I am deeply touched as I learn more and more about these kids’ backgrounds, as I see how they struggle, and as I watch them overcome one obstacle after another.
2014 Celebrity Cruise Honoree
Beth enjoyed her childhood in Tacoma, Washington near the beautiful Puget Sound, but moved to New York City in 1986 to become a nanny, and has been on the job for the past 27 years. Her love of children seems limitless, and when she takes a break from duties as a nanny, she works for kids as a volunteer.
Beth became involved with New York Cares in 2000, a charity that covers a broad range of needs, but Beth puts her efforts primarily into ventures that are children-oriented. Her favorite is child literacy. One of the programs Beth's team leads is called "Bedtime Stories," which takes place in south Bronx. Beth has volunteered here for twelve years.
Three nights a month, Beth leads a group of volunteers who meet at a south Bronx homeless shelter where they help children improve their reading skills. For many of these children, this is the only one-on-one time they receive. After spending time reading, they focus on art projects. Beth bakes cookies for each session, and is fondly known as the ‘cookie leader.'
Beth also organizes a yearly book drive, and her goal is to bring each child a new book every week, so they can start building their own libraries. Says Beth, "Now and then a young adult will come up to me and say ‘Hey, Beth, do you remember me? You used to read to me at Jackson Avenue.' This makes my heart sing, and is one of the great moments of my life."
Another of Beth's projects is called Urban Adventures. Here, she and her team take a group of kids on field trips to places like Governor's Island, corn mazes in New Jersey, and the Hall of Science in Queens. The kids, have to earn the priviledge of going on these field trips by meeting attendance requirements at school, and getting passing grades.
While Beth's heart is with children's projects, she also dedicated herself to the Family Assistance Center for 9/11 Victims and Families and she has more recently been involved with the ongoing Super Storm Sandy recovery.
Beth is joined by her father Jack Lehmann on the cruise.