The Baby Buggy, Inc.

Baby Buggy provides essential items for infants and children to New York City families living in poverty. We accomplish this by collecting new and gently used items from corporations and families and delivering them to the communities with the highest rates of family poverty. Working with a network of social service sites throughout the five boroughs of New York, bringing cribs, strollers, clothing and diapers to families in need, we have delivered over 2,600,000 items to date.
Oct 3, 2013

The Kings of Queens!

A True Role Model
A True Role Model

On a beautiful fall Saturday as jets from nearby LaGuardia airport flew overhead in Queens, Baby Buggy celebrated with 71 fathers from all walks of life.  These fathers, along with their families, were participating in a "Stepping Up" ceremony to recognize their accomplishments and growth through the Forestdale Fathering Initiative.  They have truly become "Kings of Queens!"   These fathers have committed to "being forever present and actively involved in the lives they have created."  They have participated in numerous trainings on topics including parenting, anger management, healthy relationships, nutrition, and job skills development.  These dads spent many hours learning, sharing, and growing, despite the challenges of their other work and family responsibilities.

One father, Cleeford, spoke at the podium to the large audience (over 100!) of fellow dads, family members, and program staff who were there for the ceremony.  Cleeford shared that after participating in this fathering program, he believes he is “an entirely new person.”  He feels that he now has a deeper and clearer understanding of how to be a better father and how to be a better co-parent with the mother of his son.  “Even when I had to leave work early to get here for classes, I always knew it was worth it…for my son and for me.”  All of the fathers who shared their stories thanked the Fathering staff many times over and it is clear that strong bonds have been forged between the men participating in this innovative program.  They announced that a new alumni group is forming specifically for the dads whose first language is Spanish so they can continue to support each other after graduation in a comfortable, culturally-sensitive way.  Other alumni groups continue to meet on an ongoing basis to build on the lessons they have already learned and also to serve as mentors to fathers new to the program.

A highlight of this “Stepping Up” ceremony was when Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houston Foundation shared his own incredible personal story and inspired everyone there.  Thabiti did not grow up with an actively-engaged father and was born to a struggling, teen mother.  He threw himself into the rigors and joy of basketball as a way to cope with the many challenges he and his family faced.  He was overwhelmed when he discovered that, at 19, he was going to be a father.  When the mother of his child let him know that she was in no way prepared to be a teen mother, Thabiti stepped up and took his baby with him to college where he played competitive basketball.  As a teen, male, single parent, Thabiti said “what I would have given for a Baby Buggy back then....I had to find a way to pay for a crib, a stroller, formula, and diapers, all while trying to study and play ball!”  Thabiti’s baby girl is now 30 years old and he has dedicated his life to raising awareness about the challenges of father absence while developing important projects that promote responsible fatherhood.

Baby Buggy is honored to have been a part of this inspirational day and with the help of our generous donors, we will continue to help fathers, both graduates and new participants in fathering initiatives, provide the warm, loving, safe environments their children need to grow and thrive.



A Dad Sharing How He Has Grown
A Dad Sharing How He Has Grown
Mission Accomplished!
Mission Accomplished!
Proud Families Capturing the Moment
Proud Families Capturing the Moment
Congratulations Dads!
Congratulations Dads!
Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houson Foundation
Thabiti Boone of the Allan Houson Foundation

Links:

Sep 11, 2013

Back to School After Sandy!

Time to Play Bingo to Learn Shapes & Colors
Time to Play Bingo to Learn Shapes & Colors

In the Rockaways, Brighton Beach, and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn flooded by Superstorm Sandy, hundreds of children returned to their Head Start programs and schools fully equipped to learn thanks to your generous support!  Baby Buggy was able to provide over 600 backpacks and 600 early education school supply kits to the children we serve in these Sandy-affected areas. 

On a recent visit to one of our Head Start programs in Far Rockaway, we saw cubbies newly filled with clothing, backpacks, and school supplies, along with shelves teeming with books and educational toys.  As children and parents arrived, they expressed relief to be gradually returning to the normalcy of the back-to-school rush.  Because of the extensive flooding caused by Sandy to many classrooms, houses, and apartments, most of their backpacks and school supplies were completely ruined.  These expensive supplies are hard for the low-income parents we serve to come by during the best of times.  With the ongoing economic challenges of the rebuilding process, parents were finding it especially difficult to equip their children with the tools they need to succeed in school.  We were thrilled to step in and provide beautiful new backpacks and lunchboxes, along with crayons, paper, notebooks, glue sticks, pencils, markers, and all the other supplies children in early education and elementary school need to learn and thrive. 

And most importantly, we know that these beautiful backpacks and supplies helped the children feel some of the excitement that the start of a new school year can bring--every child deserves the thrill of flipping through a set of brightly colored new folders or running their fingers along the tops of a new set of rainbow markers!  These much-needed school supplies are a vivid reminder to these children and their parents that we have not forgotten about the struggles they have faced and continue to face in rebuilding their homes and lives after Sandy.  Thanks for making this week's back-to-school transition so positive for so many of New York's most vulnerable children!

Cubbies are Full Again!
Cubbies are Full Again!
Distributing School Supplies to Sandy Survivors
Distributing School Supplies to Sandy Survivors
Cool Backpacks for School
Cool Backpacks for School
Line Leaders Ready for Head Start!
Line Leaders Ready for Head Start!

Links:

Jun 12, 2013

From Relief to Rebuilding and Renewal

Head Start Back in Action Post-Sandy!
Head Start Back in Action Post-Sandy!

While Superstorm Sandy has faded from memory for many New Yorkers, we know firsthand at Baby Buggy that the aftermath of this devastating storm continues to challenge the many low-income families we serve on Coney Island, the Rockaways, Lower Manhattan, and in New Jersey.  Our efforts have shifted from providing emergency relief to finding creative ways to help the programs and families we serve rebuild their facilities and their lives.  A few weeks ago, a bunch of Baby Buggy staffers piled into a car and headed out to check in with some of the Head Start and Early Head Start programs we serve in Brighton Beach, Coney Island, and Far Rockaway.  Even though we are in constant communication with the program leaders and teachers at these sites through phone and e-mail, we thought it was time for another in-person visit to see how the rebuilding process was going.

We were delighted to see what great progress they are making in repairing and rebuilding their early education classrooms, but we also heard many harrowing stories of families who continue to struggle with housing and employment as a result of the storm.  Many of the families whose children attend one of our Head Start programs in Brighton Beach live in small basement apartments with multiple families.  Not surprisingly, many of these apartments were completely flooded during Sandy and while many have been repaired, the warm summer weather is bringing mold and poor air quality to these tiny, crowded apartments.  As a result, we are planning to provide high-quality air purifiers to these families to try to prevent little lungs from breathing in the mold and dust that Sandy has left in its wake.  Many families continue to struggle with meeting basic needs and we are also providing help with groceries to ensure that food is not a major concern as they rebuild their lives.  Many families lost all of their possessions in the flooding and we are also helping provide summer play clothing for the children in these communities.

The rebuilding process has been incredibly challenging for the staff members working at these sites who have had to deal with the aftermath of Sandy both at work and at home.  They are an incredibly creative and resilient bunch who go above and beyond to help the children in their programs recover and rebuild while supporting their parents as well.  When water flooded two ground-floor classrooms in Far Rockaway, all the toys, furniture, books, and supplies were completely ruined, including some clothing from Baby Buggy that had just been sorted and prepared for distribution.  Angelina, a program leader there, shared with us that staff members collected all the clothing that had been floating around the room, washed them all, folded them, re-sorted them, and distributed them to families in need. Needles to say, this is an amazing community of dedicated early education leaders!  If all goes as planned (and nothing seems to be perfectly predictable during this rebuilding process), these two basement classrooms will re-open this month.  To help make the transition a bit easier, Baby Buggy will be providing new art supplies and educational toys, including easels, construction paper, paint, crayons, safety scissors, markers, glitter glue, puzzles, stamps, and books to help fill these completely renovated Head Start classrooms.  We were able to provide needed art supplies for another Head Start in Lower Manhattan located on the site of a large public housing community that was also flooded during Sandy.  As you can see from these photos, the children there are now happily gluing, cutting, coloring, and painting beautiful works of art.  Watching these children work on a large alphabet puzzle Baby Buggy provided is a great reminder of how resilient children can be and with your help, we will continue to help these families put the pieces of their lives back together. 

Rebuilding in Progress at a Rockaways Head Start
Rebuilding in Progress at a Rockaways Head Start
The water came all the way up to here!
The water came all the way up to here!
Almost ready for toys, books, and children...
Almost ready for toys, books, and children...
Putting the Pieces Back Together...
Putting the Pieces Back Together...

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