Rutgers Presbyterian Church and Volunteers of America-Greater New York Announce Summer Field Trips for Children in New York City

Rutgers Presbyterian Church, a highly progressive congregation on Manhattan's Upper West Side that embodies the inclusion and diversity of New York, and Volunteers of America - Greater New York (VOA-GNY), one of the City's largest and most effective human services organizations, announce a partnership to host summer field trips for at-risk children throughout New York City. The children will visit Rutgers Presbyterian Church on Fridays, create art in the Church's inspirational art studio and participate in various creative play activities.

Throughout the summer, Rutgers will host nearly 50 children from VOA-GNY's programs in the Bronx and the Upper West Side. The partnership launched Friday, June 6, when a group of children from the Bronx Early Learning Center, a vibrant and nurturing preschool community serving children ages three to five, including those with developmental delays as well as typically developing children, visited the Church. The children spent their time in the Church's cheerful art studio and also participated in creative play, including storytelling or improvisational theater. The field trips will continue on Fridays throughout the summer.

Through its partnership with VOA-GNY, Rutgers Presbyterian Church is also working to finalize similar programming with the Regent Family Residence on Broadway and 104th street, a transitional residence for 140 homeless families that provides comprehensive services to help them achieve independence and obtain permanent housing.

"We are thrilled to launch this partnership with Volunteers of America-Greater New York and use our resources to help children who might not otherwise get to experience the joy of art and creative play offered by our talented community programs staff, " said Pastor Andrew Stehlik of Rutgers Presbyterian Church. "This program aligns with our mission of advancing social justice for all, and we look forward to developing the program this summer and hopefully continuing the partnership in some way throughout the school year.

"It's a delight for Volunteers of America-Greater New York to partner with another Upper West Side institution in serving the most vulnerable children in our community," said Rachel Weinstein, Vice President/Chief Development and Communications Officer at VOA-GNY. "While these children may have uncertainty in their lives, the encouragement of the Rutgers staff and the vibrant setting of the Church's studio will provide these children with a safe, supportive space in which to explore their creativity, and to dream."

Through its Giving Network, Rutgers Presbyterian Church has donated $15,000 to Volunteers of America-Greater New York to support the organization's life-changing, and in some cases life-saving, work. The Giving Network allocates funds to support local, national and international organizations that promote social justice, enable community-building and help people whose lives have been disrupted.
Rutgers Church will also be holding a drive for VOA-GNY's Operation Backpack®, which provides backpacks filled with grade-specific supplies to children living in New York City's homeless and domestic violence shelters. The Church held a sorting party on June 22.