Forty-five high school juniors and graduating seniors from the Transition to Adulthood Program (TAP) gathered for an end of year celebration at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Center on June 29 to celebrate the year’s successes and to honor those who made the program so meaningful in their lives.
The program, based at the Kennedy Center and funded through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, helps high school students from the Harlem community and beyond prepare for college and careers through leadership development classes, workshops, college visits and summer internships.
“All of the students who attended the event commented that they felt that the Kennedy Center was like a second home to them – a place where they truly belonged – and that program staff was like family,” said Christy Mathurin, youth program coordinator at the Kennedy Center.
At the event, program staff members awarded certificates to the rising seniors who completed one year of the program, and to the graduating seniors who had completed the program and are going off to college this fall. The celebration also welcomed back five TAP graduates who are currently attending college. Program graduates were awarded stipends to help cover college tuition and other expenses, and awarded certificates in recognition of their successful completion of a year in college.
Performances by members of the Kennedy Center’s African dance, modern dance and drumming groups followed the awards presentation. As a special touch, TAP students, graduates and their families were invited to join these groups on stage and participate in the performances themselves.
“The event was very touching for students and all attendees. It brought something magical,” said Mustafa Tabakovic, Catholic Charities program director. Tabakovic said he hoped that the creative performances would inspire students and community members to get involved in the diverse activities offered by the Kennedy Center, and enrich the Harlem community through their energy and participation.
This is the second year that the Kennedy Center has hosted this end of year celebration for its students and performers, and it promises to be a long-standing tradition.
“We were told by everyone who attended the event that we need to hold this celebration every year,” said Mathurin.
- For more information about getting involved with the Kennedy Center, contact Christy Mathurin at Christy.Mathurin@archny.org.
- To serve as a Catholic Charities volunteer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.