Safe to be Smart at Central and Branches
Safe to be Smart serves youth at Central Library and the Wheatley, Lincoln, Sully, Maplewood and Arnett branches.
The branch libraries play a crucial role in supporting the mission of the Rochester Public Library by delivering services to neighborhoods throughout the City. They provide safe havens for children and youth and are often the only educational and cultural resource available beyond the schools.
At Central and the branches, the Safe to be Smart Library staff provide teens with counseling and mentoring, as well as assistance with homework, employment searches and retention, resume writing and the Internet. The program also provides a safe social environment, with Internet service, games, PlayStation and Wii gaming centers, listening stations and more.
In FY2018-19, Safe to be Smart received support from the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Joan & Harold Feinbloom Supporting Foundation, Max & Marian Farash Foundation, Max A. Adler Charitable Foundation, MAXIMUS Foundation, and individual donors.
Spring 2020 Trip to DC!
Field trips are a big part of Safe to be Smart. In 2020, 24 Safe to be Smart teens will visit Washington DC, a field trip of a lifetime – this all-expenses-paid trip is thanks to incredibly generous supporters from the Reynolds Library Board, the William & Sheila Konar Foundation, Susan Brown and 56 donors to FFRPL’s recent Roc the Day campaign.
Here are some recent Safe to be Smart highlights from the six sites:
- Winter 2020: conducted Black History Month research; enjoyed a ‘Skate to Commemorate’ ice skating field trip to MLK Jr. Memorial Park at Manhattan Square for MLK Jr. Day; enjoyed a variety of social and craft programs.
- Fall 2019: Aluminum foil Zentangle Art; back-to-school supply projects; pine cone crafts; a splatter art project; Mix and Mingle event, wine glass candle holder/snow globes project, field trip to ‘Little Women’ movie
- Summer 2019: Trip to RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium, American Dolls Space Program, Galaxy Picture Frame Art, A Day in the Garden, ‘Bling your Flip Flops and T-shirts’ art project
- Spring 2019: Trip to the movies to see Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars Day, PlayStation Game Day, Trip to the Lilac Festival, Poetry Slam
- Winter 2019: ‘Mix and Mingle’ – Taco in a bag, Candle Wax Art, Fiber Art
- Fall 2018: ‘Mix and Mingle’ – National Cheese pizza day, Tween Tuesdays (crafts, games and other activities)
- Summer 2018: Harry Potter birthday party, raising and releasing Butterflies, trip to Seabreeze, the Traveling Farm visits the library, Lava Lamp art project
- Winter 2020: Researched National Winter sports traumatic brain injuries and national drug and alcohol facts; enjoyed different card games; celebrated Black History Month with special projects and a movie week (showed Tuskegee Airmen; Hidden Figures; Red Tails).
- Fall 2019: Staff assisted with homework and online College applications; field trip to The Strong National Museum of Play (including a talk by Lual Mayen: ‘A Game Developer’s Inspirational Journey’ and meet and greet)
- Summer 2019: Wildlife demonstration with Wild Wings, fencing instruction, therapeutic coloring
- Spring 2019: Celebration of National Poetry Month, Gaming event, Pi Day
- Winter 2019: Black History Trivia night
- Fall 2018: trip to the Rochester Museum and Science Center, ‘Mix and Mingle’ – Harvest Festival, trip to SkyZone, College Connect program
- Summer 2018: community camp youth help present a mock trial, Gaming, Fencing instruction
- Winter 2020: Presented an ‘interview elevator speech’ program; teens wrote and recited their own personalized ‘I Have A Dream’ speeches.
- Fall 2019: The Voice of Knowledge Book Reading Program; STEM Clean Water SCIENCE Program; Game Day
- Summer 2019: Reading Program ‘Why Voting is on Tuesdays’
- Spring 2019: Youth Reading Club, Coup Card Game event
- Winter 2019: ‘100 Facts about MLK, Jr.’ event, special screening of Selma movie
- Fall 2018: Percussion practice, DMV Study session, STEM Program ‘Ice vs. Salt’
- Summer 2018: Second Avenue Learning at Sully Branch for a special ‘Game Changer’ gaming/programming event, Superhero Reading Group
- Winter 2020: experimented with different STEM projects; worked on reading fluency; completed their Short Film/Stop Motion Animation video on the inclusion of girls in sports historically considered to be for boys; practiced trading compliments for National Compliment Day; enjoyed Jeopardy games; concluded January book club with discussion of They Saw Too Much; celebrated Black History Month; worked on a mystery while learning about forensics and criminal investigations, fingerprint and handwriting analysis and crime solving in general.
- Fall 2019: confidence and relationship building programs, Fall and back-to-school crafts; field trip to Wickham Farms for hayrides and apple picking; poetry unit for national poetry and national black poetry day
- Summer 2019: group participation in library events including Craft Day, Coloring Club, Lego Lab, Book Bingo, and Anime Club; End of Summer/Back to School party; peace circle
- Spring 2019: Spelling Bee, field trip to VeRacity VRcade
- Winter 2019: viewing of Hidden Figures movie was for Black History and follow-up discussion
- Fall 2018: building a Nintendo LABO robot
- Summer 2018: LEGO Mindstorms building project, STEM Nintendo LABO building of model fishing poles, a house, piano and motorcycle
- Winter 2020: researched Martin Luther King Jr.; hosted a Phase 10 card tournament; enjoyed a field trip to Strong Museum of Play; held a postcard program with the help of The Experience Fiber Art Team; enjoyed Valentine’s Day programs and crafts.
- Fall 2019: Competitive Monopoly game and discussion of real-life real estate; research for Financial Aid options for College; field trip to The Strong National Museum Of Play (including a talk by Lual Mayen: ‘A Game Developer’s Inspirational Journey’ and meet and greet)
- Summer 2019: Summer trivia quiz, field trip to see The Lion King movie
- Spring 2019: field trip to Gamer’s Nostalgia, cooking demonstration and hands-on prep, viewing of Spiderman in the Spiderverse, building a Nintendo LABO robot
- Winter 2019: viewing of College Road Trip and discussion; viewing of The Hate You Give (emotional scenes led to a post movie discussion on how to behave when in contact with a cop, what racism looks like, what it means to be a good citizen and other topics); creation of African American ‘People of Interest’ fact sheets and scavenger hunt
- Fall 2018: Group trip to the third annual ‘A Call to Women of Color’ event at Trillium Health, Nintendo Switch programs, UNO tournament
- Summer 2018: special classes with ROC Fencing, Gaming, sySTEMic science session with Naomi (cool carbon dioxide chemical reactions), cooking program with The Storybook Cook (including a make-your-own meal)
- Winter 2020: created rainbow reveal artwork; presented NBA 2k19 Blacktop Tournament; hosted Black History ‘Food for Thought’ challenge; welcomed StBS alums; held ‘Barbershop Talk’ (teens enjoyed getting haircuts on site); held a popular Ping Pong Tournament; offered chess instruction.
- Fall 2019: Teen Movie/Pizza Night; Halloween Party: costumes, scary movies and snacks. Community celebration of the completion of ‘Play Walk’ with local artist Shawn Dunwoody. Link Mural Reveal with reception and special remarks by Library Director Patricia Uttaro, city officials, and local artist Chloe Smith
- Summer 2019: Link Art Project planning with local artist Chloe Smith, Melora Miller Retirement Party, ‘Defeat Mr. J’ Ping Pong Tournament, literacy challenge (win gift cards or do push-ups), Graduation celebrations for 60+ STBS teens from Central!
- Spring 2019: Teen Appreciation event, interviewing ‘Achieving Teens’ project, chess instruction, Prom guidance and help
- Winter 2019: Library staff helped the Teens apply for jobs, including putting together interview outfits, and practicing interview skills; art projects, creation and display of Black History sheets
- Fall 2018: Ping Pong and Gaming Tournaments, Homework Helpers, ‘Relaxing in Coloring,’ Creation of Marvel’s Stan Lee tribute display, ‘Name That Song,’ Work and Study Group, PS4 Injustice Tournament, Thanksgiving dinner Feast
- Summer 2018: Ping Pong games and tournaments
In addition to operational funding, support is always needed for cultural and literacy related field trips, life skills programming, community service activities and guest speakers.
FFRPL continually seeks support for the Safe to be Smart program. To give a gift today, complete the Special Projects Donation Form and mail to FFRPL, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (585) 428-8321 or (585) 428-8322.