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Monday, February 14, 2022

The Carver Foundation of Norwalk: Inspiring the Next Generation to Pursue Their Dreams

In celebration of Black History Month, Charity Navigator is honored to feature Black-founded nonprofits, highlighting their incredible legacies and commitment to the communities they serve. 

Founded by Black parents, clergy, and other community volunteers in 1938, named after George Washington Carver who was still alive at the time, the Carver Foundation of Norwalk takes Black History passionately. Carver has always been led by a Black CEO. 

Carver proudly exalts Charity Navigator’s 4-Star rating of our work, and we benefit continuously from Charity Navigator’s inspired promotion of volunteerism and philanthropy. Volunteers continue to lead and support the Carver mission “to close opportunity gaps for all children and to ensure they graduate high school on time and are ready for college and careers.”

Carver children and youth work hard and succeed at benefiting from the quality expanded learning opportunities that Carver brings to their learning environments – before school, after-school, and the summer – to support their academic, social-emotional, and physical well-being. 

Today, Carver year-round programming operates in all K-12 schools in Norwalk, CT, and in the Carver Community Center, reaching some 2,400 students a year. Carver programming aligns with school curricula, takes place within each student’s respective school, and is led by daytime certified teachers. Recreational, wellness and cultural components enhance a variety of skills for children. We close opportunity gaps for young people.

Carver embraces many goals for the years ahead. We are renovating the Carver Community Center and we just added full-time Future Readiness Coordinators to Norwalk’s two high schools to serve as counselors to Carver students and as supportive liaisons to Carver alumni.
Carver alumni are ambitious critical thinkers making their mark in the fields of law, government, medicine, finance, entertainment, professional sports, technology, education, entrepreneurship, and the creative arts. Ny-Aja Boyd, for example, is a speech-language pathologist, children’s book author, aspiring university professor, and Carver alumna. 

Ny-Aja graduated in 2017 from North Carolina A&T State University, where she double-majored in elementary education and speech-language pathology. She then went on to receive her master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Sacred Heart University. In Charlotte, North Carolina, Ny-Aja is working at a private practice outpatient clinic as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, evaluating and treating children with autism spectrum disorder, cleft palates, hearing impairments, Augmentative Alternative Communication systems, and intellectual disabilities. She will soon be pursuing her Ph.D. in speech-language pathology to achieve her dreams of becoming a university professor. But it doesn’t end there; she also hopes to open a clinic one day to provide speech therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy to her community. The accomplishment she’s most proud of, though? Self-publishing her first children’s book called Grandfather’s Garden, dedicated to her great-grandfather, Michael. 

“The Carver has always been in my family,” she explains. Her father played basketball at the Carver Community Center in high school and her mother worked there when Ny-Aja was young. She began attending Carver’s after-school programs in elementary school, jump-starting her 13-year involvement with Carver that continues to this day.

Carver intentionally brings together people that represent a broad range of ideas, perspectives, and backgrounds to inform and guide our work. We provide opportunities for people and the City of Norwalk to continuously learn, collaborate with others, and lead the change they want to see in the world. And Charity Navigator is a vital member of this thriving and growing community. 

Authored by Nikki LaFaye, Director of Philanthropy, The Carver Foundation of Norwalk

Photo Credits: The Carver Foundation of Norwalk - All rights reserved.

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