Female scholars at the Waterside School for Leadership in Rockaway Park celebrated their first ever “Girl’s Night In” on May 13. The evening, hosted by The Child Center of NY’s SONYC afterschool program, was a chance for the girls to build a sense of community as they felt like royalty, posing for pictures with the actual Ms. New York 2016, Anna Treppiedi, and taking turns trying on her crown.
Treppiedi, program coordinator of SONYC Waterside, spoke to the girls about self-esteem and respect. She also emphasized her expectation that they do their best in school: “It doesn’t matter what you want to do. You will need to go to school. You want to teach? You want to be an actress? You want to wrestle, like me? You need school!”
The pageant winner also shared her own experience of being bullied when she was younger and how she overcame it. She reminded them that a positive attitude and hard work are the keys to success.
Female scholar Diamond, an eighth-grader at the Waterside School, summed it up when she declared, “Beauty is in the mind, the heart, and the soul. If you have a good personality, people will want to be around you.”
New York City’s public school students return to school today. While their parents have spent the weekend stocking their kids’ backpacks with new pencil cases and notebooks, let’s hope their teachers have stocked their classrooms with toothpicks, cork, coins, and other everyday materials. The reason is simple: These materials can be used in hands-on experiments that encourage trial and error and the application of complex concepts. That’s the right way to teach STEM to tomorrow’s leaders, and it needs to be an integral part of schools and after-school programs—especially those that primarily serve BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and low-income students, and other groups typically underrepresented in STEM fields.
Anna Treppiedi, a.k.a. Ms. New York, is no shrinking violet. As students at the School’s Out New York City (SONYC) after-school program at the Waterside School for Leadership know well, she doesn’t shrink from a challenge, or from any opportunity to speak her mind—especially when the subject is education. That’s why it’s no surprise that she’s a contestant in this year’s Ms. America pageant. Continue reading
Students on their way to a rally to save their after-school program.
On June 30, nearly 2000 kids will lose the safe, welcoming place they go to every day after school.
COMPASS, the after-school program started by Bloomberg, was never meant to be a permanent part of the city’s programming. But the city may have underestimated how important these programs would become to the kids they serve.
Providing individualized tutoring and homework help, plus a full slate of enrichment activities to help students find their talents and develop social emotional skills, these programs were desperately needed community resources in underserved neighborhoods, and a waitlist quickly formed. But unless the revised budget, scheduled to be released tomorrow, provides funding for the programs, they will be cut.
Maya Abigail, a student at PS 273, woke up on a Saturday and wrote this letter on behalf of her after-school program.
The 17 locations serve 1900 students citywide. Two locations–PS 96 in South Ozone Park and PS 273 in Richmond Hill–are a part of The Child Center’s youth development programs, and students here have been mounting a campaign to save the programs. They’ve written letters, painted posters, held rallies, marched on Queens Borough Hall, and shared videos and images online.
“It is very scary not knowing what lies next for us,” said Shantryce Hare, the director at the COMPASS program at PS 96 in South Ozone Park. Continue reading
This holiday season, our afterschool programs are encouraging kids to give back. Our programs celebrated the Thanksgiving season by raising awareness about hunger and homelessness.
During National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week (November 15-23), the COMPASS program at P.S. 96 asked for an end to hunger and homelessness, not just in the community but nationwide. Throughout the week, kids watched videos and learned lessons on hunger, homelessness and philanthropy. They collected socks and canned food for a donation drive to help out, and they drew attention to the issue with an “X-OUT Homelessness” campaign. To raise awareness, students placed an “X” made of duct tape on their book bags, shirts or sweaters.
COMPASS program staff set an example of service by volunteering at the Masbia Soup Kitchen in Coney Island. They peeled, chopped and diced, preparing 480 pounds of vegetables that the soup kitchen will turn into delicious soups and dinner plates for the hungry. Continue reading
Elisa Pimentel is starting her third year as the director of the after-school program at PS 89 in Elmhurst, Queens. She oversees a staff of 35 who teach dancing, art, and theme-based learning to 300 children in the afternoons throughout the school year, and during seven weeks of summer. Her students are mainly low-income and working class immigrants who collectively speak at least a dozen languages.
Elisa understands what they are going through. She is from the neighborhood. She attended PS 89 herself. When she was 17 and graduated high school, she started volunteering here in hopes that it would lead to an entry level job as a youth worker. The bet paid off, and within three months she was hired. Since then she put in years of hard work, and went up the ladder with promotions. In 2012 she earned her bachelor’s and is now a NYS certified teacher.
“We’ll build a better world—for all the little boys and girls,” sang Emme Aviles and her friends, elementary school students in The Child Center’s summer program at PS 273.
The students composed the song as part of an Africa-focused curriculum and fundraiser. They studied leadership, culture, and family relationships in six African countries, and raised money to help build a school in a South African village.
At the joyful final performance, students chanted, danced, and sang, to cheers from parents and friends. “There are no words to express the dedication, support and sincere caring of this program and staff,” wrote one parent in a thank-you note, remarking on the profound change in her son over the summer.
In addition to finding new friends and mentors, the kids forged a real connection to a place halfway around the world. “To know that they were helping others—that was really important to them,” said Saher Mahmood, the program’s director.