Youth Innovations to Look Out for

Since the fall, the Elevating Youth Voice program has been mobilizing students to create change in their own programs. After long sessions of adult-youth partnership, collaboration, and innovation, youth partners have come up with events to meet the needs of students in their program. Keep reading for the results of their hard work!

Social Hour: Real Talk

Thursday, April 25 at 55 Exchange Place

Youth partner(s): Fatou Diokhane, Jiralmi Lugo, and Omar Hassan; Adult partner(s): Stephanie Lott

Underclassmen students often lose engagement or motivation to continue with the SEO program because the beginning of the program is overwhelming workload and less feelings of community and belonging. To combat this, SEO Scholars and youth partners Fatou, Jiralmi, and Omar are creating a social networking event between upperclassmen and underclassmen to help students realize the resources available to them and inspire a sense of belonging through peer mentoring and connection.

L.O.V.E Attending College Open House

Friday, April 26 at the International High School for Health Sciences, 90th St, Queens, NY 11373

Youth partner(s): Rozouana Prome, Kaniz Eva; Adult partner(s): Angelique Beluso

LOVE students Rizouana and Eva found out from students at LOVE that they are interested in learning more about college and what it’s actually like. They created a plan to bring LOVE students to colleges and feel the college environment for themselves. They visited Hunter College on April 3rd and after their second planned college trip (to Harvard), LOVE and its youth partners are hosting an event for reflecting on their trips!

OneGoal Family Involvement

Friday, April 26 at the Bronx Lighthouse Academy, 1005 Intervale Ave, The Bronx, NY 10459

Youth partner(s): Amya Edwards;  Adult partner(s): Valerie Hennessy, Rochelle Sinclair

OneGoal scholars felt that family involvement was an important factor of student engagement. That’s why youth partner Amya Edwards wants to hold an event, Family Open Door Night, to showcase students’ hard work and include parents in their journeys.

Jumpstart to Freedom

Tuesday, April 30 at 25 Broadway, Fl 12, NY 10004

Youth partner(s): Shamya Smith, Joshua Reid, and Elaine Mena; Adult partner(s): Edrick Johnson, Amelia Thompson, Shenequa (Dawn) Olatokun

Youth partners Shamya, Joshua, and Kun discovered many of their fellow students don’t feel like they have sufficiently explored their passions and future careers. They’re hosting a lunch with alumni in at least 4 different career paths and want to make sure students are able to have casual conversations over a meal together, so that students feel more comfortable asking questions. They hope their peers will walk away with a better understanding of different careers.


Changing the Game

Monday, May 6 at the school art room

Youth partner(s): Alancer Fortunato, Ayana McGlone; Adult partner(s): Marisa Zullin, Susan Donovan

Community of Unity and youth partners Alancer and Ayana identified that a major first step in feeling confident about life beyond high school was having a strong resume. They are holding a resume-building workshop for students who are starting the college application process, as well as take time to begin planning out a college visit for CoU. Alancer and Ayana hope that students will leave the session feeling confident in their resumes and about the college process.

Mentor Matching at Union Settlement

Wednesday, May 8 at 204 East 109th St, auditorium

Youth partner(s): Afiya Burns, Egypt Moore; Adult partner(s): Jennifer Paige, Barbara Watkins-Samuels

Youth partners Afiya and Egypt want students in Union Settlement’s programs to feel more comfortable with reaching out to Union Settlement when needed. They took the initiative to survey their peers for what they’d like most for Union Settlement to provide, and the answer was: a peer mentoring program. Their mentor matching event is coming up soon!

Future Chats

Thursday, May 16 at the Boathouse, Pier 66

Youth partner(s): Lorenzo Cao; Adult partner(s): Alexe Taylor

Lorenzo identified a key issue with Hudson River Community Sailing: maintaining interest in the program throughout the year. To help, Lorenzo and HRCS came up with a plan to have speakers with interesting careers to visit HRCS’ students to engage them.

College Applications & STEM Career Workshops

Friday, May 24 at 55 Broadway, Fl 16

Youth partner(s): Brenda Encarnacion, Ismael Salceo; Adult partner(s): Maggie Muldoon

Brenda and Ismael, youth partners with MOUSE, identified that students wanted more application support and guidance. While students worked hard to earn certain badges, they needed a clearer connection between those badges and how they lead to different STEM careers to better understand where they want to go and how what they’re doing. To change that, MOUSE will host an event to inform other students of opportunities in STEM careers and which skills are required so that students feel confident in pursuing STEM careers.

HEAF’s Post-Secondary Steps

Monday, May 27 at 2090 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd, New York, NY 10027, Fl 10, rooms 1, 2, 3

Youth partner(s): Danell Francis, Brondon Bain, Pharrell Williams; Adult partner(s): Krystal Bostick

Youth partners Danell and Brondon realized students at HEAF wanted to see how older students and alumni of HEAF have faced and overcome similar challenges. By holding an alumni day where alumni can speak about how HEAF supported them in their aspirations, they hope students will remain engaged with HEAF and understand they have support in their challenges.


Arts in Post Secondary

Saturday, June 22 at location TBA

Youth partner(s): Shaena Gibson, Daniel Patrick; Adult partner(s): Christina Gonzalez

EPIC Theatre Ensemble and youth partners Shaena and Daniel are inviting the alumni of EPIC back to talk about their unique experiences pursuing education and careers in the arts. With this event, current students will gain firsthand insight about the process of applying to colleges in the arts and how EPIC and various other programs have helped them get there.

Proposed Projects

College Readiness

Youth partner(s): Samia Afrin, Kimberly Hussey, Ezria Joe; Adult partner(s): Carina Cruz

Breakthrough NY students expressed that they know a lot about college prep, but want to think even more about college fit. By utilizing the BT Buddies, Samia, Kim and Ezria want to use peer mentoring to explore best fit colleges in program.

Family Involvement Workshop

Youth partner(s): Sabrina Deliso, Heidy Percil; Adult partner(s): Stephanie Nunez, LaKisha Williams, Sabrina Ally, Monica Ortiz, Amy Kirschenbaum

With the goal to increase the involvement of family members in the college application process, youth partners Sabrina and Heidy are creating a workshop for Goddard students and their families. The workshop aims to explain the benefits of Goddard’s program to parents and guardians and help them understand the college application process students will go through.

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Sooah Rho

Sooah is passionate about the power of young people to change their communities. She focuses on identifying ways SSN can continue to grow and cultivate an inclusive network that elevates the most important voices in education: practitioner and youth. Prior to joining SSN, Sooah was a high school English teacher in Oakland, CA where she was awarded Teacher of the Year by Oakland Unified Charter Schools 2016.

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