So when Guerrilla Aid learned about the Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC), a network of nonprofit organizations based in the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, committed to fighting the area’s systemic poverty and under-education, we asked HPAC how we might best lend our experience working with grassroots organizations in high poverty areas to their current project in the Bronx. After five years of exclusively designing and implementing small-scale international aid projects, Guerrilla Aid decided to “go local.”
Our early projects in the Bronx included organizing a winter clothing drive, and fundraising to provide sports equipment for local public schools. But a massive opportunity arose when Guerrilla Aid secured funding from Goldman Sachs to help get HPAC’s early childhood education initiative off the ground. This grant covered the renovation of a store-front space for HPAC to convert into its early education pilot program, and also included staffing for two years. Boosted by their indispensible contribution, ground was broken in July 2011 at 887 Hunts Point Ave., and shortly thereafter the HPAC Kids Play Space opened its doors to parents in the community to give their children every educational advantage possible. The Kids Play Space is a safe and well-monitored place where any parent and child duo can utilize the toy and book library, and attend its free Mommy and Me classes, Open Play drop-in hours, and informal Mother’s Groups which foster resource sharing.
By the winter of 2012 The Kids Play Space in Hunt’s Point had enrolled numerous local families and their children (infants to Kindergarten age) in its early education pilot program which aims to reverse educational inequities between high and low income children as soon as possible in a child’s educational life. Guerrilla Aid is delighted to have collaborated with HPAC, Goldman Sachs, and the Karuna Charitable Foundation on its first United States nonprofit partnership, and looks forward to a continued presence in the South Bronx.