Spanish class is not usually where you learn about the problems faced by your local community. I was fortunate to have a teacher who spoke of real issues such as poverty. Her lesson caused me to do my own research at home, where I learned about Buffalo’s shocking childhood poverty rate.
More than 47 percent of children in Buffalo are living in poverty. That is a concerning statistic when the future of our city is the future of the children living in it. With almost half of our children living in poverty, how do we ensure they have the resources they need to succeed? My answer to this question, as a 16-year-old, was founding For Every Little Handprint, a 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to serving children experiencing poverty.
For Every Little Handprint strives to promote literacy, preserve creativity, relieve an economic burden through school supplies, and provide mentorship.
This summer, the organization will be holding workshops focusing on channeling creativity. One of these workshops is “dream-boarding” at Camp Peaceprints, a camp organized by one of Unite by Night’s previous community partners.
We have had more than 200 applicants from 20-plus schools for our school supplies program, and are currently seeking donors to help support as many families as we can. Our school supplies program is different than others as we work with each child’s school to provide the supplies on each individual’s supply list rather than a standard package.
In October, we will have our first cohort of our mentorship program. The program will serve up to ten eighth-grade students in Buffalo as they transition into high school. Each student will be matched with a young professional in a career field similar to what the student aspires to become. Each monthly session will be held at a different location in Buffalo to expose students to parts of their community they may not have had the opportunity to discover otherwise.
We are extremely excited at For Every Little Handprint to be Unite by Night’s year three community partner! Collaboration between passionate people is a powerful way to create change in our city.
“Childhood, after all, is the first precious coin that poverty steals from a child.”