- Published: Thursday, 23 July 2015 10:18
Since opening nine days ago on July 15th, the Libraries Without Borders' (LWB) Ideas Box program in the South Bronx, NY, has proven to be a popular site among the residents surrounding Hayden Lord Park where the Ideas Box is situated. Working alongside local partner DreamYard, the LWB team has greeted many enthusiastic children and adults from the area, giving them a new social gathering for education and entertainment through the Ideas Box.
Hayden Lord Park’s popularity among children has increased exponentially since the arrival of the Ideas Box. In the opening ceremony for summer program, LWB Founder Patrick Weil said, "The content of the box will be changed by the creativity of the kids," and the enthusiasm the children have shown is driving the adjustments to the Box to fit the kids’ interests.
One example of these adjustments is a boy named Quentin who one afternoon wished to play a game on one of the Box’s tablets. With only laptops out for the day, Ideas Box facilitator Jeremy introduced Quentin to Berkeley Snap!, a simple coding program that helps people learn computer programming. Jeremy was pleasantly surprised at how much fun Quentin had with Berkeley Snap! that he came back the next day asking Jeremy for another coding activity. Jeremy was impressed with how his passion for computer programming made a difference in Quentin’s life by turning a child to a fun activity that develops critical thinking and logic skills.
The energy and passion the LWB team puts into facilitating the Ideas Box has also been reciprocated by those that utilize the Box. LWB intern Madeline enjoys spending time with children at the Box because they have fun using the resources, build warm relationships with other kids and the facilitators, and cultivate values such as volunteer work. One girl named Jill, who has been bringing her two younger siblings to the park almost every day, asked if she could volunteer and has since been helping out with the arts tables. Madeline considers Jill "one of the sweetest girls I've met".
Edwin, an intern with local real estate agency Bronx Pro, noted that there is a different atmosphere to the park when the Ideas Box is out. With the Box providing a safe, happy, and learning environment, there are fewer conflicts on the playground and kids become more collaborative and start having personal conversations.