The Rochester (NY) Public Library is dedicated to providing the public with free access to information, resources, materials and programming in uniquely welcoming spaces. The Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library (FFRPL) helps support activities above and beyond operational funding, including special projects and programs, as well as supplemental materials and equipment.
One such program is Safe to Be Smart, offering educational, cultural and recreational afterschool activities for children and teens at the six RPL libraries. On any given day, youth may be learning to code with mentors from Second Avenue Learning, GIS mapping during a field trip to Mount Hope Cemetery, completing job applications or simply playing board games in a friendly, safe space.
To see the impact of Safe to Be Smart on one teen, consider the story of K’Nai Campbell in his own words:
My name is K’Nai Campbell, I’m thirteen years old, and today I’m going to tell you how Mr. Mark Dixon [Safe to be Smart Youth Services Staff] changed me into the young man I am today. You see, I am living with my mom who’s doing the best she can for me and my siblings, and I don’t have a father to correct me when I’m doing wrong. But when you add Mr. Mark to the Maplewood branch library, things start to change. Every day Mr. Mark says to me and whoever comes in the library: ‘Good morning, family, how are you doing?’ and it’s like a cycle, because some days I need a real man to talk to. He probably doesn’t realize his advice made me succeed to the 8th grade. He makes me read every day to get my stamina up and he tells me I need to read to succeed. I went from a D in reading to a B+ (thanks, Mr. Mark!). So now I’m in the 9th grade, looking to go to Wisconsin State University and get married and go to the NBA. Mr. Mark tells me to make smart choices and good things will happen. He keeps me and the whole library branch laughing and staying positive. He says, ‘once you get older I’ll hook you up with a job – I got you,’ and much more.
This holiday season, please consider the impact your gift will have on people like K’Nai, and others who rely on the services, resources and sense of family the Library provides. Your tax-deductible contribution to FFRPL’s 2017-18 Annual Campaign has a critical impact on our community. Thank you in advance for your support!