The LYFE Program had the honor of attending Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Celebration Concert. The concert included lullabies written by parents, from different organizations across the nation, and sung by Carnegie Hall’s musicians. The hour concert provided a unique and inspiring treat to hear the universal language of music combined with the vulnerable experiences of parenting.
LYFE student parent Suad of Bronx Regional High School was one of the lucky student parents to have her lullaby chosen for a performance during today’s concert. Suad wrote a whimsical lullaby titled “Nowara” for her daughter Noor. Both Suad and Noor took to Carnegie Hall’s stage during their lullaby’s performance.
It was an inspirational evening of music, dance and a reminder that parenting is a very emotional lullaby that plays in every parent’s heart!Visit the #LullabyProject Facebook page for more information! Visit LYFE’s twitter page to learn more about the Lullaby Project in LYFE.
LYFE teacher Nina Berman was chosen as LYFE’s nominee for the Big Apple Award! Nina exemplifies successful growth within the LYFE Program. Beginning as an educational paraprofessional, Nina worked hard and committed herself to her educational and career goals, eventually becoming a LYFE Teacher. Nina’s journey has been quite beneficial to the children, student parents, and the school community. She goes beyond her professional obligation to ensure student parents in the LYFE Program have the tools needed to be successful. She implements multiple family engagement experiences during the school year, engages in collaborations with the school community to support student parents, and outreaches to community-based organizations to support the Department of Education’s youngest learners and their families. Nina’s efforts have resulted in family success! LYFE applauds Nina’s high achievements and thanks her for her outstanding work! Congratulations Nina!
LYFE social worker Jennifer Schwam was selected by the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers to receive the Mid-Career Social Work Leader Award! Ms. Schwam was chosen for her dedicated career as a social worker. Detailing all of Ms. Schwam’s accomplishments in her successful career as a social worker, including joining the LYFE Program in 2016, she was honored at the 11th Annual Leadership Award Dinner in the presence of over 200 guests! Ms. Schwam shared that the experience was amazing and she ensured that information about the LYFE Program was shared within the event’s program for the evening! LYFE congratulates Ms.Schwam on receiving such an honorable award!
Collaborations within the LYFE Program ensure student parents and their families are receiving maximum support. Whether the partnership is external or internal, the benefits of support enhance successful outcomes. The highlights in LYFE this month all showcase how Teamwork makes the LYFE dream work!
Carnegie Hall Lullaby Project
What’s more fun than singing with your child? How about creating a one-of-a-kind lullaby with your child! The LYFE Program @ Bronx Regional High School and LYFE @ Hillcrest High School are currently participating in Carnegie Hall’s Lullaby Project. After school, student parents meet with Carnegie Hall Musicians to compose their own lullaby all about their child! The project provides an opportunity for a unique interaction between student parents and their child and enhances bonding through a creative learning experience. LYFE at Hillcrest student parent Kimberly D. shared that “Ally (her daughter) loves our song so much. I sing it to her at bedtime and as soon as she wakes up she wants me to sing it again!”. At the end of the year, student parents who participated in the project will be invited to a concert and lucky winners will hear their lullaby played at Carnegie Hall! LYFE at Aspirations will also participate in the program in January 2018.
Teamwork in Action
Teamwork makes the LYFE dream work! Multiple LYFE staff collaborated to foster family success when a family inquired about childcare for their twin 6-month-old boys! The student mother, along with her mother, attended the LYFE Summer Open House at Central Office in July. During this time, the student parent expressed an interest in attending LYFE @ HillcrestHigh School.
- LYFE’s Engagement & Partnership Manager, Nyesha Greene, who facilitated information during the open house visit, connected the LYFE student parents to LYFE @ Hillcrest social worker Melissa Mora, who was already familiar with the student parent.
- LYFE @ Hillcrest was at capacity and as the student parents expressed concern about travel with twin boys to other LYFE site options, LYFE Data and Technology specialist Roy Reyes supported the family, who only speaks Spanish, with navigating the travel challenges.
- LYFE Principal Dr. Kara Ahmed supported the family by ensuring that LYFE could support travel accommodations to and from alternate LYFE sites and offered to supportcommunications with the student parents’ home school.
- LYFE Assistant Principal Mirva Jean-Pharuns took an extra step, offering to escort the student mother, whose school schedule differed from the student father to the alternative LYFE site each morning. The student parents, who were determined to attend school, enrolled at LYFE @ Franklin K. Lane, traveling from Queens to Brooklyn back to Queens to attend school.
- Within two weeks, space became available at LYFE @ HillCrest High School and LYFE Social Worker Melissa Mora connected with LYFE social worker Natasha Gray to facilitate a seamless transfer.
The family is now successfully attending LYFE @ Franklin K. Lane!
During summer 2017 in LYFE, LYFE Social Worker Robert Olivacce began working with a LYFE student parent who resided in temporary housing. The student parent had been disengaged from school due to the many transitions in her housing status. Prior to Mr. Olivacce’s departure for summer vacation, he ensured that LYFE Social Worker Elezza Arce had been updated and introduced to the student parent. Ms. Arce had the opportunity to build a trusting relationship with the student parent. Resilient and determined to continue her academics, the student parent successfully attended summer school. Ms. Arce ensured that LYFE Social Worker Natasha Gray, who supports LYFE @ Franklin K. Lane’s YABC program, was aware of the student parents’ needs. Ms. Gray continued to network and support the student parent’s enrollment into YABC. The student parent is now attending school on a regular basis and receiving support from LYFE!
LYFE is currently hosting Open Houses throughout the five boroughs at all LYFE sites. Each Thursday, LYFE sites open their doors to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. to explore the high-quality early childhood education and advocacy services provided. With all LYFE staff contributing to outreach and engagement, the staff has hit the ground running, working diligently to engage communities and creating crucial partnerships with agencies that can strengthen LYFE services!
Check out some staff highlights below-
LYFE social workers Zamyra Abdel-Hady, Iris Rodriguez, Shakelia Foga, Darie Martin, Melissa Mora, Sherell Parker-Marks and Elezza Arce were present at Family Welcome Centers in Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn during the peak enrollment season, September 3rd-15th, 2017. For many potential student parents who want to re-engage in school, the Family Welcome Center is their first stop.The partnership with LYFE and the Family Welcome Centers is pivotal in connecting potential student parents to LYFE services. Each day social workers assisted Family Welcome Center staff and supported families with inquiries about services. While the peak enrollment season for Family Welcome Centers is also peak enrollment times for LYFE Social Workers, they were able to balance between LYFE sites and Family Welcome Centers. Their commitment to building upon the connection between LYFE and the Family Welcome Centers to engage potential student parents, while still providing advocacy support at their LYFE site is commendable. The Social Workers exemplify how LYFE creates A Supportive Environment!
Congratulation to the LYFE team at Franklin K. Lane! Franklin K. Lane has had a utilization rate of 81% and an attendance rate of 86%! Franklin K. Lane’s outreach efforts to student parents, families and agencies to support enrollment and attendance at the site has been successful. The team at Franklin K. Lane has passionately demonstrated Relentlessness!
LYFE educational paraprofessional Desiree Viera has gone above and beyond to build partnerships between LYFE and the Urban Family Center and Why Not Care. A dedicated volunteer in her personal time, Desiree seized the opportunity to discuss the LYFE program and connect LYFE Administration with key contacts at each agency. Desiree’s outreach enhances the reach of LYFE services and provides a partnership between services that can support LYFE families fostering Strengths-Based Programming!
While most LYFE sites are busy enrolling new children for the 2017-2018 school year, LYFE at Bronx Regional High School 1st floor obtained 100% enrollment, thanks to the outstanding engagement efforts of LYFE social workers Jodi Kaltner, and LYFE family worker Carmen Batista. Led by teacher Yvellise Sanchez and educational paraprofessionals Christine Abraham, Shirley Rivera, and Mary Elhakem all LYFE children have been exposed to rich language and engaging activities that have extended their learning. The team at Bronx Regional High School 1st floor provide a great example of Planning for Success!
…and all of the hard work produced in LYFE is for the successful outcomes of LYFE families. Take a look at these happy faces during LYFE Family Day!
Don’t forget to check LYFE’s Twitter page and Facebook page to learn more about LYFE’s first days of school, LYFE Family Day and Dad’s Take Your Child to School!
Chancellor’s Conference Day
On Thursday, June 8th Chancellor’s Conference Day, over 200 LYFE staff members came together for Professional Development.The motivational day began with Dr. Timothy Lisante, District 79 Superintendent delivering words of inspiration to all staff. LYFE Principal Dr. Kara Ahmed presented the 1st LYFE Partnership Award to Dr. Kelly Celony, Director of Training and Special Initiatives from the Department of Health and Mental Health, Office of School Health Adolescent Unit. Dr. Celony has provided training sessions for Teacher’s, Social Workers and LYFE families. In addition, thanks to Dr. Celony’s advocacy for LYFE, incentives, & other rewarding opportunities have been afforded to LYFE families. Following the award presentation, LYFE staff and partners viewed the documentary on trauma-informed education, titled “Paper Tigers”. After the emotional and influential documentary, LYFE sites staff members came together for team building activities. So many LYFE staff members described the day as motivating, exhilarating, inspiring, hopeful, and determined. It was a galvanizing day to a very successful year in LYFE!
District 79 Superintendent Recognition Ceremony
The District 79 Superintendent Recognition Ceremony was held Friday evening at DC 37’s auditorium. Students from the various D79 programs were awarded for their accomplishments in academic achievement to job-readiness skills. 7 LYFE student parent graduates were honored for their academic and career successes.
The Spirit Award was presented to Marianela Familia from LYFE @ Aspirations.
The Workforce Achievement Award was presented to Fatoumata Keita from LYFE @ William Howard Taft.
The Workforce Achievement Award was presented to Natalie Rodriguez from LYFE @ Bronx Regional.
The Leadership Award was presented to Katty DeJesus Mateo from LYFE @ South Bronx.
The Advancement Award was presented to Allison Barrionuevo from LYFE @ LIC.
The ceremony also acknowledges District 79 staff with the Rookie of the Year awards. LYFE Social Worker Jennifer Schwam received the honor for the 2016-2017 school year. Jennifer is a dynamic social worker whose dedication and commitment to LYFE families is highly
LYFE Social Workers, Program Coordinator, Assistant Principals, and Principal were in attendance to support the ceremony and LYFE award winners. The evening was filled with proud student parents, their families, and staff!
Grandparent/Guardian Recognition Celebration
LYFE hosted the first LYFE Grandparent/Guardian Recognition Celebration on Thursday, June 22, 2017!
The evening dinner honored Grandparent/Guardians who have consistently attended the LYFE Grandparent/Guardian groups since it’s launch in December 2015. There were over 20 family members in attendance, along with LYFE Principal Dr. Kara Ahmed, Assistant Principal James Williams, Program Coordinator Nyesha Greene, LYFE Social Workers who have been facilitating these sessions for families, Diane Whitaker, Sherell Parker-Marks, Susan Farrell-Laplante, Xaxia Sanchez, and LYFE teacher Yvelisse Severino, who supported group translations at and engagement at the DeWitt Clinton group.
With tears and smiles, each grandparent and guardian were presented with a LYFE Grandparent/Guardian recognition award presented by social workers. The evening brought together a diverse population of families in which LYFE serves, provided an opportunity for LYFE to say thank you to the many families that partner with staff to support student parents and their children, and validated the LYFE mission of making an intergenerational impact! Check out more pictures on LYFE’s twitter page >
LYFE celebrated over 100 student parent graduates and 18 students who will transition to UPK in September 2017 during the 2017 LYFE Recognition Ceremony, held on Tuesday, May 23rd at Columbia University’s Roone Arledge Auditorium. During the ceremony, LYFE recognized LYFE Legacy Award winner’s Sanchez family, LYFE Inspiration Award winner Jamel Davis and LYFE Academic Achievement Award winner Xavier Roberson. LYFE also presented the LYFE Staff Excellence Award to LYFE Social Worker Jodi Kaltner and LYFE Teacher Jacqueline Leong-Range. With over 200 guests in attendance, the ceremony was filled with celebratory smiles and an evening filled with food, dancing and LYFE pride! Watch the LYFE Recognition Award winners video or see more photos on Facebook >
The New York City Children’s Cabinet hosted their 3rd Baby Shower at P.S. 56 in Brooklyn on Saturday, May 6th. LYFE Social Worker’s Sharlina Goveia, Sherell Parker-Marks, and LYFE Program Coordinator Nyesha Greene provided information about LYFE services to over 200 attendees. The First Lady of New York Chirlane McCray once again treated children to “Love Is” and greeted guests. See more photos on Facebook >
May 31st, District 79 hosted their Arts Showcase at the Queens Museum of Art, showcasing District 79’s talented artists. Each District 79 program presented fascinating artwork around the theme “Freedom & Struggle”. LYFE @ Harlem Renaissance H.S., Bronx Regional H.S., and HillCrest H.S. presented artwork created by their imaginative 3 and 4-year-olds. Read all about the amazing event on Twitter >
A Day on Broadway
LYFE celebrated LYFE sites with a 20%-30% increase in yearly cumulative attendance with a day on Broadway! LYFE @ Jeffrey Tenzer E.C., Julia Richman E.C., Franklin K. Lane E.C., City As School, Edward R. Reynolds West Side H.S., Long Island City H.S., James Monroe E.C., Pathways To Graduation Downtown Brooklyn, HS for Environmental Studies and Bushwick E.C. student parents danced and sang to Beautiful, The Carole King Musical. Student parents expressed their excitement and gratitude for the experience of attending a Broadway play. See more photos on Facebook >
The New York City Children’s Cabinet hosted their 2nd Baby Shower at the New York Hall of Science on Saturday, April 22nd. LYFE Social Worker Naomi Dechouden and LYFE Program Coordinator Nyesha Greene, along with several other support service agencies were in attendance to provide information to the Queens community. The First Lady of New York Chirlane McCray spent the day greeting guests and reading “Love Is” to children in attendance. It was a day filled with resources and fun for pregnant and parenting families! Check out this story on Facebook >
LYFE Featured on Chalkbeat
The LYFE Program was highlighted on Chalkbeat, an educational news organization that focuses on improvements in schools for those who are underserved. Chalkbeat’s article places a spotlight on the intergenerational impact that LYFE is committed to making. Read about LYFE student parent Janiellah and her family’s experience in the LYFE Program! >
Social Worker Appreciation Month
March is Social Worker Appreciation month. LYFE sites showered LYFE Social Workers with many surprises from students and student parents. Creative cards and gift baskets were given to social workers on behalf of the LYFE families they serve daily. Check out the smiles as LYFE celebrated Social Worker Appreciation month. Check out the highlights on Twitter >
Parent Conferences were a complete success at LYFE. Student Parents and their families met with LYFE teachers, social workers, and educational paraprofessionals to discuss their child’s academic and social-emotional development. Families were treated to artwork and pictures to highlight the productive and engaging environment in LYFE that fosters creativity! Over 300 LYFE family members attended March Parent Conferences!
LYFE Celebrated Spirit Week! Spirit Week fosters an engaging environment between LYFE staff and LYFE families. Each day has a fun-filled theme- Monday’s Culture Day, Tuesday’s Twin Day, Wednesday’s Wacky Tacky Day, Thursday’s Throwback Day and Friday’s LYFE Day. Check out the fun on Twitter >
The New York City Children’s Cabinet hosted their first Baby Shower for 2017 at Monsignr Scanlan High School in the Bronx. LYFE, along with 24 other city agencies, provided information and resources to support expectant and new parents from the Bronx community. LYFE Principal Dr. Kara Ahmed, LYFE Assistant Principal Mr. James Williams, LYFE Social Workers Jodi Kaltner and Susan Farrell-Laplante and LYFE @ DeWitt Clinton High School Teacher Yvelisse Severino were in attendance and had the opportunity to meet with New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray. See more photos on Facebook >
100th Day of School
February 17th marked the 100th day of school! The LYFE Program celebrated with creative and fun art activities with LYFE families. Check out the 100 days of school celebration on the LYFE Facebook page >
In the spirit of February, Grandparent/Guardian groups held at LYFE were all about self-care! Harlem Renaissance grandparents were treated to self-care gifts which included a journal, inspirational necklaces, gift card and of course chocolate!