Young Friends of Learning Leaders
Founded in 2008, Young Friends of Learning Leaders (YFOLL) is a dedicated group of young professionals helping to bring new creativity and future leadership to New York City’s premier school volunteer not-for-profit.The YFOLLs range in age from 24-44, live and/or work in New York City, and are committed to providing much-needed support to the City’s public school students by: volunteering their time to work one-on-one with a student, fundraising for the Book Buddies program, or by helping to promote Learning Leaders’ mission, programs and events to friends and colleagues. Through fundraising efforts, the YFOLLs have raised close to $80,000 for Learning Leaders’ programs. Every $1,500 donated results in 400 hours of service to a public school.
The YFOLL Committee accepts new members year round. If you are interested in joining, please contact Julia Gilliam, Deputy Director of External Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 646-519-8364. Follow the YFOLLs on Facebook!
Meeting & Greeting: Book Buddies Celebrate!
The best part of being a Book Buddy? Meeting your pen-pal after months of corresponding. Book Buddies Program Manager Marion Pomeranc says it’s all about this moment. “When a child finally meets the person with whom they have been sharing thoughts on literature and life through letters, their feelings are all in the eyes. There is such satisfaction and happiness. And it’s not just in the kids’ faces…the adults are no different. It’s a really happy moment.”
In May 2016, The Young Friends of Learning Leaders (YFOLL) celebrated with their pen-pals from PS 201 in Queens at Learning Leaders headquarters, as YFOLL members work in many different professions all over NYC. The group had just finished reading and corresponding about Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. Volunteers and their Buddies got to know each other over word games and pizza.
Marion Pomeranc says: “Book Buddies is a great way for children to build writing, vocabulary and grammar skills and gain a lasting love of reading. The volunteers also get a lot from the experience. Organizations come back year after year and I know of at least one lady who keeps her letters on her wall at home. We’re proud to be able to offer opportunities for the community to help our school children succeed.”
PS 201 students finally meet their Book Buddies!
Students from PS 201 in Queens finally got to meet the Book Buddies they’ve been writing to for six months on May 6, 2015. In the fall, thirty third graders from the Discovery School for Inquiry and Research teamed up with volunteers from Young Friends of Learning Leaders. The pen pals then read and discussed Third Grade Angels by Jerry Spinelli.
At the party, the kids and their volunteers were able to continue their discussions and get to know each other better over lunch and cookies. They also played word games and were challenged to write poems related to their book. In a show of hands, all the children said they’d had great fun reading their books and communicating with their Buddies during the program, and many admitted to being surprised at how much they enjoyed writing their letters.
On November 19th, the Young Friends of Learning Leaders gathered with guests at the Lu Magnus gallery in Manhattan for this year’s Books & Cocktails. Attendees enjoyed light hor d’oeuvres and cocktails provided by Taste Art NYC and a silent auction. Items up for bid included classes for Soul Cycle and Physique 57, plus gift certificates to Marseilles and Shake Shack. The event included a book drive that collected close to thirty new books for use by students and volunteers at Learning Leaders partner schools. Thank you to the YFOLL hosts who organized a fun evening for a good cause!
Books & Cocktails 2013
On October 16th, the Young Friends of Learning Leaders hosted Books & Cocktails at Ainsworth Park. Fifty guests gathered to sip cocktails, sample tasty hors d’oeuvres, and bid on a variety of silent auction items. The lively (and generous) crowd raised over $8,500 for Learning Leaders and the communities, families, and students we support.