Rite Aid Foundation donates $10K to Bronx youth center

Bervin Harris, center, receives a $10,000 donation check from the Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program for the Renaissance Youth Center, 3485 Third Avenue in the Bronx.
Photo courtesy of Rite Aid Foundation

The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program has honored Bervin Harris of the Renaissance Youth Center in the Bronx as a recipient of its first-ever KIDCHAMP award, a $10,000 check.

The RYC is located at 3485 Third Avenue off 168th Street.

The KIDCHAMP award recognizes individuals in communities served by Rite Aid that have made a difference in the lives of youth, according to Tracy Henderson, director of The Rite Aid Foundation.

Harris said his path crossed with the CEO of Rite Aid when his Youth Council Program volunteers were painting Unity Park, located near the RYC, as an outreach activity, and Rite Aid’s CEO came down to observe the project.

The park, built in 1982, had never been re-painted, was full of graffiti, and its lights and water fountains didn’t work, according to Harris.

The Youth Council Program had just been launched and 68 volunteers came out that day to help spruce up the park, along with the Rite Aid CEO.

Since then, Rite Aid has had a great partnership with RYC, including donations, invitations to corporate events, and fundraising car washes, according to Harris.

Leaders such as Harris are being recognized for advocating for youths’ health and well-being, championing education and academic growth, and creating a safe environment for them to live and grow.

“The Rite Aid Foundation created the KIDCHAMP award to recognize individuals from KidCents charities who selflessly give their time and talent to improve lives of the children and teens they serve,” Henderson said.

She said that for Harris, helping kids is more than a career, it’s a true calling, and he goes above and beyond to help the youth he serves reach their full potential.

Harris’s efforts are “changing lives in the process and inspiring others to join them in their efforts to create strong and vibrant communities,” Henderson said.

As part of their KIDCHAMP recognition, Harris received a $10,000 donation to RYC to continue its work to improve the lives of the children in its community, giving youths a chance at better lives and brighter futures.

Harris, who has more than 30 years of social development experience in the areas of youth services and community development, founded the center to empower at-risk, inner-city youth in the Bronx.

RYC brings performance-based music programs, including vocal classes, musical instruments and dancing, to more than 3,000 students in 26 public schools and community-based organizations.

In addition, the RYC provides youth STEAM education, tutoring and an all-ages sports program.

Harris has created many partnerships for RYC, including the NYPD, Carnegie Hall, NYS Department of Probation, NYC Parks Department, Berklee College of Music and many more.

For more information, visit www.renaissanceyouth.org.

KidCents was developed by The Rite Aid Foundation to provide Rite Aid customers an opportunity to do even more to help the kids in the communities Rite Aid serves.

For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.

Reach Reporter Bob Guiliano at (718) 260-4599. E-mail him at bguiliano@cnglocal.com.

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