Face painting, All-you-can-eat hot dogs, and a Justin Bieber dance off? Sign us up!

Last Saturday 25 fifth grade students from P.S. 73 loaded a bus in the Bronx and landed 35 minutes later at the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Long Island City. As a reward for their hard work and excellent participation all semester in our Bronx Museum of Art and Story Pirates programs, these students were treated to a fun-filled day hosted entirely by our amazing friends at the Variety Children’s Charity.* Every year Variety throws an all day bash for all of the organizations who they work with throughout the city to celebrate the holidays, and this year we were incredibly proud and honored to join in the festivities.
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Awesome CFK Partner Alert

Huge thanks to Emer Kirrane and the Analysis Exchange for hooking us up with some much needed intelligence about our website use and traffic. The Analysis Exchange provides on-the-job training for those interested in web analysis, while offering free analytical insight to non-profit organizations – which means that we get highly valuable information about our communications AND the world gets a little web-savvier. Here’s the quick and dirty version from Emer’s website:

The process takes two or three weeks and begins with the goals for the project being determined between mentor and organisation.  The student then steams ahead with an analysis based on these goals, tapping the mentor for advice and feedback along the way.  At the end of the period, the findings are presented to the organisation and then everyone breaks for ice-cream before grading each other on their participation (a highly exciting back-to-school feeling).

Read more about the partnership here.

Holiday Update from Knovel

From the CFK Board Chairman, Chris Forbes, the CEO of Knovel. Thanks to Chris and all the great employees at Knovel, CFK was able to provide a special surprise this holiday season for the families in need at P.S. 160 in Jamaica, Queens.

Crowds are not new to Manhattan, yet getting to Knovel’s New York City office during this busy holiday season is a bit more challenging than usual. You have to maneuver your way through throngs of people who are shopping, gawking at festively decorated windows, and milling around Rockefeller Center to see the tree and ice skaters. It’s a season of giving and receiving in a year that has challenged many.

In this context, I reflect upon what I’ve accomplished personally and professionally as one year ends and another begins. From a business perspective, Knovel has had a strong year measured by 90%+ subscription renewals, new customers, team growth, on-time product development and good employee morale in a tough year. Our planning for 2010 is in high gear, and the bar is high. So my time has lately been dominated by budget negotiations, sales projections and product planning meetings. In this swirl of activity, it was important for me not to loose sight of the value of spending quality time with family and giving back to the community.

I’ve been involved with Change for Kids for many years and currently serve as the Chairman of the Board.  It’s been a rewarding experience. We partner with New York City public schools to bring underprivileged children enrichment programs, such as literacy, arts, music, and fitness, that engage them in a way that their proficiency in core programs (e.g., math and reading) sees measurable improvement. Over 85% of the families that send their children to the schools we support live below the “poverty line,” so they would not have access to these programs without Change for Kids (CFK). Through the 14 years of our existence, we have seen many lives changed for the better. Take a look at this video, and you’ll get a sense for what we do.

As you consider your personal and professional goals for 2010, I encourage you to support a charity or cause you are passionate about. Volunteer your time, donate toys, books, or clothes. Raise awareness about an organization or issue. The possibilities are endless. Cash donations, while always welcome, are increasingly difficult for people to make. Don’t underestimate the value your of enthusiasm, time, talent and insight.

Every holiday season the Vice-Principal of P.S. 160, a 90% poverty-rate school situation in Jamaica, Queens makes an effort to provide something special for her most-needy students and their families. This year Knovel employees sponsored 10 families from P.S.160 donating children’s clothes, toys and books. Here’s Mike Quinzio, our program director, delivering gifts last week.

CFK Quinzio

We’ll keep you posted on all of our community activities throughout the year.

In the meantime, if you are interested in Change for Kids, you might consider reading to our children, helping out in our offices, or  taking part in one of many other activities – check out these volunteer opportunities.

Happy New Year!