According to the 2010 New York City census, the vast majority of the Morrisania Section of the Bronx, NY lives in public housing, and nearly half of the neighborhood’s population lives below the federal poverty line. Poverty, crime, and drug addiction are prominent issues within the Morrisania community. Seeing the development of reliable, structured, and fun programming for its youths is a necessary part of the community’s growth and improvement.
The objective of Kingdom Kids is to serve the children of the Morrisania community by enriching their growth in character and creativity through teaching creative arts, performing arts, educational activities, and life skills. Kingdom Kids operates under the goal of reversing the crime and drug addiction associated with poverty by providing children with a safe place to play and learn. Free Saturday morning classes and activities offered by the program aim to help children build confidence, develop their character and values, and equip them to make wise choices.
“My husband encourages me all the time saying the next president of the United States will come from our program!” Said Kingdom Kids Administrator Maritza Lopez. “We have testimonies of parents noticing change around the house because the kids look happier. We talk about how to be good with your family, your neighbors, and your school. The children look forward to coming to Kingdom Kids to learn new skills. They’re learning life skills they can use when they can get older.”
Kingdom Kids is known for focusing on the utilization of art as a positive instrument in encouraging and enriching the lives of its students. Staffed by 40 volunteers experienced in education, art, and administration, the program offers students classes in music, dance, singing, drawing, video communications, cooking, acting, sports, and several other fields. The Kingdom Kids program has used past ARC grants to purchase equipment such as projectors, laptops, and desktops as teachers aim to improve their classrooms with visual presentations. Children attending the program are also provided with a free lunch for the day.
With a year round calendar, Kingdom Kids enrolls 125 children from ages 4 to 14 years old each semester. Since the start of the program, Kingdom Kids has seen significant progression from its enrolled children. Kingdom Kids’ success can be measured by its increased interest in enrollment, progressive program development, the continued commitment to its volunteers, and the financial support received from individuals and businesses. Kingdom Kids aims to be an educational program where children can reach their fullest potentials physically, mentally, and spiritually.