As the spirit of giving continues, Arete continues to reach our mission of investing in Mott Haven youth. As part of Arete’s Feed Our Need 2.0 Initiative, members of the community came together to provide over 150 Lab School families with bagged groceries and hot meals. Members of our Arete Alumni Council volunteered to serve the community alongside 25 voluteers from Arete, The Lab School, and the Corporate sponsors of the initiative - IHS Markit, Barclays, and Carvers.
To provide some history on the initiative, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic The Collective Black Employee Resource Group (CFBERG), led by Engage@IHSMarkit and Barclays Embrace partnered with Areté Education (Areté) and black- and brown-owned restaurants to raise funds for meal distribution in Harlem and the Bronx in 2020. The initiative’s objective was to support black- and brown-owned restaurants in the surrounding areas to source the meals that were distributed to disenfranchised communities. Learn more by viewing our impact report.
Alumni Council President, Brittni Ortiz, reflected on the event:
"Feed Our Needs was an amazing experience, and I would definitely do something like it again. This was a type of event that I wanted to do for a long time. We connected with families, escorted them throughout the whole process and had insightful conversations about what the school is doing and what our roles are. It was also so great to see so many parents that I have worked with before through the College Office. It was a great feeling when some of them recognized me, too! Overall, I can't wait to volunteer at future events and for the Alumni Council to have our own.”
Alumni Council Secretary, Chanel De Los Santos also added on that:
"The feed our needs event was a great way to connect with local families. The families were so lovely and wonderful.”
Reflecting as as an Arete staff member and Lab School alumni, it is amazing to be able to provide these direct services to the community. As on organization, it is our goal to make sure that we provide Mott Haven youth and families with these resources. We believe that the sense of hope that comes through creating resilient communities is something that has the power to change our communities forever. We know that our work does not end with an event but continues throughout our lives. We cannot wait to continue the work that we are doing as a team with our staff, alumni and other proud members of the community.
We are excited to highlight our Work, Learn, and Grow initiative. Students have already begun their Work, Learn & Grow (WLG) experiences this Fall. This program is being offered in collaboration with United Activities Unlimited (UAU).
WLG is broken down into two parts:
Students are eager to work and learn through these unique time. As a team, we are eager to have the students involved in different ways and continue to innovate ways to give our community opportunities to grow and succeed.
As we approach the season of giving, we request your help and support in bringing awareness to our upcoming event. On November 20th at The Lab School, we will be having our first of three Feed Our Need 2.0 event. Our goal is to feed over 500 families in our community, but we can’t do that without the help of you all.
To find out more about the event, be sure to check out online. During this event, families will come in and pick up groceries and freshly prepared foods. There will be student work posted around the hallways to show families what is happening during after-school hours.
With such a large event, there are many ways to support. Other than giving financially, you can also give your time. If you'd like to be volunteer, please fill out this form and we'll follow up with you.
This month of giving is especially important because it allows us to reflect on the work that we are doing. Reflection is essential to our growth and is an important part of the cycle of success. Through our community events, we interact with different families and provide them with the resources that they need. We create bonds and connections with people beyond the typical "hi and bye" conversations. This is how we create a community that is sustainable and strong.
Beyond this event, Arete is fixed on bringing as many resources back into the community as much as possible. Whether it's regarding finding technology, food, groceries, jobs, internships, or volunteering opportunities, Arete is the place to go. As school is back in person, Arete members have been working nonstop to find amazing resources for students both in middle school and high school. We aim to provide students with volunteer experiences, work experiences, and professional development for when they leave the school building. Investing in these students' success and futures is the only way to keep them motivated and going.
Our vision is to continue growing in numerous ways, and with the help of the community we will be able to do so.
We are in full swing this fall semester! As fall brings an energy to reflect and refresh, we take an opportunity to consider new ways to grow and expand to best suit our community’s needs. One of those expansions is the launch of the Arete Alumni Council. The Alumni Council consists of different graduating classes coming together to create a stronger community. The main purpose of the Alumni Council is to provide Alumni the chance to be listened to, as well as provide Alumni with the opportunity to branch out and network in numerous ways. The Council consists of a President, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Leader & Media Leader.
The Alumni Council will be instrumental in creating initiatives to reinvest in the community from the people that know the community best.
To find out more about the Council and upcoming events feel free to follow both the Arete instagram page (@areteeducationinc) and the Alumni council instagram page (@lsftalumnicouncil) as well. We as a council cannot wait to get started on hosting events and workshops for the community soon.
Last month, we kicked off our SEL in the Curriculum, a monthly workshop series! This work is targeted to support Enrichment Specialists, Teachers, and Support Staff implementing Arete’s SEL Practices during their time with students.
Our goals for this first session were :
1.) Introduce the documents in the SEL in the Curriculum Workshop drive space and how to access them.
2.) Highlight the Arete SEL & EQ Activities for immediate implementation
3.) Engage and practice 2-3 of the Arete SEL & EQ Activities
As the participants gained access to the drive space, it wasn’t long before they all began to select ideal Icebreakers and exercises their students would be just as excited to experience. As a group, we engaged in an SEL Check-in Question, Deep Breathing, and Plutchik Wheel Color Check-outs.
Of the session, Nicoise Waring said: "As a facilitator, I absolutely enjoyed the in-person engagement and smiles from personal EQ moments. The feedback received supports the adaptive nature of the SEL in the Curriculum workshops to instructors’ and students’ needs. I’m thrilled and I look forward to our workshop next month!"
These are just a few of the many exercises our staff will share with our students. As we sow these seeds, we hope to fuel the growth that will lead to our students sharing the fruit of these practices with the community!
We are excited to continue highlighting our enrichment clubs that were running ths summer. Story Movers was led by Rose Padilla and Yarley Martinez, alumni from The Lab School. In Story Movers, Rose and Yarely work hard with their students to allow them to showcase the skills that they have. Story movers is not only about students performing arts but expressing themselves. During the last week of program, they had decided to split up their class into different groups based on what the students wanted to do. One group which included around 5 students decided to practice a dance. The group of students made up their own dance, which I found amazing. Seeing students take the initiative and do something that normally is led by a facilitator was incredible. Not only did the students create the dance, there were other students who were practicing their singing while others were working on what they wanted to showcase. Seeing each of these students showcase their talent allows us to continue working with student talent all year round.
We are excited to showcase more of the arts side to the program as it will allow us to continue showcasing the amazing talent that these students have.
Each of these clubs holds a special place in our students' hearts, and so it's up to us to make sure that these students receive what they need.
The Table Tennis Club is led by Ms. Millye (also the Middle School Team Softball Coach), Mr. Ohl (also a teacher at The Lab School), and Ms. Amy (a new member of our Arete family this summer). Table Tennis is a competitive game; however, it is a sport that many students wouldn't look upon first. Interestingly, Table Tennis is one of the most popular clubs and was the first Enrichment club to be fully enrolled this summer. Students enjoy Table Tennis as they feel they are challenged beyond their limits. With Table Tennis, students are able to acquire patience as well as strategic skills. To know how you want to strike your opponent, you need a strategy. Within this club, we see different students strategizing in different ways. We see some students who like to hit their ball with a spin, and then we have some students who like to back-hand from the start. It's amazing to see youth taking charge in a sport like this one.
We also would like to highlight the Fitness Club this summer. Fitness is led by Emily Robles, Ranffy Perez, and Ali Sumareh, who are all Alumni from The Lab School. Fitness allows students to freely express themselves while also challenging them to go above and beyond phyiscally. With fitness, middle school students are able to learn about the importance of working out but also being active. Being active is essential to the youth as they need the consistent reminder regarding their health and wellbeing. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, students are in the gym playing a variety of different sports. As shown to the left, students are in a circle playing volleyball with their instructors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, students are in the cafeteria, hallway, or fitness center doing different activities, ranging from running, working out, or doing different sets.
Students from both of these enrichment clubs enjoy them and are always active when it comes to participating.
Stay tuned for next week's post as we will continue to highlight the different clubs that we have for Summer Bridge!
At Arete, we pride ourselves on opening up pathways for youth to be successful in their chosen career pathways, specially youth who are alumni of our afterschool, summer, and internship programs in Mott Haven.
This week we offered paid training through our partnership with IDE (Innovative Designs for Learning) to Arete alumni who work as employees in our Summer Programs at MS/HS 223 in Community School District 7 in the South Bronx. Our intergenerational approach to offering afterschool and summer programs in Mott Haven has distinguished our organization. By creating new teaching career pathways for middle and high school students in our teaching internship program, our high school graduates are able to enter the work force during their first semester of college. The specialized training, mentoring, alumni network, and opportunity to give back to their community through direct service in our afterschool and summer programs all provide unique advantages to the youth choosing to work with Arete as employees after graduation. They are caring, talented, problem-solvers and educators who take on leadership and direct teaching roles in our youth development programs.
This week's alumni educator training focused on how to engage students in the classroom by making learning more student-centered. Our alumni are a critical part of our strategy to support our partner schools with building trust with families as they choose to send students back to school this fall. They serve as bilingual family advocates who call families weekly and make connections to humanitarian, education, housing, and health services. They work afterschool as activity specialists, intern supervisors, technology specialists, and program coordinators. Providing opportunities for our alumni to build their skills enables us to have higher quality programs and for our alumni to progress further on the pathway to education and youth development careers.
What do we mean by “engagement” in the content of teaching and learning? What causes students to engage in the learning? How can we tap into their curiosity and drive in order to ignite learning? This professional learning experience will not only expose you to key ideas with respect to student engagement, but will also provide you with a set of concrete tools and strategies for engaging students in academic and social-emotional learning. You will leave the experience with a self-identified goal for increasing engagement in your own work with students.
Focus and Essential Questions for Each Day:
Arete interns and staff members once again came together to create the final water activity for the Summer Bridge students this past Friday while still following COVID-19 guidelines. Students came prepared to play and have a bit of fun before the big Showcase event occuring next Thursday on August 5th. This water activity was conducted once again by the ever creative Amy Arizmendi, Secretary and Family Advocate.
There were 3 stations in this Splish Splash Friday Bash.
Consists of the first person in line acting as the catcher, who will need to catch three balloons that will have to be popped over their head to try and catch as much water in the funnel as possible.
As soon as the catcher catches and pops three balloons, they will be able to move on to Station #2.
This station has a bucket of water with three sponges. The objective is to soak the three sponges with as much water as possible and while holding it over one's head, squeeze as much as one could into the funnel.
In Station #3
An inflatable pool is filled with gold coins and water. Each student has to dig and pick up a coin with a number, representing the number of balloons they would grab and toss into a bucket.
To conclude this blog we would like to say a heartfelt Thank You! to all the staff members and interns for making this summer extremely successful while following COVID19 safety protocols.
These fun activities helped students to shift their focus from academic learning and send them home happy after being able to let loose with their friends.