BRONX, NYC — The New York Yankees and 1,000 students from seven local elementary schools joined with child protection advocates from Lauren’s Kids to call for community safety in their hard knocks borough by completing a walk from schools through the streets of the Bronx, and on to Yankee Stadium on Friday, May 19.
This year marks the third annual ‘Kids Care Walk,’ which was incepted shortly after the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Bronx student on his way to school, which shook local students, teachers, administrators and community members.
“Lauren’s Kids has completely changed the culture of our school and our community for the better,” says C.S. 55 Principal Luis Torres. “Thanks to this curriculum and the advocacy walk, my students know how to express when they feel unsafe, and they know who to turn to in these situations – from abuse, homelessness, bullying, and community violence – we are now raising a generation of advocates who know how to speak up for themselves, and others.”
Students from Bronx elementary school C.S. 55 were learning lessons on personal and community safety through the Lauren’s Kids Safer, Smarter Kids curriculum, a program sponsored by the New York Yankees. Inspired by an annual 1,500-mile advocacy walk across Florida completed by Lauren’s Kids Founder and CEO, Florida State Senator Lauren Book, the students decided they wanted to bring the lessons to life and stand up to community violence through an advocacy walk.
Now in its third year, the Kids Care Walk has grown from one school and 150 students to seven elementary schools and 1,000 walkers, including students from C.S. 55, P.S. 132, P.S. 42, P.S. 58, P.S. 218, P.S. 114, P.S. 73.
While walking, students chanted “Whose streets?” “OUR STREETS”, “Lace up! Speak up! Stop Child Abuse!”, and “Striking Out Child Abuse!” The streets were filled with young advocates who were walking to show their community that their voices matter and to say that all children deserve to be safe from harm.
As part of the Kids Care Walk, more than 250 care kits and copies of children’s book Lauren’s Kingdom – which teaches children that “If you’re choking back tears and your heart’s filled with fears, you know very well, it’s OK to tell” and has helped children find their voice to disclose abuse – were donated to Safe Horizon, the Bronx’s local children’s advocacy center.