Posts Tagged ‘Alianza Division’

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.