During the week of March 24th– March 28th we celebrated Spirit Week throughout the LYFE program at all 36 of our sites! Spirit Week was celebrated as a way to foster student engagement and promote consistent attendance within the LYFE program and amongst LYFE families. Each day of Spirit Week included a fun-filled theme to to celebrate community within LYFE. Students and their children received movie tickets for their daily participation with attending and dressing up in the spirit of the themes.
Check out all of our spirit from Spirit Week March 24th- March 28th!
Monday, March 24th– Pajama Day: LYFE staff, student parents and their children sported their favorite pajamas and showed off their sleepy time swag!
Tuesday, March 25th-Twin Day: LYFE staff, student parents and their children dressed up as twins wearing the same outfit as one another.
Wednesday, March 26th-Wacky Tacky Day: LYFE staff, student parents and their children dressed silly wearing mismatched socks, bright colors, or high-legged pants.
Thursday, March 27th-Throwback Day: LYFE staff, student parents and their children showed off by styling in gear from their favorite era.
Friday, March 28th-LYFE Spirit Day: LYFE staff, student parents and their children represented LYFE by dressing up LYFE colors — Green, Black, & White.
LYFE was full of life during Spirit Week. Thanks to everyone who participated!
We are happy to share an important and fun update with you!
In February 2014, eight LYFE families were rewarded for having exceptional attendance. With the generous sponsorship from Walter Kaner Foundation and support of our District 79 Superintendent, Dr. Tim Lisante, these families received tickets to the Big Apple Circus for having the highest family attendance averages in their boroughs. The student parents’ school/program attendance and their children’s attendance in LYFE were reviewed to determine a family attendance average. The family attendance averages ranged from 81% to 93%. Selected families were from the following LYFE site locations:
- Franklin K. Lane High School
- Hillcrest High School
- Louis D. Brandeis High School
- Manhattan High School
- Morris Educational Campus
- South Bronx Educational Campus
- Springfield Gardens Educational Complex
- Thomas Jefferson Educational Campus
On February 20,2014, these families attended the Big Apple Circus at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. This experience helped to foster family engagement in LYFE while providing families with a meaningful experience together to celebrate their success. Gabriela Ramirez and her daughter Sabrina Ramirez were one of the families from Brooklyn who received tickets. Their attendance average for the first have of the school year was 92%! Check out what they shared with us about their experience below.
“I really enjoyed it [the circus]. It was awesome being in the circus with my daughter. It was our first time at the circus. It was a good experience for my daughter to go. Sabrina is 2 and a half years old and she talks about going to the circus all of the time. Her favorite part was when the animals came out and there was a lady dressed like a princess. She really enjoyed seeing the lady dancing. Thank you again.”
Gabriela Ramirez and her daughter, Sabrina Ramirez @ LYFE at Franklin K. Lane
In LYFE, we know that consistent school attendance is critical for academic success. We are proud of our LYFE students for their relentlessness and focus on education for themselves and their children.
We are excited to share a great student parent success story with you! As a program we believe that with relentlessness and a plan for success, every student parent can graduate from high school prepared to pursue college/career. LYFE student parent, Jasmin Reyes has embodied these LYFE core values and we hope you will be inspired by her educational journey.
Jasmin Reyes started with LYFE in May 2008 when her son Damian was 2 months old. Though nervous at first about leaving him, Jasmin reported that over time, the LYFE Center became like a second home to her and her son. She developed a deep bond with his caregivers, Nagwa and later, Colleen, and even appreciated her social worker Ms. Hirschmann’s repeated phones calls when she was absent or late to school. Jasmin also really enjoyed the parenting groups and the opportunity to get to know other student parents.
When Damian aged out of the LYFE program, LYFE helped Jasmin obtain childcare at a local Head Start program. When Jasmin learned that she was pregnant again, she knew how important it was to reenroll in the LYFE program. She met with Ms. Hirschmann during her pregnancy. Ms. Hirchmann was able to arrange for Jasmin to receive childcare for Joshua when he was born. In addition, LYFE teacher, Ms. Murphy and the LYFE staff made the necessary scheduling accommodations in the LYFE classroom to ensure that Jasmin could attend school later in the day to obtain all of her credits. Jasmin returned to LYFE because she knew that she needed the support of the program – the child care and the emotional support of the team to finish her high school education.
It has not been easy for Jasmin – parenting and being a full-time student. Right before the Winter break in December 2013, Jasmin came to Ms. Hirschmann and her guidance counselor, Ms. Fletcher in tears and shared that she was ready to drop out. She wasn’t sure that she would pass all of her classes before turning 21 and aging out of the NYC Department of Education. With the staff’s support, she decided to stick it out and has since passed her remaining Regent exams in January 2014!
Jasmin is grateful for the entire LYFE team and asserts that, “without them I never could have done it.”
After Jasmin completes her high school education, Jasmin plans to focus more on parenting and enjoying her children while also exploring her next steps for college and career. We are proud to be a part of Jasmin’s success and journey and look forward to seeing how far she will go.
“Jasmin enjoying lunch with her children Damian and Joshua in the LYFE classroom”
It is with much enthusiasm that we share with you a student highlight from LYFE at Beach Channel High School.
On October 18, 2013, LYFE student parent Krystal Cumberbatch was crowned Homecoming Queen of Beach Channel High School where her 1-year-old daughter, Krystal attends LYFE’s early childhood classroom. Krystal is 18-years-old. This is the family’s second year with LYFE. LYFE teacher, Peggy Diercks regards Krystal as a gentle, hardworking, kind, excellent student and mother. Krystal is very popular amongst her peers and feels she won the title of Homecoming Queen because she has lot of friends from diverse backgrounds. In addition, Krystal makes good decisions for herself and her child and provides excellent support to other student parents within the LYFE program.
When asked about future plans, Krystal is excited about graduating high school in January 2014 and going on to nursing school at York College in September 2014.
LYFE is proud of Krystal’s role as a parent and her role as Homecoming Queen of Beach Channel High School. She sets a positive example for other student parents to pursue their goals, become leaders, and set high standards for themselves.
On September 17, 2013, LYFE participated in Dads Take Your Child to School Day for the third year, in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative and its citywide partners. LYFE hosted events across all 5 boroughs, providing fathers with interactive activities. Over 30 fathers including grandfathers attended the celebration. Dads and their children made smoothies, created artwork, danced and read. Dads were excited to learn new ways to have fun with their children, while encouraging development of their children’s social, fine motor, cognitive and language skills. The day ended with many smiles and memorable moments captured in the Picture Gallery below.
LYFE experienced the impact of fatherhood outreach firsthand, as 12 new fathers visited LYFE for the first time, taking an active role in their children’s early childhood education. LYFE is proud to be partner in the citywide efforts to involve and celebrate dads!
On Friday, June 21, 2013 the LYFE Program hosted its first Student Parent Graduate Recognition Ceremony, aptly themed “Let LYFE Inspire You”, to celebrate over 200 student parents who graduated from New York City Department of Education high schools and GED programs. The event was a huge accomplishment and joyous occasion for our mission as a program. The event was a great success not only because we were able to celebrate the accomplishments of our student parents, but our guiding principles – our mission, vision, and core values were actualized and shared on a large scale and inspired all who were in attendance. On this night over 265 guests including student parents, their children, LYFE staff, and external partners gathered to celebrate and recognize our student parents and their amazing triumphs to transition into parenthood and graduate prepared to pursue college and career.
Our student parents and families had a chance to meet, interact, and take photos with our esteemed guests — District 79 Superintendent, Dr. Tim Lisante, LYFE Alumnus, Grace Padilla, and NYC Schools Chancellor, Dennis Walcott — sharing their personal accounts of how LYFE has impacted their child’s development, their academic progress, and their growth as parents. Staff had an opportunity to interact and engage with the student parents throughout our entire program making the evening that much more inspiring, exemplifying the profound impact we have made in the lives of nearly 900 young families in the New York City Department of Education this school year alone.
Here are a few highlights from our amazing and inspiring evening…
Anita Mohammed, LYFE teacher, presented Johanna Tamayo with the LYFE Academic Achievement Award. Displaced during Hurricane Sandy, Johanna endured the monumental task of commuting for up to three hours using the ferry and the train until she made it to school. In addition to parenting and attending school, Johanna also found time to intern with the Child Center of New York, a community based organization for youth. Johanna graduated early in March 2013 and she is also the recipient of the Chancellor’s Remarkable Achievement Award. She will be attending York College in the Fall of 2013, studying to become a Physician’s Assistant. Her dream is to become a Doctor. Johanna’s success has been highlighted on the DOE website. Read about Johanna’s success here: http://schools.nyc.gov/Offices/mediarelations/NewsandSpeeches/2012-2013/062413_celebrateremarkable.htm
Diane Whitaker, LYFE Social Worker, presented Joseph Chango with the LYFE Inspiration Award. At the time of Joseph Chango child’s enrollment, Joseph had been out of school for a year to work to take care of his young family. Joseph enrolled in CUNY Fatherhood Academy which is a GED program for young fathers. Joseph thrived in this program and successfully passed his GED on the first try in February 2013. Joseph is enrolled in District 79 COOP Tech and he will be attending the building maintenance program in Fall 2013. Joseph is also interested in helping and inspiring other young men to reach their goals and plans to study Social Work in 2014.
Deidra Johnson, LYFE Teacher presented Felecia Edwards with the LYFE Inspiration Award. At a young age Felecia lost her greatest support system – her parents. She also experienced the loss of her grandmother, her sole supporter, a few years ago. With such limited support from family, Felecia has had to make extremely difficult decisions to survive and become the young woman and mother that she is today. Over the course of her young adult life, various circumstances led Felecia into unstable environments, where she was at times without a stable home and unsure of how she would raise her daughter. Through her hard work, Felecia is now a graduate and she is in the process of securing permanent housing for her and her daughter. Currently, she is considering two job offers that have been presented to her and she is planning to attend Kingsborough Community College in the Fall of 2013 to study Liberal Arts.
Jonathan Lulov, LYFE Social Worker presented the Farland family with the LYFE Legacy Award. The LYFE Legacy award acknowledged a resilient grandmother, who advocated for her daughter within a large education system, and teamed up with LYFE, to ensure that her daughter and grandchild would receive a quality education and a clear career path. LYFE celebrated Shirley Farland, LYFE student parent Mikhaela Farland (future entrepreneur), and LYFE student, Gabriel Farland, for their incredible involvement, ongoing communication, and relentlessness.
Maria Ramos, LYFE student parent graduate, presented the LYFE Staff Support Award to LYFE Team at Long Island City High School. Maria expressed how happy she was about the care her daughter received at LYFE. She stated, “I know that she [ her daughter] learned and developed not only socially but emotionally. “ She also shared how the LYFE staff at Long Island City High school encouraged her to come to school daily and be on time. She expressed appreciation that her child’s fathers was included and supported by LYFE. In her words, “Just like moms, LYFE dads are invited to participate in LYFE events and to participate in the education of their children. They give every mom and dad great support.”
Congratulations to the LYFE student parent graduates, to the LYFE Team from Long Island City High School, and to all the LYFE staff members who helped these students reach their goals and realize their potential, academically and socially.
Photo Credits: Max Stephenson, Mimi Woods and Lucille Bass
During the month of January we held our first meeting with a group of DOE employees who will serve as our first cohort of LYFE mentors! We are in the early stages of pairing mentors with student parents from LYFE sites and wanted to share with you the progress being made with the LYFE mentoring program.
Currently we have 7 DOE employees who have volunteered to become LYFE mentors and they are very excited to begin working with our student parents this Spring. The vision of the LYFE mentoring program is for LYFE student parents to have an additional personal, genuine, and caring relationship with an adult from whom they receive one-on-one support, guidance, and encouragement in order to successfully meet their personal goals. Student parents will have another person in their primary support network to connect with when they are faced with challenges of young parenthood and/or as a student. Students participating in the mentorship will receive support from their mentor in making decisions that will benefit themselves and their families. The intended impact is that the mentoring relationship will increase the mentees’ likeliness to complete high school and go on to post-secondary success at the college level and/or in careers of choice while meeting the needs of their families.
In meeting with our mentor cohort this month they indicated qualities and actions that were exhibited by their own mentors when they were in school. As a cohort, the LYFE mentors agreed to uphold these same qualities and actions in their interaction with our student parents:
- Imparting wisdom for life’s experiences
- Be genuine and caring
- Help students see their full potential
- Show students that the sky is the limit
- Be relentless with the support offered to students
- Believe in students even when they do not believe in themselves
- Expose students to the world of possibilities available to them
The work involved in the LYFE mentoring program is well underway and this Spring some of our student parents will benefit from having a supportive, nurturing mentor in their life. We will continue to keep you updated on the progress and success of this initiative.
On September 20, 2012 LYFE celebrated Dads Take Your Child to School Day in collaboration with the Mayor’s Fatherhood Initiative and its citywide partners, for the second year. As a program we hosted the event at our 37 LYFE sites, providing interactive activities and experiences for LYFE fathers.
While everyday is Dads Take Your Child to School Day at LYFE, this day was particularly special as our dads participated along with other fathers throughout NYC schools in being acknowledged and celebrated for their dedication and investment in the growth and development of their children.
LYFE is proud to be a part of the citywide efforts to engage and empower fathers! Take a look at some of our photos from the event below.
LYFE is so excited to introduce you to our program’s awesome new website! LYFE’s mission is to foster a generational impact which positively influences the life outcomes of student parents and their children by providing high-quality childcare, academic guidance, and social advocacy. We know that this website will help bring us one step closer to this mission and with it we hope to gain your support in doing so.
Through our website prospective LYFE student parents will be able to find information about our program, how to enroll, and what to expect. School officials and family members will be able to refer students and get to know us a little better. We also hope to use this site to strengthen our partnerships with the NYC community and enhance the efforts made to support NYC Department of Education student parents and their children.
To get you started in exploring the LYFE website, here are some features and highlights of the site that you should know about:
∙ The LYFE Map — Find a LYFE site near you or help a student find a LYFE site by searching locations on our interactive map.
∙ Learn About Us – On this page you can find all about who we are, what we do and how we support young families in addition to learning more about our sites and administrative team.
∙ Get Enrollment Forms – On our page and FAQs page, you can find PDF links to forms and documents to enroll in LYFE or to refer a student.
∙ Get Involved – If you are a NYC Department of Education employee interested in becoming a mentor to a LYFE student parent, apply using the link on our Get Involved page.
∙ Contact Us – Submit a question or general inquiry to LYFE and we will get back to you. These inquiries are routed directly to the LYFE Central Office and we’d love to hear from you.
Lastly, keep visiting our blog. Here you will find periodic updates about the LYFE program, events, photos, and a peek inside the day-to-day happenings of LYFE.
Thank you for visiting and be sure to tell others about our program and our new website, LYFENYC.ORG.