What does an organization do when their capacity to provide face-to-face programs is abruptly halted by a global pandemic at the same time demand for their services increases exponentially as a result of a nationwide call for anti-bias, antiracist education?
If that organization is Kidsbridge, the State’s leading provider of anti-bullying and anti-racism education for youth, then the answer is they innovate and they answer the call.
Two weeks after New Jersey residents were asked to quarantine, Kidsbridge launched “Kidsbridge @ Home,” a free, virtual tool that can be used by educators, parents and caregivers to promote social-emotional learning. Additionally, as calls for social justice increased throughout the spring after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Kidsbridge @ Home sought to provide resources to help parents talk to their children about issues of race in ways that are age-appropriate.
“Kidsbridge has been teaching children about the importance of being UPstanders for nearly 25 years,” says Lynne Azarchi, Kidsbridge executive director. “At this time, it is important that we pivot to help educators and students in the fall via our new program Kidsbridge Connects: facilitator-led interactive remote social-emotional learning programs for students Pre-K to 8th grade. Kidsbridge is here to help.”
As the need for critical anti-racism programming increases, however, Kidsbridge is faced with the reality that funds to support those programs have become scarce. Because of the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organization was forced to cancel its largest fundraiser of the year, the Annual Humanitarian Awards Celebration.
In its place, the organization has partnered with the Trenton Thunder to plan the “Kidsbridge All Star Celebration,” a movie night at the ballpark featuring the movie Frozen II. The organization says funds raised at the event will support Kidsbridge’s Covid-19 fund to support remote learning programs for at-risk youth throughout the fall and winter.
The community is invited to enjoy a family-friendly showing of Frozen II at Arm & Hammer Park on Saturday, September 26. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the movie begins at 7:00 p.m. Attendees will receive Kidsbridge UPSTANDER gift bags. Tickets are $25 each (children 5 and under are free), and they can be purchased at www.kidsbridgemovienight.eventbrite.com.
The event will follow social distancing protocols. Families/groups are asked to remain six feet apart, and masks will be required. Attendees can sit on blankets on the field or in the stands. Refreshments will be available for purchases. Coolers are not allowed.
Corporate sponsorships and display ads are available. Contact Lynne Azarchi for details – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Kidsbridge mission is to educate and empower children and youth through social-emotional learning, diversity appreciation lessons and bullying prevention skills training. The purpose is to create empathetic individuals and caring citizens who live their lives without prejudice or discrimination and who are positive advocates for themselves and others. For more information, visit kidsbridgecenter.org.