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Arete Student Interns and Employees Learn Read World Skills

This year students across Arete's two high school campuses are engaging in real world skills through their internships with Arete.

Student employees at Media High School are engaged in a professionalism seminar where they practice and grow their emotional intelligence, expand their lesson planning skills, and reflect on their own professional strengths, goals, and growth areas. Our self-care club for students at Media High School is growing a culture of wellness among future professionals.

At The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, high school interns are working with Citizens Bank branch managers to open bank accounts and deepen their personal financial literacy skills. In our pilot ISP Internship, our Communications Interns are mentoring 8th graders to build social media campaigns to raise awareness about common diseases that disproportionally impact patients in the Bronx, conducting interviews with BioQuest STEM mentors, and publishing to Arete's social media channels.

 - 04/30/2024 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

Partner Feature: RTW Charitable Foundation

During the height of the pandemic, RTW Charitable Foundation reached out to Arete Education through President of Community Engagement Marti Speranza Wong. It was a call out of the blue offering help to students and families in the South Bronx. “What do you really need?” Marti asked. “We want to get money to grassroots organizations immediately to help families who are suffering.” After that initial call with RTW, the funding came weeks later to launch the Arete Hope Network. The program provided wraparound support for 30 families living in temporary housing during the pandemic who were facing significant barriers to accessing school. As a result all students participating in the program passed all their core classes and successfully completed the school year in good standing.

Fast forward three and a half years, and RTW Charitable Foundation is still investing in grassroots education organizations in the South Bronx through an innovative RTW BioQuest program and other innovative programs to put teens into project-based learning contexts that inspire their work as future scientists, investors, and entrepreneurs. Our students in grades 7-10 have been working alongside mentors at RTW as part of the BioQuest and Week Without Walls Programs facilitated through Arete.

RTW’s BioQuest STEM mentoring program is in its first year. Through the pilot over 50 students across Arete the Hunts Point Alliance for Children have engaged with 20 RTW mentors to learn about diverse careers in biotech. They engage in team challenges, explore career pathways into science, and visit professional settings across the city. Students have toured RTW Investments, learning how a company sets out to invest in biomedical breakthrough technologies, as well as JLABS and Weill Cornell BioVenture eLabs learning about applied careers in STEM. Through RTW’s BioQuest, students have also done scientific investigations on the BioBus and spent the day in New Jersey at the Liberty Science Center. BioQuest mentors led hands-on lab activities including extracting DNA from strawberries, team pipette racing, and a video demonstration of robotics technology used in the lab. Students got to explore the space, engage with their mentors, and meet the Head of JLABS US Northeast. This markable group of professionals across the city has invested so much in our students this year. We are so appreciative to be able to facilitate this amazing partnership into a second school year.

 - 04/27/2024 - sbsd@areteeducation.org
black voices unfiltered

Empowering Youth through the Voices Unfiltered Podcast Network

The Media Performing Arts Division at The High School for Media and Communication (HSMC), alongside Spanglish Voces, is proud to inaugurate their latest project - the Voices Unfiltered Podcast Network! This innovative platform aims to empower youth by providing them with an outlet to express themselves freely while honing their critical thinking, writing, and research skills.

The mission of the Voices Unfiltered Podcast Network is to give power to youth voices by fostering confidence and providing opportunities for self-expression. Supported by Artistic Director and Teaching Artist Zulaika Valezquez, students will share their diverse and personal stories, ideas, and perspectives. By encouraging them to pursue their passions and create high-quality content, the initiative aims to instill a sense of agency and advocacy in these young adults. 

One of the primary goals of the Voices Unfiltered Podcast Network is to amplify marginalized voices and narratives. In collaboration with HSMC students, the new podcast, “Black Voices Unfiltered," seeks to shine a light on the experiences Black youth. This initiative aims to provide a space for understanding, empathy, and solidarity within the broader community.

Through the creation of their own podcasts, students involved in this project will gain valuable hands-on experience and improve their abilities in media and communications. Furthermore, the Voices Unfiltered Podcast Network serves as a catalyst for meaningful conversations and community engagement, ultimately, being a powerful platform for youth empowerment and social change!

Check out the podcast here: Black Voices Unfiltered Podcast

 - 03/27/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
black history month programming

Celebrating Black History Month at PS 59: Honoring Inventors, Icons, and Activists

At PS 59, thanks to Alejandra Figueroa’s design and planning of these experiences, teachers engaged students in a diverse array of programming aimed at educating, inspiring, and celebrating Black identity and history!

The Phoenix Explorers students are delving into the realm of STEM through the lens of African American inventors. From groundbreaking discoveries to revolutionary inventions, students are learning about the various contributions made by African Americans. 

Each grade level at PS 59 has been assigned a specific theme, ensuring a comprehensive exploration of black excellence across various domains.

In the 3K and PreK classes, young learners are immersing themselves in the world of politics as they study prominent Black politicians. Through this, students gained insight into the power of advocacy and leadership!

For 3rd graders, the focus shifts to the realm of dance, with students exploring the lives and legacies of iconic Black dancers. Students celebrated the artistry and cultural significance of dance as a form of expression and resistance!

4th graders focused on the world of athletics, exploring the achievements of African American sports figures who have shattered barriers and redefined the meaning of excellence on the field, court, and track!

In the 5th grade classrooms, students learned about civil rights pioneers and contemporary advocates. They were inspired from activists who have dedicated their lives to fighting for justice, equality, and human rights. These young students are learning valuable lessons about the power of activism and the importance of speaking out against injustice!

One of the highlights of the programming for Black History Month is the Wax Museum, an interactive and educational experience where students bring historical figures to life. 

The Black History Month programming at P.S. 59 is committed to fostering an inclusive and empowering learning environment where every student feels seen, heard, and valued. By highlighting the achievements and contributions of African Americans, the school is not only honoring the past but also motivating the future generations to fight for a better and more equitable future!

 - 03/22/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
rtw week without walls workplace challenge

Empowering Students: F&T 10th Graders Tackle Rare Diseases in Workplace Challenge with RTW Charitable Foundation

With curiosity and dedication, a group of high school students from The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology participated in an innovative initiative aimed at raising awareness about rare diseases. In collaboration with RTW Charitable Foundation and Arete Education, 10th grade students were provided with the opportunity to delve into the complexities of rare diseases and explore their creativity with science communication! Co-lead by Sarah Benis Scheier-Dolberg from Arete, Sean Robinson from The Lab School, and Sarah Garwood and Joe Katakowski from RTW Charitable Foundation, this unique collaboration was supported by The Lab School’s recent Magnet Award for Career Connected Learning.

The first workplace challenge was intended to immerse students in a thought-provoking environment where they would be able to learn about different diseases that are often overlooked. The research they conducted involved learning about signs, symptoms, and struggles that people face when diagnosed with these rare diseases. Using the knowledge they gained through the investigation process, students were tasked with creating communication materials to disseminate their findings within their community and beyond! 

As part of Rare Disease Month, RTW has featured spotlight posts on different rare diseases on Instagram. The rare diseases highlighted were Sickle Cell Disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Angelman Syndrome, and Marfan Syndrome. The posts uploaded were curated by the students, showcasing the information they learned through the workplace challenge. Each post displays the students' attentiveness to learning about diseases that affect society and commitment to health advocacy. 

In essence, this workplace challenge is indicative of the meaningful knowledge students can acquire and spread. This serves as a powerful reminder that young people can have an amazing impact when it comes to various social issues when given the opportunity to engage with new topics in creative and intriguing ways. Furthermore, the graphics from the workplace challenge are also a form of motivation to inspire the general public in joining the cause of advocating for a more healthy, equitable, and inclusive world. The work that RTW does within the sciences are opportunities that allow us to continue supporting and empowering our students. With the help of RTW, we can establish new career paths, invest in science education for our students, and drive future generations of changemakers!

 - 03/20/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
career day highlight

Igniting Futures: A Successful Career Day @ The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology!

On Friday, February 2, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology hosted 68 dedicated professionals who offered a diverse array of career paths and life stories. This Career Day event proved to be a catalyst for personal reflection, igniting a sense of curiosity and ambition among the students that we believe will profoundly shape their futures.

 

Professionals from various industries volunteered their time to share insights and make invaluable contributions. Each presenter brought a unique perspective to the table, enriching the students' understanding of the professional landscape. Whether discussing the intricacies of software development or the nuances of environmental conservation, every interaction served as a stepping stone towards greater knowledge of potential career paths and aspirations.

 

Beyond simply delivering presentations, our guest speakers actively engaged with students, facilitating meaningful dialogue and forging genuine connections. This interactive approach not only enhanced the learning experience but also promoted the values of Career Connected Learning. Through these partnerships, we hope to continue collaborating, and creating internships and mentorship opportunities that will further enrich our students' educational journey. This network will serve as a valuable resource for students as they navigate the complexities of the workplace, providing them with the support and guidance needed to realize their goals.

 

We also want to thank our volunteer speakers for lending their time and expertise to inspire and educate middle and high school students. Upon reflection of the successful career day, two such volunteers, Jack Darcey and Regina Alston, shared insights into their respective careers and their experiences at the event.

 

Jack Darcey, a Transportation Planner with the NYC Department of City Planning, provided a glimpse into his dynamic role, which involves a blend of transportation policy development, analytics, and neighborhood analysis. His day-to-day responsibilities range from conducting research and spatial analyses to observing infrastructure firsthand, all with the goal of supporting policy proposals and addressing pressing transportation issues.

 

One highlight of the event for Jack was the opportunity to engage with students and witness their genuine curiosity and insights. He found it particularly rewarding to hear students' questions and comments, especially when they related to pressing issues like affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. Jack emphasized the importance of exposing youth to topics like urban planning, which may not be commonly discussed in academic settings but are crucial for understanding our built environment.

 

Jack's decision to volunteer stemmed from his passion for youth engagement and his desire to expose students to the field of planning, which he finds fascinating yet often overlooked. Through partnerships with organizations like ours, Jack aims to broaden students' horizons and inspire them to consider career paths in the built environment.

 

Regina Alston, a Mental Health Clinician with Samaritan Daytop Village, shared her experiences as a case manager working with patients transitioning out of mental health facilities. Her day-to-day responsibilities involve providing support, making home visits, and ensuring a seamless transition for her clients.

 

For Regina, the highlight of Career Day was the inquisitiveness and openness displayed by the students. She was impressed by their eagerness to learn and connect, particularly when discussing topics like mental health and the environment of the South Bronx. Regina volunteered for the event out of a sense of duty to her community and a desire to empower the next generation. She believes that investing in youth is essential for creating positive change and shaping future leaders.

 

The insights shared by Jack Darcey and Regina Alston offer a glimpse into the transformative impact of Career Day on both volunteers and students alike. Through their dedication and passion, they exemplify the spirit of community engagement and mentorship that lies at the heart of events like these!

 - 02/28/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
job fair insta post

First Job Fair @ P.S. 59 The Dawn Best School: A Success!

Last week, P.S. 59 The Dawn Best School hosted a Job Fair, marking a significant moment in their commitment of empowering the Bed-Stuy community. In efforts of fostering career opportunities for Brooklyn families, P.S. 59 opened their doors to a variety of Career Vendors, offering on-the-spot interviews and potential employment prospects.

 

P.S. 59 welcomed excited families with the anticipation of meeting with representatives of different sectors and career backgrounds. Attendees of this job fair were eager to explore new job possibilities and learn about diverse professional aspirations. Among the highlights of the event were the success stories of two parents of Areté students who secured employment with State Security during the Job Fair!  

 

This first job fair was an amazing opportunity to bring the community together and foster an environment for networking. This event was the first of the series of monthly Job Fairs, each offering fresh opportunities for Brooklyn families to engage with potential employers. P.S. 59 plans on continuing their dedication to creating meaningful connections between families and employers in order to promote economic stability and social mobility. 

 

Thank you to all who attended and contributed to the success of the first Job Fair! 

 - 02/19/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz

Join us for the Citizens Bank Financial Literacy Session!

Event Date: Saturday, February 10, 2024
Time: 12:00 - 3:00 pm
Location: Citizens, 186 E 86th St., New York, NY, 10028

 

Arete Education is partnering with Citizens Bank to provide students with financial literacy and real world experience through opening up and managing checking and investment accounts!

Arete has previously held a session with interns at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, and it was a success! This follow up event will be held on the Upper East Side (4/5/6 86th Stop) this Saturday exclusively for F&T families and staff who would like to learn more about how to open bank accounts.

Please consider joining us and learning more about finances! RSVP here.

 

Branch Event 2_10 Invite V4
 - 02/08/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
feed our needs logo 2023

“Feed Our Needs”: The Inspiring Journey of Philanthropy with Areté Education

"Feed Our Needs" is an impactful initiative hosted by Areté Education that is dedicated to addressing the fundamental needs of individuals across underserved and vulnerable communities. With a passionate commitment to fostering positive change, Areté Education brings together a diverse range of programs under the "Feed Our Needs" campaign aimed at empowering low-income and predominantly Black and Brown populations. From food drives and etiquette luncheons to the provision of winter clothes and financial resources, "Feed Our Needs" strives to create a holistic approach to community well-being. Areté Education's innovative and inclusive programs empower Black- and Brown-owned businesses and provide essential resources to those in need. 

 

The journey of Feed our Needs began in 2020, initially rooted in the collaboration with IHS Markit, Barclays, and The Collective (consortium of Wall Street based Black Employee Resource Groups across the financial sector). When the annual gala, traditionally hosted by The Collective, was put on hold, they decided to channel their efforts into a meaningful cause. Areté Board President, McEvans Francois, and his peers were inspired by a CNN article that shed light on the struggles faced by Harlem restaurants, particularly those owned by people of color. That inspiration sparked conversations on pathways to support Black-owned businesses. Thanks to the vision of Areté Board members, Kholofelo Mothibi and Erica Sealey, the initiative evolved to focus on supporting both Black-and Latinx-owned establishments, as each population resides in the communities Areté serves. 

 

Barclays and IHS Markit saw the need and generously supported the Feed Our Needs mission. Areté created a website in order to raise awareness and broaden the fundraising efforts. The firms were able to raise $15k to support the Feed Our Needs programs in the first year. These funds were used for large food orders at Black- and Latinx-owned restaurants, and the purchased food was given to Areté families at community events serving those in need and most impacted by the pandemic. A notable contribution of $5,000 was directed towards La Morada, a Mexican restaurant located in the South Bronx well-known for supporting migrants in our communities. Families in the area reaped the benefits, marking the beginning of a broader mission.

 

Furthering Areté Education’s mission and vision, the Feed Our Needs Campaign began to scout out restaurants in underserved communities of South Bronx, Harlem, and Brooklyn. In 2021, for Juneteenth, Feed Our Needs sponsored food truck meals, increasing access to food directly to the communities in need. Then, in 2021, Areté incorporated financial literacy efforts in collaboration with Carver Bank, providing pamphlets and valuable resources to the community. Further expanding the mission, in January 2023, an event in Brooklyn served as an example of the program's adaptability. Recognizing the changing demographics due to an increased volume of migrants from South America and the Caribbean, Areté Education tailored the efforts of Feed Our Needs to meet the specific needs of these communities. Warm meals, sourced from local Black- and Brown- owned businesses,  and duffel bags containing winter accessories, like mittens, were distributed to families. 

 

Over the past year, Areté has hosted various events assisting families across Bed-Stuy, Mott Haven, and Washington Heights as part of the Feed Our Needs Initiative. 

  • Running from January to June, students from P.S. 59 are invited to go out to eat at a local restaurant and participate in an etiquette class. These etiquette luncheons help foster an environment where students are stimulated by the process of learning new skills while also getting the chance to explore a new restaurant, owned by Black or Latinx individuals in the local community. 

 

  • On November 18, a Thanksgiving Feed our Needs event was hosted at The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology from 10-12 pm where 90 families received hot meals and one bag full of quintessential ingredients and groceries to prepare a homemadeThanksgiving dinner. 

 

  • On November 21, a Family Thanksgiving Dinner was hosted at P.S. 59 The Dawn Best School. The event ran from 4-5:30 pm and more than 60 people attended. Students and families gathered together to enjoy food and music and  spend quality time with each other. Five $50 Food Bazaar gift cards were raffled at this event. 

 

  • On December 16, a Family Resource Fair was hosted at the High School for Media and Communications where approximately $1400 was spent to support 90 families in Washington Heights.

 

Now more than ever, the Feed Our Needs program is needed to address the ongoing migrant crisis, food insecurity, and poverty rates in our communities. As we head into 2024, the focus of Feed Our Needs remains dedicated to meeting the evolving needs of Areté’s underserved communities. This January, there is an upcoming MLK Day event to be hosted in Brooklyn the week of January 15th. Join the movement and be part of this transformative journey where we’ll support our families in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood! Contact Sam Alexander (sam@areteeducation.org) to sign up as a volunteer. 

 

Through strategic partnerships, outreach, and community engagement, Areté Education is actively working towards building a stronger, more resilient community through the Feed Our Needs initiative!

 - 01/11/2024 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
bioquest program launch

BioQuest Program Launch

Arete Education has officially partnered with RTW Charitable Foundation to launch the BioQuest program

 

RTW Investments invests in biomedical research and products in order to add value to people’s lives. RTW Charitable Foundation extends the RTW Investments mission to include building a sense of community through establishing different health-based initiatives in underserved communities. All of this is done to advance science and research while also addressing urgent public health needs. 

 

RTW Charitable Foundation first began to work with Arete during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, RTW provided Arete with a grant because they wanted to fund grassroots work focused on removing  barriers that prevent children in temporary housing from receiving educational support during the pandemic. Arete was identified as a grassroots organization working in the South Bronx during this difficult time. In the end, $75,000 was allocated towards developing a high-touch and wrap-around support program, The Arete Hope Network, for 30 families in the South Bronx and Harlem, mostly F&T families. 

 

After the peak of the pandemic, RTW Charitable Foundation shifted back towards its main work in funding biomedical research and projects alike. This year, they launched the BioQuest program - an initiative in STEM education for middle and high school students - in collaboration with Arete Education, Hunts Point Alliance for Children, Weill Cornell, and BioBus. RTW Charitable Foundation reached out to Arete over the summer to invite students from the Bronx to enroll in a year-long program receiving STEM educational and mentoring experiences. This was an amazing opportunity for Arete and the students we serve as 1) we have never partnered with Weill Cornell or BioBus and 2) F&T students would be gaining an expansive exposure to the STEM field: engaging in enrichment activities to encourage and inspire an interest in science, biotech, and medicine while also building relationships with mentors and other students with expertise and interest in these fields.

 

The first event to this program was held on September 9th, 2023 where students participating in the BioQuest program were invited, along with their families, to attend a Kick-off Breakfast. This first meeting was a nice way to launch the year-long program as students and families got the opportunity to get to know about the program and get to know each other. The ice breaker and scavenger hunt activities allowed the students and families to go around and network with one another, and it was a nice way to make parents and families feel included as they got to know who their children will be surrounded by in the program. Volunteers also set up backpacks for the participants containing STEM and back-to-school materials. They were distributed towards the end of the breakfast and sent off for the Back-to-School Fair and BioBus event, in collaboration with Hunts Point Alliance for Children.

 

What’s next for these students? The BioQuest program has scheduled 6 events in total: 3 in the fall and 3 in the spring. The next event was a Career Day held on October 5 at RTW Investments in Chelsea. Future events include visiting JLABS with Johnson & Johnson, a BioBus event (mobile lab with interactive + scientific activities), exploring lab spaces at Weill Cornell, and a Science Museum Field Trip. 

Arete is proud to be deepening its relationship with RTW Charitable Foundation and its respective partnerships in order to broaden in terms of science in research and biomedicine. This amazing collaboration will give new pathways to young students for STEM-specific career opportunities and push the boundaries on what is possible for students beyond high school. This program also supports Arete’s mission with its partner school, The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology, of shifting to more career-connected learning as a way to address the experience gap our students face. This is a major step towards inaugurating an afterschool curriculum that prepares students to enter the workforce and provides opportunities for career exposure in a new area: medicine, biomedical research, and biotech investments. 

 - 11/03/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz

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