Youth Engagement Center

Youth Engagement Center

At Change for Kids, we know all kids deserve a fair chance at success. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the odds were especially stacked against them.

Children were facing virtual learning challenges and parents were having to make the impossible choice between making a living and adequately supporting their children's learning needs.

No parent should have to choose between their child's well-being and economic security.

That's why CFK opened the South Bronx Youth Engagement Center where students had access to critical out-of-school care 10 hours per day, 5 days per week. Despite the pandemic, kids still needed and deserved opportunities to learn, explore, and grow under the care and supervision of vested adults.


CFK is committed to ensuring that when young people are not in school, they will continue to thrive. At the YEC, students received remote learning support, participated in diverse enrichment activities, and experienced immersive instruction within the community. Our comprehensive approach not only met basic needs, such as meals, technology, and adult supervision, but also provided programs that fostered the skills, connections, and awareness necessary to overcome inequity.

The Need

Virtual instruction presents challenges such as Zoom fatigue, lack of adult supervision, and language barriers. Continuous virtual learning also stunts the development of critical early childhood skills such as endurance, fine and gross motor skills, and self-regulation. These can only be fostered in-person.

Bottom Line: Parents should not have to choose between the education of their child and economic security. CFK understands this; that’s why we created the YEC that not only filled this learning gap, but also provided children with critical enrichment opportunities.

Our Model

The CFK YEC operated with a hybrid model, featuring key elements from traditional school, after school, and summer camp, to maximize impact and bridge the learning gap youth faced during the pandemic.

Our Unique Approach
  1. Social-Emotional Learning and Enrichment: CFK’s reflective curriculum is research-based and targeted. Our curriculum was designed to empower students through limitless goal setting, problem solving skills, and self discovery. CFK also strategically embedded enrichment activities that range from sports to drumming to STEM, and were all grounded in developing children’s team-building skills necessary to traverse their changing world.
  2. Academic Support: Students received at least 3 hours of academic support: help navigating virtual learning, homework help, and subject-specific tutoring. Our school partnership model allowed CFK to collaborate with schools to not only support, but also to maximize and enhance learning needs.
  3. ‘City Immersion’ extends student’s learning beyond their classrooms. CFK understands the power of immersing students into their surrounding communities to develop awareness and civic engagement at an early age.