Moms We Love: Kim Sweet, Executive Director Of Advocates For Children Of New York

Kim Sweet and family

As the granddaughter, daughter, and sister of teachers, Kim Sweet broke the mold by studying law. But it seems that the education bug never left her blood. As the executive director of Advocates for Children of New York (AFC), Sweet has made a career out of helping city students get a quality education that meets their needs.

“If you think of all the 1.1 million schoolchildren in New York City in three groups—the ones who will succeed no matter what their schools do; the ones who need a little extra help to succeed; and the ones who won’t succeed unless they get a whole lot of help—it’s the third group that really motivates me and that drives AFC’s work,” Sweet says. From immigrants to low-income students to those with special needs, AFC helps children and families by offering free legal advice and representation, informing them of their rights through workshops, advocating for policy changes, and, when necessary, taking legal action to get kids the behavioral and learning accommodations they need.

In addition to her work with AFC, Sweet also founded the ARiSE Coalition (Action for Reform in Special Education), an organization which she calls a great complement to AFC. The organization works to reform policies and make schools more accessible—both physically and academically—for special-needs students. They collaborate with a growing list of partners that currently include the United Federation of Teachers, the Mental Health Association of New York, and Parent to Parent of New York State.

Sweet admits that her work as a children’s education advocate found her more than she found it. Prior to working at AFC, she spent 10 years at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, where her initial case assignments involved children’s education. From working on these cases, she discovered her passion for giving a voice to children and families who were not always supported by the education system and became the organization’s leader in special education advocacy work. When the job of executive director of AFC opened up in 2007, she jumped at the chance to further immerse herself in this work.

The mother of two says being a working parent has only “intensified” her passion for the cause and gives her the all-important parental perspective. “Becoming a parent made me much more keenly aware of the competing demands on parents’ time. Parents are juggling childcare along with jobs, families, and other issues,” she says. And that’s exactly why her work is so important. “When a child is having trouble in school, it’s one more very stressful thing that a parent has to deal with—and sometimes it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Though Kim originally hails from Massachusetts, she loves raising her family in the city and has come to think of herself as a New Yorker. She laughs as she confesses that her favorite part about city life is definitely not the small living spaces, but she’s  quick to enthuse about how much her family enjoys visiting NYC’s parks, especially Central Park and Riverside Park.

Kim hopes that her children are proud of the work she does and that they’ll learn the value of giving back. But, even more importantly, Kim wants her kids to understand her passion. “I hope that my children see how much my work means to me and grow up to do something just as meaningful,” she says.

Visit To read about more local Moms We Love featured this year, click here.

Relevant Directory Listings

See More

Aviator Sports Summer Day Camp

<p>Aviator Sports Summer Day Camp offers five daily rotating activities such as swimming, ice skating gymnastics, rock climbing, parkour, indoor/outdoor turf, and courts plus more in its ample 175,000 sq. ft. facility and 35-acre outdoor area. Aviator Summer Camp also offers off-site and on-site field trips such as a day at Green Meadows Farm, Launch Trampoline Park, and a Brooklyn Cyclones game. The summer camp runs from 9 am-5 pm with early drop off and late stay available. Bus transportation is also available throughout Brooklyn. Lunch and an afternoon snack are included. Sign up by February 28th to receive up to $300 off camp with early bird discounts.</p>

TADA! Youth Theater

<div> <p dir="ltr"><strong>TADA! Youth Theater Summer Camps (July 10-August 25, 2023)</strong> Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! TADA! is excited to be back in person with our popular Week-long Musical Theater Summer Camps!  Every week your child will:</p> <p dir="ltr"> </p> <ul> <li>ENGAGE IN MUSICAL THEATER TRAINING</li> <li>CREATE, REHEARSE & PERFORM AN ORIGINAL MINI- MUSICAL</li> <li>EXPLORE THEIR INTERESTS AND IDENTITY</li> <li>SHARE THEIR VOICE AND BE HEARD</li> <li>RECEIVE INDIVIDUALIZED ATTENTION AND SOLO OPPORTUNITIES</li> <li>EXPERIENCE ENSEMBLE-BASED INSTRUCTION BY TWO PROFESSIONAL NYC TEACHING ARTISTS</li> <li>MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH NEW FRIENDS</li> </ul> On the last day of camp, we invite friends and family to attend the debut of your child’s original mini-musical!<br /> <p> </p> <p dir="ltr">Limited spots available! All of our classes take place in-person at 15 W. 28th Street (between Broadway & 5th) and culminate in a final sharing for an invited audience.  </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>For more info or to register for our Summer Camps, visit our website <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="">HERE!</a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Looking for a sample class before registering?</strong> Join us Saturday, June 3rd for an in-person sample class, Q&A, and the best discount of the summer!  Registration required to attend! </p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>For more info. or to register for our Summer Open house, click <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="">HERE!</a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>No child should be turned away because of their inability to pay. </strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener" data-saferedirecturl="">Financial Assistance available. </a></strong></p> <p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><strong>Questions?</strong></p> <div style="text-align: center;"><strong>Email us at <a href="mailto:[email protected]" target="_blank" rel="noopener">[email protected]</a></strong></div> </div> <div> <div dir="ltr" data-smartmail="gmail_signature"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div dir="ltr"> <div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

Incarnation Camp

<p dir="ltr">Wilderness adventure & classic summer camp fun!</p> <p dir="ltr">Located in coastal Connecticut, on over 700 wooded acres surrounding a mile-long private lake, Incarnation Camps are the country's oldest co-ed camps.  Since 1886, we have provided a fun-filled, traditional camp with experiential learning and group living in the outdoors.  We guide campers through well-rounded & adventurous programs that develop an appreciation for nature & celebrate the uniqueness of each individual.  We offer both overnight and day camp programs on our property and serve over 1000 campers each summer through our various programs.</p>