The Center for Leadership and College Preparation, affiliated with Bank Street College of Education, offers educational opportunities both to high-achieving students and to struggling students. The program serves kids in 5th-12th grades, giving them access to a wide range of academic resources, college prep classes, counseling, mentoring and activities, as well as individual attention and support. Students are admitted in the 5th, 7th and 9th grades.
REACH Prep recruits academically talented black and Latino 4th-grade students from the Bronx (and Westchester and Fairfield Counties) and prepares them for 5th- and 6th-grade admissions to competitive college preparatory independent schools in New York and Connecticut. Their goal is to comprehensively support students who want to be the first in their family to graduate from college. Only 20 students are admitted each year.
Summer on the Hill at Horace Mann is an enrichment program for academically talented public school students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. Students start in the 2nd grade and continue until placed in high school, participating in Saturday morning classes during the school year and a six-week summer session. They study language arts, math and science, and learn study skills. Summer programs include fine arts, recreation and an overnight trip to the John Dorr Nature Laboratory in Connecticut. Summer on the Hill continues to offer support through 12th grade.
Cool Culture provides families who fall under federal poverty guidelines with a Family Pass, which provides free entry to more than 71 museums, botanical gardens and zoos, and a subscription to Family Time, a quarterly borough-by-borough listing of cultural attractions, as well as a calendar of events geared toward families and young children.
Free Arts NYC uses painting, dance, drama, writing, music, sculpture, photography and other creative outlets to help children express themselves and gain confidence and self-esteem through Free Arts Days, Weekly Mentor Program, Parents and Children Together with Art (PACT) and Cultural Enrichment Opportunities.
New York Pops gives free Saturday music lessons to talented students through its Salute to Music program. In addition, the orchestra invites students to its rehearsals at Carnegie Hall and offers an opportunity for students to speak with the conductor and musicians.
Math and science
ExploraVision encourages kids to create and explore a vision of future technology. Students work in small groups simulating research and development teams, along with a team coach and an optional mentor. Students compete in regional competitions, and the top 24 teams go to a national competition. Prizes include up to $10,000 in savings bonds.
New York Hall of Science in Queens offers free admission September through June on Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 10 to 11 a.m.
Creative Communication sponsors essay- and poetry-writing contests for students in grades 4 to 12. Students compete against their peers in both age and location, and winners share more than $70,000 in prizes. Selected entries are published in a hard-bound anthology.
History, politics and journalism
The Collectors Club of New York sponsors a free Youth Stamp Club with monthly meetings for kids in grades 4 and up. The program welcomes experienced stamp collectors and introduces beginners to a hobby that also teaches about history, geography, famous people and events. Sessions are held beginning in September on Saturdays from 10-11/30 a.m.
The Boys’ Club of New York welcomes 6- to 20-year-old boys and charges less than a dollar a year to participate in computer classes, attend summer camp, get homework help and receive dental services. The club has a location in Flushing (Queens) and two in Manhattan.
HomeworkNYC.org is a website run by the public libraries. The site is designed specifically to help students in grades K to 12 in every area of the New York City schools curriculum and offers live, online assistance. Students and parents can also search for information on a variety of topics. The library site is also affiliated with the teacher’s union Dial-A-Teacher, a helpline that allows students and parents to talk directly with a city teacher Monday through Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m./ 212-777-3380.
MillionTreesNYC: Students and families can participate in citywide volunteer tree-planting and tree-care workshops. The program is a public-private initiative launched by the City of New York Parks Department and New York Restoration Project with the goal of planting a million new trees across all five boroughs over the next decade.