BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — On Thursday, April 2, Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Broome County’s CITIZEN U, RootED, and 4-H UNITY (Urban Neighborhoods Improved Through Youth) teamed with Binghamton City School District and Union-Endicott Central School District to support the social emotional well-being of young children during the COVID-19 pandemic by distributing 3,000 “Be the Spark Coloring and Activity Book 2020” at all of the “Grab & Go” meal sites in Binghamton and Endicott.
“Be the Spark” was created the CITIZEN U Teen Leaders in 2018 to raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and provide young people with a healthy outlet for social-emotional well-being.
Faced with the Coronavirus pandemic, social distancing and yet wanting to do something to help their communities, the CITIZEN U and 4-H UNITY Teen Leaders came together on a Zoom meeting and decided to see if “Be the Spark” could be distributed at the “Grab & Go” meal sites in Binghamton and Endicott. CITIZEN U and 4-H UNITY are civic engagement and workforce development programs operating by CCE Broome County’s 4-H youth development team.
The answer was an enthusiastic yes! Through CCE Broome’s existing partnership with Binghamton City School District’s Empire State Afterschool Program, RootED and 4-H UNITY’s partnership with Union-Endicott Central School District, distribution of the coloring and activity books began on April 2 and will continue until the supply is exhausted.
–June P. Mead, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County