Balance Boxes: Providing educational and academic activities to underserved youth
Hi everyone! Balance Boxes is thrilled to share its mission and progress with Springboard Chicago. Balance Boxes was started in March of 2020 by two Deerfield High School students, Samantha Feinberg and Sydney Holubow.
Balance Boxes is a registered 501(c)3 that provides students in low-income communities with educational and enjoyable activities. Each box is created with a designated theme. This is done to ensure the boxes can be made to the child’s liking. Boxes always include a couple of books (picture and chapter books), educational games, and/or school supplies. Along with the educational factors, each child receives either a theme-related toy, art project, sports ball, or game. Each box is also equipped with an easy to make meal and kid-friendly snack to keep the child engaged in the activity. One of the unique factors of Balance Boxes is that each family receives information to register their child for free one to one virtual tutoring.
Progress and the Coronavirus
In April, Balance Boxes delivered 240 boxes to kids (Kindergarten-2nd grade) in underserved communities. To determine which schools, Balance Boxes assists, test scores, family income, demographics, and free/reduced lunch programs are researched. Next week, (May 27th), Balance Boxes is personally delivering another 75 boxes to a school in the city of Chicago.
It is definitely a challenge to deliver boxes during a pandemic. Balance Boxes has been in contact with principals and staff members at various schools. Oftentimes, students go to their school weekly to pick up materials. That said, Balance Boxes finds a convenient time to drop off the boxes with staff members and they handle the distribution process. This ensures that safety requirements and social distancing regulations are upheld.
Balance Boxes has over 40 partnerships with local, national, and international businesses. To create partnerships, Balance Boxes often reaches out to companies that are kid-friendly and supportive of our mission. Much of the items in a box come from both community and business donations, which help a great deal. A complete list of all of the organizations that have donated (product or monetary funds) can be seen here, https://www.freetorunfoundation.org/balanceboxes.
How can you help?
Balance Boxes will accept any good condition or new board games, puzzles, school supplies, or children’s books. Balance Boxes will also accept new art projects, packaged snacks and microwavable meals, and monetary donations. Additionally, spreading the word about Balance Boxes helps a lot. If you know of a school, student, or family that would benefit from a box, feel free to contact Balance Boxes through our website https://www.freetorunfoundation.org/balanceboxes, Instagram (@balanceboxesnp), or Facebook page (Balance Boxes).
Samantha Feinberg is the Co-founder of Balance Boxes-- an initiative to get youth academic and enjoyable materials. She's civically engaged, passionate about human rights, and loves learning about history and politics. Outside of Balance Boxes, Samantha is involved in, JUF’s Voices, Student Congress (debate team), Model United Nations, Human Rights Club, Teens Stand Against Trafficking, The North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic Student Board, The Holocaust Teen Executive Committee (USHMM), the IL Holocaust Museum Teen Board, Israel Club, Teens Give Tutor and Voters of Tomorrow.
Sydney Holubow is the Co-founder of Balance Boxes-- an initiative to get youth academic and enjoyable materials. She's very passionate about ending the wage gap in IL and nationwide. She loves engaging in STEM based programs. In addition to Balance Boxes, Sydney is on the planning committee for GirlCon Chicago. She is an advocate feminist and started a local chapter of Girl Up at Deerfied High School and she is a member of Deerfield’s Human Rights Club.