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Lighting Up Lunar New Year with East Harlem Tutorial Program

As we enter the Year of the Dragon, our East Harlem team enthusiastically breathed fire into the passions of young readers. On Thursday, February 8, with the support of our longtime collaborators at East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), LINC delivered an unforgettable afternoon of stories, food, crafts, and music to dozens of families and two classrooms of pre-K and Kindergarten learners.

Lunar New Year is a time of renewal for many families in East Harlem, and is celebrated by many cultures who observe the lunar calendar, including Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Taiwanese families. Following the cycles of the moon to track the passing of seasons, the lunar calendar culminates with New Year, during which a new animal on the Chinese Zodiac is crowned as the year’s sign. The Year of the Dragon in particular is a time to walk softly and bravely, embodying both the power of the dragon and its wisdom to use that power for good.

Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate, to be with family and friends and to remember what’s important in life,” said LINC Community Engagement Specialist Inez Martinez. We wanted our festivities to be a celebration of the bonds between caretakers and their little ones, and a reminder of the impactful gift that learning to read brings to a child’s lifelong development. Inside each child is the potential for a powerful, wise dragon– and it all starts with building foundational literacy skills early at home and on the go.

That’s the theme of Vickie Lee and Joey Chou’s story Ruby’s Chinese New Year, which our Family Engagement Specialist Kiera Jerez read to families. In this delightful tale, Ruby meets the twelve animals of the Zodiac on her way to deliver a letter to her role model and mentor, her grandmother. With the support of her new friends, Ruby learns more about her culture and the empowering bonds that her family has built to support her.

We are thankful to EHTP for their tireless championing of early education, whose schools and programming have transformed the lives of many Harlem residents, including our own staff member Kiara Santos. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with EHTP, and to continue reading with East Harlem families all throughout the lunar year to come.

To register for LINC's latest programs, visit us at Check out the latest on East Harlem in our February Resource Letter, and please encourage any families you know in East Harlem to join us for our upcoming workshop series at


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