Children’s First Club Holds First Meeting

The Brooklyn College “Children’s First” club meeting. / M.A. Rahman

Student Group Addresses Issues Facing American Children

   At their first open meeting, members of the Brooklyn College Children’s First Club gathered to discuss how to improve public awareness of the myriad issues children in early child development are affected by.

   ”In a nutshell the club stands for the promotion of advocacy for children and youth, learning how to be an effective leader, but also teaching them how to advocate for themselves,” Zekiiyah Joyner, the club’s Vice-President and a Children and Youth Studies major stated upon introducing herself to a throng of curious peers.

   Members of the e-board for the Children’s First Club were also astonished as considerably more students than anticipated showed up to the meeting. 

   ”We’re really looking forward to helping children globally and locally. Last semester we did a bake sale [just] for children that needed dental relief,” said Dayana Veliyeva, a junior, Computer Science major and President of CF. 

   Those in attendance were asked to share their ideas on how to raise student awareness of the plight of basic child development needs. In particular, they were asked to share matters that they would want to directly take part in or already felt invested in such as demonstrations against lingering issues children face like education funding. 

   ”We’re curious as to what events you would want to see, something that may personally impact you or on a larger scale,“ Joyner raised to one inquisitive student.

   Attendees suggested several types of calamities that club members as a whole could organize around and propose some manner of resolution to those affected by them and provide some comfort, such as raising funds for the victims of Hurricane Dorian. 

   Another recurrently raised issue was the scourge of domestic violence. 

   ”Children are of course impacted by violence,” Joyner stated plainly, acknowledging the ever-concerning problem; looking to bridge the vice to the club’s pursuit, Joyner said she plans to invite a child psychologist showcase how domestic violence affects children.

   Speaking frankly, Joyner mentioned part of her drive to raise greater awareness of domestic violence was based on the activities she observed organized by another club with an altruistic aim: the BC “Women of Color” club, which garnered substantial on-campus interest from students with their events.

   ”It’s so true because you never know, but children can grow into criminals because of that [violence].” one student in attendance concurred and nodded in agreement with Joyner’s statement. 

   Students then discussed the prospects of holding an autism walk, facilitating a discussion on the symptoms of ADHD, participating in a breast cancer awareness walk which then prompted a few personal accounts from students of ongoing and past battles persons dear to them had with the affliction.

   Members were informed of an infant mortality and a cure for lupus walks events taking place in the city during the weekend.

   Organizers then asked who if any of newly joined members might be able to attend either events, to which multiple responded gleefully and affirmatively to joining said events. 

   “They [organizers] have really revitalized the club, it’s been a few years since there has been this many students at once here” Elise Goldberg, Program Coordinator for Children and Youth Studies and advisor to the club, said ecstatic that the club had garnered such student interest this semester.

   As the meeting concluded, members agreed that a school supplies drive needed to be established on-campus for students to help curtail the growing need for basic school supplies for children from certain less fortunate households.

   As of early October, a drop-off point was devised where students can drop off typical surplus school supplies like folders, notebooks, rulers, and pencils at the club’s room in room 1304 James Hall. 

   “Part of it is to develop your leadership skills, part of it is to get involved in student activities, part of it is to meet other students and make lifelong friendships,” Goldberg said, enthusiastic for the club’s future.