April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. To encourage New Yorkers to come together to celebrate, strengthen, and support families, on April 16th, the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) hosted NYC Family Strong Party for Prevention in St. Mary’s Park, Bronx, NY. Agencies from all over NYC distributed information about their organizations’ services for youth and families. LYFE Social Workers, Naomi Greenberg, and Jodi Kaltner represented District 79 at the event and provided families with information about all that D79 has to offer youth, such as Referral Centers, LYFE, and Pathways to Graduation. In addition to resources, there was children-friendly entertainment, which included art activities, face painting, clowns, and games. The radio station, Hot 97 kept families dancing with great music. There was also a guest appearance by retired Knicks superstar, Larry Johnson, who signed autographs and took photos with families. What an awesome way to get the message out about Child Abuse Prevention and provide a fun-filled experience for the Mott Haven community of the Bronx!
On Saturday, April 2, 2016, LYFE participated in its third Children’s Cabinet NYC Baby Shower. The event took place at Celebrate Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Families received valuable information regarding New York City services. Amazing people came to support Staten Island families including, Debi Rose, New York City Councilwoman, and Tom Finkelpearl, Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner. In addition to enjoying story time with the First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray, the children loved participating in the art activities offered by the Children’s Museum.
Thanks to Broadway Education Alliance, on Wednesday, March 30, 2016, LYFE took student mothers from 6 sites, throughout the 5 boroughs of NYC, with the highest attendance year to date, and student-parent graduates to see the all-women production, Eclipsed on Broadway for free! This opportunity was made possible by the 10,000 Girls Campaign, a New York City-based community outreach and education program whose goal is to promote cultural literacy and personal empowerment by enabling thousands of girls from the Tri-State, ages 16-24, who would not otherwise have an opportunity to see a live production on Broadway.
Eclipsed is based on the story of five extraordinary women brought together by upheaval in their homeland of Liberia. This landmark production is directed by South African-born Liesl Tommy and stars the Academy Award®-winner Lupita Nyong’o and is the first show on Broadway to be written, directed, and performed entirely by female artists. How inspirational!
LYFE is so proud of our student parents’ commitment to outstanding attendance, and we were so grateful for the opportunity to reward the following sites with a trip to Broadway this school year!
- William Howard Taft Educational Campus
- Theodore Roosevelt Educational Campus
- Louis D. Brandeis High School
- Far Rockaway Educational Campus
- Port Richmond High School
- Harlem Renaissance High School
Stay tuned in May to see which sites will get a chance to win a trip to Broadway for having the highest improvement in attendance for School Year 15-16! Check out photos from LYFE’s Eclipsed experience below! #IhaveEclipsed #TENTHOUSANDGIRLS #LYFENYC
To encourage healthy habits, Carla Finney Pratt, LYFE social worker at High School of Environmental Studies, with the support of LYFE student parents, developed a Health and Wellness Fair for all students at the school in which her LYFE site is located! On March 18, 2016, Ms. Pratt and the LYFE student parents at the site, hosted their first annual “Health and Wellness Fair” at Independence High School. There were a variety of external community-based partners who facilitated workshops on topics, such as HIV, Asthma, Substance & Alcohol Abuse, Sex, Physical Education, Mental Health, CPR, Fire Safety, The Art of Dating: Healthy Relationships, and “I Matter.” In addition to testing and screenings provided by Ryan/Chelsea-Clinton Community Health Center, FDNY, and Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, there were several other organizations who tabled and presented at the fair. This collaboration truly exemplifies LYFE’s commitment to ensuring a supportive environment that addresses the needs of LYFE families.
LYFE participated in the second Children’s Cabinet NYC Baby Shower. The successful event was held at Harlem Children’s Zone and tailored specifically for dads. New and expecting dads, of all ages, from throughout the city, received information on city services and employment opportunities. Dads were inspired by the powerful remarks of keynote speaker, Rev. Alfonso Wyatt, and their babies were engrossed in the story time with The First Lady of NYC, Chirlane McCray. For a list of upcoming NYC Baby Showers, visit: https://a002-oom03.nyc.gov/IRM/EventRegistration/RegForm.aspx?eventGuid=4bf23a3c-aeb4-486c-9aad-0676bf56bbaa
Take a look at what happened at LYFE in February:
Black History Month
LYFE sites celebrated important people and events in the history of the African Diaspora.
1st 100 Days of School
LYFE sites celebrated the growth and development of LYFE infants and toddlers and highlighted student- parent success during the First 100 days of school.
On Saturday, February 6, 2016, The NYC Children’s Cabinet held its Kickoff Baby Shower, the first in a series of showers across the City, celebrating new and expectant parents! Hundreds of families took part in children-friendly activities, including a story-time experience facilitated by NYC’s very own First Lady, Chirlane McCray! Parents and caregivers learned about the importance of talking, singing, and reading to infants and toddlers and were also provided with NYC resources. The LYFE team enjoyed talking to families about LYFE services and was happy to see LYFE student parents and children attend the event wearing LYFE gear! Stay tuned for highlights from upcoming showers!
Did you know that January is National Mentoring Month? National Mentoring Month is a high-profile campaign that showcases the important impact adult involvement has in assisting young people with reaching their full potential. Research has shown that when matched through a quality mentoring program, mentors play a critical role in encouraging youth to make healthy decisions and refrain from risky behavior, such as skipping school and using drugs. As reported in The Mentoring Effect, young people who were at-risk for dropping out of high school but had a mentor were 55% more likely to be enrolled in college than those who did not have a mentor. Understanding the importance of mentoring in the lives of young people, LYFE began offering mentoring to student parents in SY 13-14 to complement the work we do at sites. Over the past two school years, LYFE has offered mentoring to 12 student parents. In honor of National Mentoring Month, we are highlighting 3 examples of successful LYFE mentoring relationships from SY 14-15.
Sam Rosado, D79 Director of Referral, Enrollment and Transition, was matched with Ahmed Cano from LYFE at Environmental Studies. By sharing his passion for criminal justice reform, Sam arranged for Ahmed to participate in his first book talk! As a result of this mentoring relationship, Ahmed is more aware of the world around him and is also strengthening his professional skills. Sam has also supported Ahmed with his role as a father and with developing his professionalism in the workplace. In addition, Sam has assisted Ahmed with post-secondary planning by helping him with applying to Co-Op Tech. Although a year has passed, the momentum between this pair is still strong!
Nicole Crane, Instructional Coordinator at the Division of Early Childhood Education, was matched with then 19-year- old, Elysha Veras from LYFE at Environmental Studies. Bonding based on shared life experiences and their roles as parents, Nicole was able to support Elysha with meeting everyday challenges and building confidence. Although Elysha’s son David is no longer enrolled in LYFE, Elysha continues to benefit from her mentoring relationship with Nicole!
Nick Marinacci, Senior Executive Director of D79 Youth Justice Education and Treatment Programs, was matched with Khalid Fambro from LYFE at South Bronx in March 2015. Initially, communication between the pair was difficult. However, when Khalid needed support, he knew he could depend on Nick to help him figure out his next steps and to connect him to the right resources. When completing his goal of graduating High School became challenging, Nick supported Khalid with obtaining his High School Equivalency and an OSHA certification. Nick continues to encourage Khalid to further his education. This pair is currently exploring Co-Op Tech as a post-secondary option for Khalid and is looking forward to continuing their relationship and connecting more!
What amazing examples of how an additional trusted adult can impact the lives of our student parents and enhance the work we do as a program! It is our hope that providing mentoring will lead to improved attendance, retention and graduation rates, as well as expose students to new opportunities.
For more information about LYFE’s mentoring program, visit: For more information about LYFE’s mentoring program, visit: http://lyfenyc.org/get-involved/.