Social studies class

In NYC, second graders learn about the city’s history and immigration — you can’t be a New York kid and not notice the different languages and foods and music going on all around you, so when you hit second grade, the lesson is a natural one. You have some questions and you have some opinions.

Today at the kitchen, we hosted two second grade classes from Ethical Culture Fieldston School. Let me tell you — they had opinions. We started by talking a bit about immigrants in general and asked if anyone in the class had been born in a different country. (This led to a quick discussion about whether Tarrytown could technically be considered a different country.) We discussed some of the reasons that people leave their homes and come to New York. We talked about the food we’d miss if we had to leave NYC (I was expecting pizza and bagels so was surprised to hear Jersey Mike’s and YoBurger. As well as a brief, unbidden monologue about the excellence of the musical Hamilton.)


A student’s question led the discussion to shelters and why food banks like ours exist. All kids are familiar with volunteering, of course, and these kids already have plans to be lifelong givers. One young man plans to write a bestseller and use the proceeds to buy a lot of gaming platforms and then donate the balance of his royalties to hospitals. And to the Bronx Zoo. Bravo, confident young writer! 

A box full of care packages


Donations were on their minds — their families had generously sent along a lot of toiletries and items that some of our asylum seeker regulars need the most. This morning, the kids and teachers filled lots of reusable bags with a selection of new socks, t-shirts, toothpaste and toothbrushes, razors, deodorant, baby wipes and combs. The bags (pictured on the right, above) will be distributed with EVLovesNYC meals and will be much appreciated. Thanks, you thoughtful Fieldston goofballs.

making a care package

Down in Chinatown, a generous group of elementary school kids involved in the nonprofit Apex for Youth program also just completed a study on migration, asylum, the concept of shelter and, importantly, how local communities step up and provide help to new arrivals. Their teachers, who follow EVLovesNYC on Instagram, asked how their students could collaborate with our organization and learn more about being positive agents of change in their own community. The teachers developed an impressive lesson plan (that I shamelessly drew on for today’s Fieldston visit) and led their students in creating care packages for the people that we serve. The care packages are full of the kinds of necessities the rest of us take for granted and will be so helpful.  We’ll give away these care packages over the coming weeks to families and individuals we meet who have recently arrived in New York. Thank you, Apex change makers! You’re already making a difference in your city.


Shaping a future full of better citizens takes thoughtful parents and remarkable teachers. Kids have questions and concerns and great ideas.


When one of the teachers this morning asked the kids how they thought it would feel for a new New Yorker to receive one of the care packages that they’d just assembled, one kid answered, “Recognized.”  It knocked me out. We all want to be seen — not as a faceless element of a ‘migrant crisis’ or a ‘problem at the border’ — but as a human being, another child, a potential friend. 


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