Last week was National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week, an initiative that seeks to raise awareness and foster discussion about issues related to reading, numeracy, and English language learning. To celebrate the event, the Sunset Park Alliance, a coalition of community agencies, held an event to showcase the work of its members in providing innovative ESL and adult education services. As part of the event, participants from Alliance programs shared the impact these services had on their lives. Among those who spoke were members of the Center-supported cooperatives who are currently participating in ESL courses to improve their work-related language skills and earning potential.
Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott presents the mayor's proclamation to Alliance Director Stacie Sanchez. Photo: Laina Yoswein, SPA
Attendees at the event included Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Fatima Shama, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for Immigrant Affairs, along with other city officials from the Mayor’s Office of Adult Education, the Office of Adult and Continuing Education of the NYC Department of Education and the New York City Workforce Investment Board.
The Sunset Park Alliance is a collaboration of six agencies, including Fifth Avenue Committee, Center for Family Life, Lutheran Family Health Center, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Turning Point and Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp. The Alliance provides comprehensive case management services, engaging youth in training programs and social services to help them achieve their educational and career goals.
Below is a slide show of pictures from the event. For more photos, check out the Alliance’s Facebook page.
Photo: UNH Campaign for Summer Jobs
The threat of severe cuts in city and state funding for youth programs, particularly the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), inspired young people in our community to let lawmakers know how important these programs are for Sunset Park families.
On Youth Action Day in February, teens and staff representing all of the Center’s youth programs took a trip to Albany, where they met with over 30 Assembly members and state legislators. While there, they also attended a rally organized by the Campaign for Summer Jobs, a coalition of New York City community agencies led by United Neighborhood Houses (UNH).
Participants, parents, staff and worksites employing youth in the summer also sent over 1,500 letters to state and city lawmakers and officials, including Governor Patterson, Assembly Member Felix Ortiz and State Senator Velmanette Montgomery. Young advocates, parents and staff testified at City Council hearings on the planned budget cuts.
“I felt that I played an essential role for all of New York youth because not many young people get the opportunity to fight for summer jobs and voice their opinion,” a youth participant said. “It was a powerful experience.”
The Governor’s proposed state budget for the 2011 fiscal year includes an $11 million funding cut for the Advantage After School Program and the elimination of NY State funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
These cuts would have a huge impact in Sunset Park: the Advantage After School Program provides funding for three of the Center’s school-based youth programs, including PS 1, PS 503/PS 506 and MS 136/MS 821. The Summer Youth Employment Program supports over 1,300 summer jobs for teens each year, including hundreds of counselor positions that are essential to the neighborhood’s free summer day camp programs. Continue reading
The Center’s Youth Employment Program, now located at the new Sunset Park High School, helps teenage youth explore career options and prepare for higher education and the workforce. During the school break from February 16th to 19th, the program offers high school juniors the opportunity to spend two hours with adults at their workplace.
This gives students a chance to gain first-hand experience in a field of their interest, witnessing the work environment and the skills the occupation requires in practice. Students are interested in a wide variety of careers, but especially in engineering, technology and medical fields.
If you are interested in hosting a student at your workplace, please email Liz Stevenson at email@example.com or call the Youth Employment Program at (718) 840 1640.
The first annual Career, College & Community Building Day at Sunset Park High School will be held on Friday, January 29, 2010. Center for Family Life and the Sunset Park High School are seeking adult volunteers who will introduce students to a variety of career options.
From 10:30 am to 1:30, volunteers will lead discussions with students during three lunch periods. Each of the three lunch periods is 1 hour in length, and we hope that guests will be be able to spend all three hours at the event so that all students will have a chance to interact with all of the guests.
During each lunch period, guests will speak about their education and career paths, and answer questions from a group of 5-8 ninth-grade students. Tables will be organized by employment field/career.
We plan to set up 21 tables, and welcome several additional volunteers. In particular, we need volunteers representing the business community and health/medical careers, but anyone who would like a chance to interact with the SPHS’s terrific first graduating class of 2013 is welcome.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Julie Brockway at (718) 840-1620 or firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, January 20!
The official opening of the long-awaited Sunset Park High School took place last Wednesday, September 23, 2009, with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. Speakers at the event included NYC Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, NYC Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, NY State Assembly Member Felix Ortiz, and City Council Member Sara Gonzalez.
In its Summer 2009 issue, Nonprofit Quarterly focuses on the issue of immigration, “taking apart and restitching the picture of nonprofits and their service, program, and advocacy relationships with immigrant populations.” Articles in the journal, including some web-only features, approach the issue from four perspectives: Community Development and Immigration, Immigration Policy, Immigrant Youth, and Immigration and Philanthropy.
“All nonprofits have a stake in treating, serving, advocating for, and supporting immigrants in this nation,” writes Rick Cohen in An Immigration Agenda for ‘Regular Jane and Joe’ Nonprofits. ” What should nonprofits be prepared to do?” Click on the link to read his recommendations. In Building Economic Power in Immigrant Communities- Lessons from the Field, author Analisa Nazareno offers case studies highlighting successful economic development practices in immigrant communities, including two of the most successful and innovative organizations to help Latino immigrants acquire the knowledge and financial tools necessary to achieve economic security, Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) in North Carolina and the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC) in Minnesota.
“Frequently, nonprofits view immigrant populations as accumulations of deficits, but for immigrant youth, nonprofits should also see the assets that can be built on and developed,” argue Cynthia Garcia Coll and Flannery Patton in Supporting Immigrant Youth – Removing Obstacles and Building on Strengths. The article discusses the strengths immigrant youth demonstrate in schools and in their communities, examines the institutional and contextual supports that foster their success, and describes non-profit programs and practices that have been the most effective in serving immigrant youth.
For more articles in this extensive collection, including in-depth discussion of issues related to immigration reform and the role philanthropies, visit the Non-Profit Quarterly’s web site.