Say cheese!  The A-B-Cs according to C-F-K:

Adorable 4yr old Pre-K students learning their A-B-C’s.

Books in which you are the main character!

F is for Flower!

CFK volunteers sharing their time and talents with our kids.

Dedicated families having fun together.

Everyone gets his/her very own ABC book.

Families reading together, always a good time.

Grins and smiles fill the room.

Helping each other learn the alphabet.

I  love Pearson ABC Book Days!

Join us for volunteer opportunities all year long.

Kat is actually spelled with a C.

Learning your letters is a good thing.

Making reading fun and easy.

Now!  This year’s Pearson ABC Book Days are happening this week — be sure to catch us next year.

Oh, how I wish I had a Pearson ABC Book Day when I was little.

Pearson Foundation.  Thank you for your support!

Quiet….shhhh….I’m learning to read.

Reading is fundamental.

Sticker books are my favorite!

Taking pictures to share with our friends and family.

University of Virginia, here I come. (Wahoowa!)

Victory is upon us, only four letter left…

Z is for Zebra!

We love our CFK partner schools!

X is the third least common in the English language, did you know that?

Young children can sing their A-B-Cs.

Zero letters left, can you believe it?!  Success.

The Penguin Party Sells Out: 27 Hours, 500 Tickets, 1 Incredible Cause

I have very recently become hooked on TLC’s non-award winning series, Toddlers & Tiaras. My overall impression of the show’s subjects is that they’re all off their rockers; but after watching enough episodes, I have come to realize that the pageant moms and their children are mainly acting on one of life’s simple truths: everyone likes to dress up and look good.

CFK Penguin Party FundraiserThis could not have been more evident than when The Penguin Party, CFK Junior Council’s inaugural black tie event, sold out in 27 hours. On Friday, February 24th, 500 young, affluent professionals and budding NYC socialites will gather together at the Bowery Hotel to support two CFK partner elementary schools – P.S. 243 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn and P.S. 73 in the South Bronx.  We are so grateful for the evening’s sponsors: Jefferson’s Bourbon, Sugarleaf Vineyards, and Andrew Kaftan Photography.

If you were lucky enough to snag a ticket to this season’s most exclusive gathering and are in need of dapper suit, you might also want to check out what our good friends over at Alton Lane are up to. They’re supporting CFK with generous donations for the entire month of February. If you’ve been waiting for the perfect excuse to splurge on a little formal wear, you have it. Just mention the code “Change” during your appointment, and they’ll send $100 our way.

In terms of ticket sales The Penguin Party is by far the most successful event our Junior Council has thrown to date, even with a ticket price close to triple digits. The evening will feature a full open bar, live music by the East Coast Band, and tons of dancing. Junior Council Co-Chair, Andrew Maxwell, states, “I am excited about the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve received to The Penguin Party. I think it’ll be a fun night filled with philanthropy and friends, and it will serve as an awesome introduction to the organization for those first-time CFK- event attendees. We could potentially recruit some great new members to serve on the Junior Council.”

We’re looking forward to partying with the penguins!  Thank you to our generous sponsors:

Santa Crawl 2011: It’s all for the kids!

Santa Crawl 2011

If you were wandering around lower Manhattan last Saturday looking for holiday gifts, you may have instead found holiday cheer – in the form of 40 strapping, young Santas caroling and merry-making their way through New York City.  Santa Crawl is an annual all-male bar crawl that requires participants to sport the quintessential suit, hat, and white beard all day long; and this year, the guys teamed up with Change for Kids to raise funds for our four partner elementary schools.

CFK caught up with Junior Council Co-Chair Andrew Maxwell (who, we have to admit, looks dashing in red) to recap the day’s festivities.

Q: Why did you participate in this year’s Santa Crawl?

A: What better way to enjoy the holidays than dressed in a Santa costume, singing “Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer” while going from bar to bar with a bunch of your friends?  Add that to the fact that we were raising funds for CFK, and there was no way I was going to miss it.
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Mmm…The Smell of School Supplies in the Morning

Backpacks and paper, and pencils, oh my! Over the past several months the Change for Kids office has received numerous cardboard boxes filled to the brim with school supplies. CFK staff members and interns can barely find a foothold amidst all the goodies: everything from cool new backpacks from GfK North America to personalized children’s books from our good friends at WNS. These basic classroom necessities – still with their tags and all their caps – recall the beginning of Change for Kids while hinting at its bright and exciting future.

Yay for school supplies!

CFK started in 1994 as a trust to provide school supplies to the students of P.S. 243. Since then, CFK has dramatically expanded its mission and reach, partnering with four NYC public elementary schools and supplying them with educational programs in fine arts, healthy living, and literacy. In fact, many of the donated school supplies will go to help not only  teachers, but also volunteers who support CFK programs.

The markers, sticky glue, and construction paper will help tutors in CFK’s one-on-one literacy tutoring program make reading comprehension and vocabulary exercises fun for their students. The pens and notebooks will aid CFK’s Fordham volunteers in engaging their group of 5th graders to write headlines and articles for the school newspaper. Both of these volunteer programs have seen exponential growth during the past year, with the number of participants tripling since Fall 2010.
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