Arete Family Help Hotline
Dear MS/HS 223 Families:
Please contact our team if you are in need of family assistance.
We are here to listen and respond to your needs, ideas, and questions. At this time we are able to respond to calls and emails within one business day. We ask that when leaving us a message or sending an email, please include your name, callback number, and details about why you are calling (food concerns, tech/internet access, etc).
La Morada Chef Natalia's Sopa de Viandas Recipe / Receta
Inspired by employees at Engage@IHSMarkit and Barclays Embrace, Arete partnered with South Bronx Mutual Aid and La Morada Restaruant in Mott Haven to prepare 100 meals to give away for Thanksgiving. We learned Chef Natalia's recipe for Sopa de Viandas, a nutritous vegan soup made from root vegetables and shared the prepared soup, fresh vegetables, and the recipe to feed a family of 4-8 people. You can see pictures and the recipe below. More details on our blog.
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.
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.
When Dr. Ramon Gonzalez envisioned that a small non-profit could be the difference maker for kids in the South Bronx, he created a legacy in Mott Haven. Every student coming through the doors of The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology can and will reach their full potential.
Arete, the notion that excellence is virtue, that investing in human potential will create positive and lasting change: that is who we are. Those are the ideals we embody.
Before the pandemic, we served our community by providing free services that expanded the school day with afterschool programming in the arts, STEM, fitness, SEL, and academics; free services that expanded the school week through Saturday Academy; and free services that expanded the school year through our Summer Bridge Arts Institute. We expanded career pathways through internships, leadership programs, College Office staffing, and college visits. We served the Mott Haven community through food and coat drives, community events and celebrations spotlighting youth achievement, and providing greater access to technology. From 2012 to 2020, Arete dedicated itself to cultivating excellence in the youth we served.
The past nine months of the pandemic have transformed the terrain of the afterschool sector and presented a call to action for Arete to respond to the dramatic humanitarian, mental health, and economic development needs of our students, families, and neighborhoods.
We have learned that in the current pandemic setting, youth can reach their full potential, and we have to work differently to set the conditions for youth to flourish.
We have had limited access to school buildings to run Extended Schools programming. When the school buildings are open, we run program at just 15% of the capacity of pre-pandemic operations. Instead of 350 students in the building afterschool each week, we have 70 students.
We are working remotely; we are engaging volunteers; we are hiring and training youth. We have seen an outpouring of public financial and volunteer support from individuals and foundations who are dedicated to the success of youth in Mott Haven. We have channeled new funds from individual donors and foundations to feed our families, staff our family help hotline, provide wifi and computer access, and expand our paid internship programs for youth.
Our older students do not have the luxury to attend afterschool programming online; they are caring for siblings inside all day, struggling to connect via dropped cell and wifi connections, overwhelmed by the amount of time they are asked to be learning in digital spaces, and supporting caretakers who have lost jobs and homes during the pandemic.
Our approach to nurturing youth excellence in the pandemic has been to provide new, one-on-one tutoring and small group afterschool instruction and to pay, train, and hire our students and graduates to offer those services; to continue providing essential academic afterschool offerings (credit-bearing courses, book clubs, 8th grade algebra, debate); and to seek outside investments to provide food, PPE, school supplies, computers, and hotspots to our families.
The results have been inspiring. The creativity, passion, and expertise of our more senior staff has been funneled into our academic afterschool offerings and our expanded career pathways in teaching, the arts, and STEM for our students and graduates. Half of our staff are program alumni who work alongside our 35 high school and middle school students in paid internships to provide peer-tutoring and youth advocacy through the arts. We have raised over $120,000 (10% of our annual budget in 2020) in new funding sources to provide humanitarian aid and digital access for remote learning to our families in Mott Haven.
There is so much more to do in 2021.
Our work begins with gaining financial stability in 2021. We have weathered significant financial losses in 2020 due to unprecedented strains on state and city budgets due to the pandemic. Delayed reimbursements from the city and state agencies who provide roughly 75% of our program budget have threatened our ability to continue our programs uninterrupted in 2021.
We have not yet cut services to families based on the economic crisis in the city. For nine months we have thrived despite city and state budget cuts to the non-profit sector and specifically afterschool programming. We continue to seek public support for our work in 2021 through partnering with the Robin Hood Foundation, Hayden Foundation, Heckscher Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, Gen Next, and the Tracy Family Foundation and through individual donor support. In 2020, we saw a $200,000 increase in foundation support (200% increase from 2019) and a $40,000 increase in individual donor support (200% increase from 2019). We are eager to see those numbers continue to soar in 2021 as we work to expand investment in Mott Haven youth.
We believe we have the talent, history, and vision to continue cultivating excellence in Mott Haven youth. We are eager to grow our programs to support our neighborhood in the South Bronx and explore new collaborations in Harlem to support schools and families interested in partnering with Arete in 2021.
Looking back, looking ahead, we are committed to training, empowering, hiring, and bringing out the full potential in our youth.
MAKE AN IMPACT
Areté Education is thriving, but the best is yet to come! We have a vision for this program -- to offer even stronger, smarter, and more enriching experiences that propel our students to succeed. We're ready for the future of Ignite Learning -- help us get there.