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“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
ps 59 disney production

P.S. 59 Presents Disney's The Lion King Kids!

On June 6th and 7th, students at P.S. 59 William Floyd Elementary School welcomed the Brooklyn community for an amazing Disney experience: The Lion King!

 

Weeks prior to the show, students worked hard to put on an amazing Disney performance in the beginning of June. They eagerly rehearsed and constructed their costumes by hand! A fellow Arete staff member, Solange, was in charge of doing the students’ makeup for the performance. On top of that, students were also taken to see the Lion King Live on Broadway to learn more about theatrical performances. 

Thanks to the implementation of the new Industry Room at P.S. 59, students become motivated to indulge in the arts and participate in various arts-based programming that will ultimately strengthen academic performance. Through performances, assemblies, and the physical space offered in the Industry room, students are able to explore different interests, hobbies, and passions. One of the special projects as a result of these opportunities is the Lion King Kids - Disney Jr. Production. With this special production, students have been granted the opportunity to learn more about set design, stage production, acting and character development, and even have the chance to exhibit their own theatrical skills. Congratulations to all the students and staff who formed part of this production - what an amazing spectacle!

 - 07/06/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
Etiquette

Feed Our Needs Etiquette Luncheon at PS 59

Every last Wednesday of the month, Arete hosts an Etiquette Luncheon at PS 59 where students are invited to go out to eat at a local restaurant and participate in an etiquette class. 

 

Students are invited through a selection process that involves observing their behavior during their daily lunch periods. If students adhere to cafeteria and playground rules during the regular school lunch periods, they are called to participate in the Etiquette Luncheon. 

 

On Wednesday, selected students are gathered together during their lunch period for an etiquette class with Alejandra Figueroa (Community School Director) and Ms. Crawford (Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialist). This class consists of basic table manners, appropriate body language, and properly greeting others. Moreover, students are prompted to have meaningful conversations and make friends - positive table talk. 

Selected students express excitement and pride when they are invited to participate for this event! After having lunch at the local restaurant, students return to school enthusiastically to discuss their experience of learning respectful mannerisms and getting the opportunity to go out to eat. Restaurants for these events also happen to be within the community, selected as part of the Arete Feed Our Needs initiative that supports and promotes local Black- and Brown-owned businesses. In essence,  these 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. This helps engage students with the local restaurants and establish a sense of community!

 - 04/07/2023 - Anthony Ramirez Diaz
Arete-Education-MS223-Table-Tennis-Club

Arete Expands to Brooklyn and Harlem in Summer 2022

$565,000 in NYS Funds Awarded to NYC DOE for Arete's Expansion in July 2022

Serving Mott Haven, Washington Heights, Brownsville, and BedStuy Communities.

Arete Education, Inc. is a named CBO Partner for three grants awarded to the NYC DOE as part of New York State's 21st Century Community Learning Centers Round 8 Grants. See the award listing in NYSED's press release on April 12, 2022. This grant award allows Arete to open three new school sites, each in three new neighborhoods in New York City: BedStuy, Brownsville, and Washington Heights.

Areté Education is a 501(c)3 not for profit organization that trains and empowers youth to lead successful lives, by partnering with local schools and community groups to grow investment in Mott Haven youth. Areté designs afterschool and summer programming that exposes youth to diverse career pathways; builds academic, wellness, and leadership skills; and expands access to the arts and culture. With a 1.8 million dollar annual budget in 2022, Arete is able to provide comprehensive services to 1,500 students and families in the South Bronx, Brooklyn, and Harlem.

Arete brings financial and human resources to school communities that significantly expand opportunities for youth to succeed in school, college, career, and beyond. We provide access to excellent schooling, employment experiences, and afterschool and summer programs.
 - 04/22/2022 - sbsd@areteeducation.org

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