project leader
Makena M
location
442 E. Houston St.
(Lower East Side)
latest update rss
We made it!!!

the project

During the 2020-21 school year, teachers are all adjusting their curriculum to teach traditional topics in a new format - how do we teach algebra over Zoom? But we’ve been scrambling so much to squeeze what is “normal” into our new environment that we’ve failed to accept the reality of our current situation and practice coping mechanisms to deal with it. And more than anyone in our society, we need to make sure that students and young voices have the coping mechanisms to navigate through the current challenges we’re all facing.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,700 schools across NYC, the nation’s largest school district, shifted to remote learning. Many low income and special needs students do not have the resources at home to master online learning, which also leaves further strain on parents, students, and staff.

We can try to equip our students with the technological equipment to cope with this transition, by providing tablets and other material to use at home, but we still need to provide a set of mental and emotional tools.

To fill this gap, Leave It Better (LIB) began developing a unique online education program intended to empower youth with interactive courses on topics that are not covered in their public education curriculum, including how to improve their mental and physical health, improve the environment in their local community, and document their stories along the way.

This online curriculum was inspired by our in-person program, which we have offered to over 12,000 students across the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens, since 2009. LIB historically works with vulnerable populations in low-income schools, and we will prioritize the same students for this online program, because they have been most negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

Now we are piloting our new self-care online program with P94 in the Lower East Side. From there, the ultimate goal of LIB online is to provide a platform where students in NYC can access educational programming that focuses on cultivating mindfulness, exploring urban gardening techniques, and building a more sustainable, compassionate community.  If awarded, this funding will be used to build out the LIB online site from July to September in preparation for an October launch for the 2020-2021 school year. In addition to the website, funding will also be used to purchase and distribute DIY kits that students can use to complete the LIB program at home.

The approach we are taking in light of the impacts of the pandemic on NYC’s public school system is innovative because it brings the classroom into our student’s homes, empowering kids to not only be the stewards of their education, but also to become teachers to the rest of their families. Expected budget cuts for the upcoming school year suggest that there will be drastic changes in the programming available to students. We are determined to continue to support our students by designing a robust, interactive online educational program. By the end of the year, after piloting our online program with P94 in the Lower East Side, our intended impact is to equip over 12,000 students across 4 boroughs in NYC with the tools to co-create a more mindful, sustainable world.

the steps

Step 1: Adapt the first five days our self-care focused curriculum for online.

Date: August 25th-September 1st

 

Step 2: Create Day 1 self-care online experience: What it means to "Leave Yourself Better" Includes short film with animation, meditation, and good news.

Date: September 1st-September 8th

 

Step 3: Create Day 2 self-care online experience: Make your own journal. All days include short film with animation, meditation and good news.

Date: September 8th-September 15th

 

Step 4: Create Day 3 self-care online experience: Meditation.

Date: September 15th-September 22nd

 

Step 5: Create Day 4 self-care online experience: Eating healthy

Date: September 22nd-September 29th

 

Step 6: Create Day 5 self-care online experience: Sleep

Date: September 29th-October 6th

 

Step 7: Start online program for students of P94. Create Day 6 of self-care online experience: Movement

Date: October 6th-October 13th

why we're doing it

COVID has hit us all hard. As we attempt to continue "normal" education for our youth- there is a big part of the puzzle missing. Self-care.

 This is where Leave It Better comes in.

We allow students space for themselves.

At P94 in the Lower East Side, we polled students before our programming and none of them had heard of mindfulness.

By the end of our programming, more than half used meditation regularly.

We prioritize to students that the most important thing in their life is them. Their health. We teach students how to meditate, how to journal, how to cook and eat healthy foods. We give them freedom to use technology as they want to, to create memes filled with humor and creative expression. Students love our programming.

Typical comments from a LIB students include: "The aromatherapy was great because it helped me relax and focus on one thing, instead of doing everything at once and start getting anxious." Another: "My favorite was making candles because I really love craft-making and its a really cool experiment I learned to also do at home." Another: "I like doing stuff rather than writing all day because writing can be very boring when you do it every day for hours." Finally: "My favorite leave it better unit is when we investigated about the water."

In the final comment the student refers to a section where we teach students how to test for lead in their water. Recently, one of our students tested the water at their home for water, found lead, and then her parents installed a filtration system to rectify the problem.

Our programming is not some kind of hippy-dippy naive feel-good stuff. This is real. We are activists for self-care. Mental health is human health. Students hold the key to the future of our world. Peace within oneself is not a radical hippy perspective, it is actually the only real path forward for humanity in a time of pandemic, global warming and nuclear weaponry. When each of us has peace within, we will have human peace.

Our principles are: Leave Yourself Better, Leave Each Other Better, Leave Our Schools Better, Leave Our Communities Better, Leave the World Better. 

When we get enough sleep, eat healthy food, meditate or pray, this leads to a meaningful positive relationship with ourself, which leads to strong relationships with family and friends, and spreads out to schools where children's happiness and health comes before the state test, to fair equitable communities humming in alignment with vibrant ecosystems in an earth that is abundant, peaceful and harmonious.

As we face this remarkably challenging time together, let's prioritize self-care for our youth. Let's use this opportunity to provide students with life-long meditation practices, self-care DIY activities and guiding principles. 

budget

Disbursed:

Managing LIBF's Online Classroom:

● $2044 to fund salaries for staff who will participate in live classes (18 hours of prep for and participation in live instruction at $25/hr) with our students and manage the online classroom (18 hours of website management at $25/hr)

● $204 for maintenance of LIBF's domain

Developing Weekly Videos: 

● $3,600 to fund video development costs for six short films with animation (120 hours of film development at $30/hr) for the following self-care topics: what it means to “Leave Yourself Better”, making your own journal, meditation, eating healthy, sleeping habits, movement.

● $239 for video editing software

Developing a Self-Care Focused Curriculum: 

● $3,750 to fund curriculum development costs for six days of programming, covering the self-care topics listed above (120 hours of research for topic areas at $25/hr, 18 hours of writing and recording guided meditation at $25/hr, 12 hours of compiling and summarizing positive news highlights at $25/hr)

Providing P94 M With Access to Our Programming at No Cost: 

● $9,300 to cover P94 M's subscription cost to LIBF's online classroom (93 students at $100/student)



TOTAL RAISED = $20,135.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $363.00
TOTAL TO DISBURSE= $19,737.00

Original:

Managing LIBF's Online Classroom

  • $900 to fund salaries for staff who will participate in live classes (18 hours of prep for and participation in live instruction at $25/hr) with our students and manage the online classroom (18 hours of website management at $25/hr)
  • $204 for maintenance of LIBF's domain

Developing Weekly Videos

  • $3,600 to fund video development costs for six short films with animation (120 hours of film development at $30/hr) for the following self-care topics: what it means to “Leave Yourself Better”, making your own journal, meditation, eating healthy, sleeping habits, movement.
  • $239 for video editing software 

Developing a Self-Care Focused Curriculum

  • $3,750 to fund curriculum development costs for six days of programming, covering the self-care topics listed above (120 hours of research for topic areas at $25/hr, 18 hours of writing and recording guided meditation at $25/hr, 12 hours of compiling and summarizing positive news highlights at $25/hr) 

Providing P94 M With Access to Our Programming at No Cost

  • $9,300 to cover P94 M's subscription cost to LIBF's online classroom (93 students at $100/student)



PROJECT FUNDING NEEDED = $18,000
ioby Platform Fee $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $558
TOTAL TO RAISE = $18,593

updates

We made it!!!

Yes!!

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we have become fully funded. 

Our team just started producing online self-care content for the students of NYC. 

We will be sure to update everyone with how everything goes this school year. 

Exciting!

- The Leave It Better Foundation Team

95% of the way there

Hey Everyone, 

Hope this note finds you in the best of spirits. 

This is the last day of the campaign. 

We have raised 95% of our goal, we are incredibly close to making it all the way. 

Thanks so much to all of the wonderful people who have donated. 

Please share this campaign with anyone in your life who would be interested in donating.

Let's do this!

best thoughts,

The Leave It Better Team

The Final Push

Hey Everyone, 

Hope this note finds you in the best of spirits. 

 

We are almost at our goal. Please share the campaign with friends and family. Let's get it over the goal. 

 

We can do this!

 

best thoughts,

Graham

Wow! Over halfway to our goal.

Hey Everyone, 

Hope this note finds you in the best of spirits. 

We launched our campaign 48 hours ago, and because of the generosity of some incredible people, we are already more than halfway towards our goal. 

Filled with so much gratitude. Thanks.

In light of our initial success, our team is meeting up next week to start the process of building out Leave It Better Online. 

Inspiring!

 

best thoughts,

The Leave It Better Team

 

photos

This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration

donors

  • Jannely Almonte Ortiz
  • The Emmetts
  • Dana & Quinn
  • Avery R.
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