Posts Tagged ‘Alianza Division’

A Thank You Note from A Once-Struggling Teen

Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

shaquielleShaquille Vazquez, 19, and now a freshman at Onondaga Community College, credits Catholic Charities for getting him there.  Our Alianza division’s Innovation Diploma Plus High School Learning to Work program (IDP /LTW for those who like initials) provides the support challenged teens like Shaquille need to thrive. 

He asked us to share his thank you letter:

I was solely centered on friendship, girls and playing football but thanks to all of the people involved at the Catholic Charities Learning To Work program I realized that with that kind of mindset I was going nowhere.

As I remember all it took was attending a college trip with the LTW program. At first my advocate begged me to go, I thought that it was really I waste of time but the magic just happen, I felt in love with the college life. I saw myself in every student I had a chance to meet, and then I learned that I was qualified to apply to the school but there was a lot of work to be done.

The first thing I did was becoming a youth leader at the LTW College Access Youth Leadership Program, where I was able to learn and navigated college programming. All the trainings I  attended about college explorations, applications and financial aid process made it easier for my own, plus the support of the all the staff.

My experience at IDP/LTW has helped me grow as a student and more importantly to grow as a young individual.

I thank IDP and Catholic Charities Alianza LTW Program for welcoming me with open arms.

Teens to Serve on NYC Community Boards

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Downtown Express photos by Dusica Sue Malesevic Teens interested in applying for community board positions debated the best way to spend $100 million of public money during an exercise in Borough President Gale Brewer’s office last Friday.

It had all the makings of a typical teen party — pizza and soda, excited chatter, and of course, young people, writes Dusica Sue Malesevic in Downtown Express. But it was no party, but rather a meeting to discuss a serious commitment that some adults would shy away from: serving on a community board.

And far from shying away, students from Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division in collaboration with the High School for Media and Communications, were active participants.

Each potential applicant took turns introducing him or herself, stating their age and their school or university…The meeting gave the teens the opportunity to learn community board basics and ask questions that are specific to their age and circumstances: homework, going off to college and working with mostly adults.

For 17-year-old Shirlyn Perez, a junior at High School for Media and Communications, to serve on a board is an opportunity that is “very appealing — not only because I get to contribute to my community but also learn a lot from it.”

Perez, who lives in Washington Heights, said she will definitely be applying to her neighborhood’s board, C.B. 12.

“It’s an exposure to many other things that we don’t get to experience at school,” she said.

Perez said she would focus on the issues of low undergraduate rates and drug use in her neighborhood.

Her classmate, Marleny Delarosa, 16 and from the Bronx, said she would also apply for C.B. 12.

“I care for my community so I’m interested in knowing what’s going on and what I can do to help improve it,” she said.

Read the full coverage in Downtown Express

Share Your Career Tips with Teens

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Catholic Charities, Career day. photo by Stefano GiovanniniBy Alice Kenny

Share your career tips with struggling teens yearning for success.

Join us at our annual Career Day in Washington Heights.

Catholic Charities Alianza Division offers its annual Career Day on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

  • Speak with teens about your career and what it takes to make it work.
  • Help us introduce teens to the world of professional opportunities open to them.

Career Day is part of our Learning to Work program, an in-depth job readiness and career exploration program at the Innovation Diploma Plus High School.

Whatever your vocation, from personal trainer to doctor or chef, you will find an interested audience.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Click to register now.

 

Impoverished Children Act Out Cinderella Tale

Friday, January 9th, 2015

alianza-cornerstoneBy Alice Kenny

Impoverished children, many with a good idea of what Cinderella’s life was like, recently acted out a version of this well-known tale in “A Native American Cinderella.” The actors, ages 5-12, participate in Catholic Charities Highbridge Gardens Cornerstone Alianza Division after-school program.  Their older teen peers designed the children’s costumes as well as the play’s sets.  Off-Broadway Actress Mariel Ryes, who tutors at the after-school program, directed the play.

The play tells the tale of a brave in search of a wife and a chief’s daughter abused by her older sisters in the wigwam they share.  You know what happens next.

Check out these photos and share the fun.

City Teens Tour College and Dream Big

Thursday, November 13th, 2014

By Alice Kenny
Shepard_Hall_1Underprivileged teens from Washington Heights received a guided tour of City College of New York last week, thanks to La Plaza Beacon After-School Program.

Fifteen students learned the history of this college, founded in 1847, in the Howard E. Willie Administration Building. Momentum and interest grew as they next toured the Grove School of Engineering, the North Academic Building, the book store, the library, the computer labs and the Marshak Science building. Finally, they toured stone-hewn Shepard Hall, the castle-like building where students graduate and dreams become reality.

Participants peppered tour guides and teachers with questions about careers choices and about the bottom line, the availability of scholarships and financial aid.

La Plaza Beacon is part of Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division. During after-school hours, La Plaza Beacon’s school-based community center transforms a local school into a thriving neighborhood center. It provides a safe, supervised place where youth go for recreation, cultural activities, homework help and tutoring.

“We accomplished the main goal of our visit,” La Plaza Beacon  Director Leonardo Ivan Dominguez  said, “that with education the sky is the limit.”

Teens Trade in Washington Heights for Washington, D.C.

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

Trading in their Washington Heights neighborhood for a tour of Washington, D.C., more than three dozen low-income teens checked out monuments and colleges in our nation’s capital during their recent winter break, thanks to Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division.

The tour, funded through a grant from the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation and collaboration with the High School for Media & Communications and Catholic Charities Community Services-Alianza Division, offered the students a glimpse of a future outside their neighborhood, a reason to study, and a step-by-step outline of how to apply for and get accepted by top-tier universities.

The visit included stops at the Martin Luther King, Jr., Washington and Lincoln memorials, a tour of Georgetown, George Washington and Howard universities and photos and selfies in front of the White House.

The trip was one of – and many say the most fun – of numerous offerings  Catholic Charities Alianza Division offers young people in the Washington Heights school community.

All the offerings share the same goal:  to inspire students to dream big and give them the resources to make it happen.

Washington Heights Teens Stage Red Carpet Event with Dominican Flare

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

By Alice Kenny

St. Valentine’s Day took on a Dominican flare for middle school-aged students in Washington Heights last week. Decked out in traditional Dominican costumes, the participants from La Plaza Beacon After-School Program acted out their own version of the 2014 Red Carpet. They also directed, worked as stage hands and videotaped this Oscar-inspired evening.

The night was the second annual event of its kind sponsored by La Plaza Beacon, part of Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division.  During after-school hours, La Plaza Beacon’s school-based community center transforms a local school into a thriving neighborhood center. It provides a safe, supervised place where youth go for recreation, cultural activities, homework help and tutoring.

“Our participants were the center of the event,” La Plaza Beacon Director Leonardo Dominguez said. “We also took advantage of the event to recognize the work done for them in arts and craft, video, sports, technology, music and dance.”

Series of College Tours Inspires Students to Achieve

Monday, August 19th, 2013

By Ben Ros

“I found a college that I will be comfortable attending. The visit to Ithaca College makesme want to continue working harder, and focus on taking more challenging courses in my school. I will definitely start taking my priorities more seriously.”

—Yeury Amarante, HS for Media & Communications

July 22, promptly at 6 a.m., students from HS for Media & Communications and Innovation Diploma Plus (IDP) High School gathered at George Washington High School and departed for a two day tour of Skidmore College, Syracuse University, Ithaca College, and SUNY Cortland. Catholic Charities Alianza Division initially contacted parents about the upstate tour, stressing the importance of higher education as a means of breaking the cycle of poverty.

Alianza is a division of Catholic Charities that provides comprehensive community support through a number of programs spanning from domestic violence assistance to immigrant advocacy — and at a time when the New York Times reports that elite colleges are lagging in their efforts to recruit students from financially challenged backgrounds, Alianza is rising to the challenge.

Students from IDP and HS for Media & Communications have been to Alianza-coordinated college fairs and career days before as part of the program’s larger mission to encourage youth to finish school and think about their future. Seeing the actual campuses, however, they were able to picture themselves going to college in a way that fairs and brochures simply can’t emulate.

“Attending this trip gave me the opportunity to meet new people and to look beyond my expectations. I did not think that college was for me, but now I know that I have the potential to enroll in college and major in my area of interest, which is music.”

— Steven Arias, Innovation Diploma HS.

For more information on the good work that Alianza does visit their website alianzaonline.org.

College Fair Opens Teens’ Minds to New Dreams

Friday, February 15th, 2013

 By Alice Kenny

Hundreds of students and nearly 30 colleges and universities participated last week in the second-annual college fair hosted by Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division in collaboration with the High School for Media and Communications.

The event, held on the School for Media and Communications’ campus in Washington Heights, promoted Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division’s mission to help children, youth and families break the cycle of poverty and fulfill their potential as members of the global community.

The college fair was important, said Elizabeth Payero, Program Coordinator for the Division’s High School for Media and Communications, because it gave students throughout the campus the opportunity to gather information needed to make informed decisions about which schools they should focus on and where they should apply.

Representatives from numerous colleges – including Ivy League schools such as Harvard – along with CUNY’s, SUNY’s, UConn, the University of Bridgeport and private universities attended the fair.

Many students applied at the fair for coveted college positions.  The College of St. Rose accepted seven students on the spot.

“Participating in the college fair allowed me to open my mind to new dreams,” said high school junior Lisandy Rodriguez.