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For many New York families, fall is an exciting time full of anticipation as we return to work and to school after all-too-fleeting summer vacations. For families at Room to Grow, fall can exacerbate troubling anxieties: about finding quality childcare while a parent looks for work; about providing books and toys to nurture a child's growth; and about making sure a child has warm clothing to wear as the weather turns cooler.  


Our unique program provides parenting education, coping strategies, and referrals to community resources like childcare, job training, and nutrition services, and also books, toys, clothing and gear. Room to Grow helps ease the stresses of poverty so our parents can give their children the best possible start in life.  


With our deepest thanks for your support of our work,


Andrea Salwen Kopel 

Executive Director        

 CLIENT SPOTLIGHT: A Family Overcomes Challenges

Martine immigrated to the United States in 2006 when her oldest son Joshua was three years old. Three years later, she found out she was pregnant again. Martine was very anxious about becoming a mother to a newborn again, especially without the support of her family who reside in the Dominican Republic. She often worked 24-hour shifts as a Home Health Aid to pay for Joshua's childcare and the room they live in. Martine's husband David arrived in the U.S. in 2009, and a year later their son Eric was born.


From the start, Martine was a very dedicated mother, fully invested in educating herself and providing the best possible life for her children. Her social worker Andrea helped her to understand the benefits of promoting her children's cognitive, social, and emotional development through books, language, and interactive play.


Andrea noticed some delay in Eric's communication skills and referred him to Early Intervention for speech and behavioral issues. Yet, after several months of speech and occupational therapy, Martine noticed no significant improvement in Eric's communication skills. Eric was evaluated by another therapist and diagnosed with PDD (Pervasive Developmental Disorder). Andrea helped Martine and David cope with the stresses of a growing family and a child with special needs.


"I don't know if I would have been able to get Eric the help he needed if it weren't for Room to Grow. I feel better as a mom knowing that he has what he needs."


Eric recently graduated from Room to Grow and now attends a special education preschool where he is thriving. Therapy has helped improve his speech. Martine is working on securing steady employment and enrolling in GED classes.

PROGRAM UPDATE: Fostering a Lifelong Love of Reading
Dad Son Reading Square

Reading to young children is the single most effective tool for developing language and literacy skills, and is proven to affect later success in learning. Through our early literacy program, Room to Grow increases the probability that toddlers will enter school with the appropriate reading and vocabulary skills.


In August, Room to Grow launched its first annual Back to School Book Drive. We asked supporters to contribute by purchasing books, organizing a collection drive or making financial donations so that we can ensure that each of our families is able to take home at least ten books when they visit Room to Grow every three months.


Thanks to the support of individual and corporate supporters, we have raised nearly $2,000 and have collected over 700 books, including 100 Spanish language books. We are especially grateful to our corporate partners Candlewick Press, DK Publishing, Kingfisher Children's Books, Kumon Publishing, The Pajama Program, and Simon & Schuster for their donations of books.


We're thrilled to be able to fill our families' bookshelves and help foster a lifelong love of reading. At every visit, our social workers encourage parents to engage in daily shared reading with their children. Thanks to an Early Childhood Reading Grant from Target, we have begun to track shared reading hours in order to help measure the impact that Room to Grow is having on the lives of  children in our program.


Room to Grow has been selected as a semi-finalist for the Treasure & Bond charity beneficiary program.  Treasure & Bond will donate 100% of its profits over a three-month period to selected charities. To become a beneficiary finalist, we need your votes.  Visit the store at 350 West Broadway in SoHo, between now and October 31st and cast your vote for Room to Grow.   


For every vote Room to Grow receives, $5 will be designated to provide Room to Grow children with toys and art supplies.  The funding has been generously committed by our partner  For One Baby in New York 


Post a photo of yourself voting for Room to Grow on Facebook or Twitter for a chance to win 2 tickets to our Winter Gala in January.  Be sure to use  #vote4RtG and tag @RoomtoGrow_org when tweeting. For Facebook, Like Room to Grow, then post your picture on our wall.    


No purchase necessary to vote.  You may vote once a day, every day, until October 31st.

VOLUNTEER SNAPSHOT: Committed Volunteers Go Above and Beyond

Jennifer and Rob Dowd began volunteering at Room to Grow in early 2011. Since then, this husband and wife team has spent countless hours sorting and folding clothes, cleaning toys, and helping to organize shelves.


Jennifer and Rob are not your typical Room to Grow volunteers. Although they both love contributing their time to Room to Grow, they wanted to do even more and decided to organize a wine tasting to help raise money and introduce new donors to Room to Grow. In March 2012, 40 of their closest friends and colleagues gathered at a local wine store to sip fine wines and learn more about Room to Grow. Their efforts raised nearly $10,000, which will help Room to Grow provide vital education and guidance to families raising babies in poverty.


"Rob and I were looking to get involved with a children's organization.  I came in to donate some clothes and was really impressed by the program and the space. We love coming in to volunteer because we get to do something fun and worthwhile and support a great cause at the same time." 


Jennifer joined the New York Advisory Board in October 2012. As a member of the Advisory Board, Jennifer will expand her role as an ambassador and advocate for Room to Grow in New York City.


August | 2012 

Graduate Reunion 

Twenty Room to Grow graduate families gathered at City Treehouse for a fun-filled play-date in August. Parents and kids alike enjoyed the water table and a two-story tree house. More importantly, parents had the chance to reconnect with their Room to Grow social workers. Thanks to the terrific staff at City Treehouse for making this year's graduate reunion a great success!


November 14, 2012 

Parents Power Breakfast 

Join NY1 Anchor Roma Torre and featured speaker Mark K. Shriver for a discussion on raising socially conscious children at the second Parents Power Breakfast. Sponsored by the Duane Reade Charitable Foundation, the event will be held at the Bryant Park Grill from 8:30 am to 10:00am. Tickets start at $150. For more information or to purchase tickets, Click Here.  


December | 2012 

Family Holiday Party 

Each year Room to Grow invites client families to celebrate the holidays at the Family Holiday Party. Kids enjoy milk and cookies, and a visit with Santa. You can support the Holiday Party by purchasing a new toy for a child from our registry managed by Rosie Hippo Toys. Moms and dads will also receive a gift courtesy of L'Oral. Look for detailed information in the coming weeks.


January 31, 2013 

Winter Gala  

Celebrate in style at Room to Grow's annual Winter Gala. The evening features a cocktail reception, live and silent auction, and awards ceremony. The Winter Gala will take place at the Mandarin Oriental in Columbus Circle. Tickets start at $300. For ticket information, call (212) 620-7800. 





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