By Alice Kenny
Msgr. Kevin Sullivan served as keynote speaker at the mid-year graduation of 15 students who received full academic Regents diplomas on January 31, 2013 at Innovation Diploma Plus (IDP.) This small school devoted to second chances helps teenagers who dropped out of high school, then returned and struggled to receive full academic diplomas.
“I basically grew up here in this school,” said graduate Carlos Guilbe. “I wouldn’t have done it if it weren’t for the students and staff of IDP and Alianza LTW that motivated me to make it.”
The program’s classrooms, pairing small class size with technological innovations, sit on the top floor of the Louis K. Brandeis campus on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.
“We’ve been working with these young people for the past two years to make sure they pass and finally graduate from high school and personally, professionally and academically get their lives on track,” says Eddie Silverio, Alianza’s director of youth programs. “To see them get their diplomas is a beautiful experience.”
Catholic Charities’ Alianza Division partners with youth, families and public and private institutions to revitalize economically distressed neighborhoods. Its mission is to help children, youth and families break the cycle of poverty and fulfill their potential as members of the global community.
“We are filled with excitement seeing how each one of our young adults has accomplished a great milestone, high school graduation,” said Alianza LTW Director Daiana Castillo.” “Congratualtions Class of 2013! You did it!”
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Alianza has been able to multiply opportunities it provides the children it serves. Thanks to coordination with Catholic Charities CYO programs, Alianza’s Young Men Initiative program brought 11 teens to the Fordham vs. University of Rhode Island basketball game held last month on the Fordham campus.
The trip proved so popular that it is now slated to be the first of many trips to the university campus.
“Our students didn’t realize that there was a school that big and beautiful in the Bronx,” Mr. Silverio added. “Our trip gave them another incentive to work hard and keep their grades up so that they can go to a school like Fordham.”