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 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.
Written by Mariyam Sumareh
Today marks the first day of Summer Bridge for the students at The Laboratory School of Finance & Technology! It is exciting to see many young faces gathered after the year we have experienced. Throughout today, students across the grades engaged in academic and enrichment activities.
We had over 100 students attend summer programming, and we are excited to keep the momentum going. One thing for sure is that today has been a success. It's exciting to know that this is some students' first time being in the building while doing their whole sixth grade experience virtually and were able to engage with their classmates and instructors.
Through all of the first day challenges, we were able to get it done thanks to the students’ flexibility and the drive of all of the amazing staff. Students were able to sample the enrichment activities, exploring and getting a taste of each club so that by the end of tomorrow they can choose where they would like to be for the remainder of the summer.
Take a look at what our students had to say about their first day:
“Today was awesome. I got to meet new teachers and classmates. I got to learn more stuff about the school. So now I’m prepared for the school year.” - Juelz Perdomo, 6th Grade
“My day went good because I got to make new friends and I got to see new faces. It was good to get to know the teachers” - Juliet Flores, 7th Grade
“My first day here today was fine as we did a lot of fun things like play a game for our birthdays and engaged in Ice breakers” - Anonymous student, 8th Grade
Arete is proud to announce the hiring of Yaritza Montiel, a graduate of the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology (MS/HS 223) and alumni of Arete programs, in the new position of Youth Service and Leadership Fellow. In this role Yartiza will be leading youth service and leadership initiatives for middle school and high school students across our programs in Mott Haven. She will be focusing on the areas: financial literacy, community service learning, advocacy for racial equity, food security for children and families, and high quality job access for youth.
Yaritza is enrolled at Cornell University and is majoring in Information Science and also serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. She will be taking a GAP year for the 2020-2021 school year and during this time will serve as an Arete Fellow and figure out what she is passionate about, enjoys doing, and should explore for a future career. We are thrilled to have Yaritza join the team.
This month Arete is launching a Youth Leadership Initiative integrating the topics of Love and Racial Justice.
What does love have to do with racial justice?
Can understanding the dynamics of love lead towards racial justice?
When prompted, many of us can list all of the injustices that racism has caused in our society. However, can we discuss what it would look like if racial justice was achieved?
Discussions of love as a force of healing are often neglected in talks about racial justice. Research has proven that love is a powerful force of healing in the body and has a positive outcome on the lives of people who experience love.
Starting November 12, 2020, we are inviting our student and alumni leaders to join a year-long study on these topics. Monthly hour-long sessions (5 pm on Thursdays) will provide spaces for youth to engage with expert coach and facilitator, Dr. Maria Akinyele, who is serving as Arete's Coach in residency this academic year. She has designed a six-part series of workshops, where youth leaders will explore conceptions of love as a pathway for imagining and achieving racial justice.
Our your leaders will:
Beginning in February 2020, our youth leaders will begin working with Dr. Maria to design bilingual family workshops on the topics they are exploring in their work and offer those sessions in English and Spanish for all families in our school community.
This youth leadership team will also begin working as professional learning facilitators in Arete Forum sessions as all staff across the organization follow the lead of our youth leaders and delve into the topics and learning activities presented in the 6-part workshop series. Our youth leaders will be co-facilitators during those professional learning sessions.
At the end of the youth leadership initiative, we will have 8 certified youth leaders on the topic of racial justice and love, having gained 25 hours of learning and coaching. We look forward to the new community learning initiatives and service projects that come forward through this focused work over the year.
The Black Lives Matter movement is not something that has recently emerged in America-- it has resurfaced. For centuries, America has been a place that has constantly neglected the issues at hand regarding black people. There have been constant battles from the Civil Rights Movement in the mid 1950s to the late 1960s, to the modern day Black Lives Matter movement that was started back in 2013, which is still very relevant till this day. Our American system is built on principles made to serve white men, and has been buried by slogans like “liberty and justice for all,” when in reality justice has countless times never been served for the black innocent lives lost due to the systemic racism present.
It has been the job of the people to stand against the corrupt American system and fight for basic human rights that everyone is entitled to. There should not be a fight, but there is. There has been, and it will continue until the system is truly changed to serve everyone like they promised.
The Black Lives Matter movement is particularly important to me because most of my life up to this point, I’ve been influenced by so many black people who have shaped me in ways unimaginable. From my childhood friends, my mentors, music teachers, and my family members I have felt so closely connected to, I feel so enraged about the current state of the country and bias against people who I have felt so much love for. Fighting for your personal community is a form of advocacy I have been exercising. Contributing to this movement and understanding why it is so important, is part of my own growth through continuously learning about shared worries black people around me and nationally have.
The worries black people share nationwide through social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, have educated me and have brought awareness to issues that are far from the surface. As I’ve read and read through countless posts, articles, and looked at pictures, it instantly made me think if everyone deeply affected by the issues at hand have been taking care of themselves. It made me worried that the strong black people I am so inspired by through their bravery, were looking within and finding ways to stay in touch with themselves. Mental health during these times is incredibly important because sharing with the world your traumas and fears can be draining, so recharging is essential in the restoration of power. Through restoring oneselves power, your voice will be used to its full potential and clearly heard by those like me who are allies.
Many people don’t think that self-care is important during these times because there are greater problems to worry about and advocate for. However, advocacy looks different for everyone, and can actually be tied to anything relating to the honoration of black lives. For example:
My preferred self care activities would be dance and listening to music since they come hand in hand. Dancing has always been a way for me to destress and recharge myself. During these times I have dedicated myself to learning some dance routines to songs by black artists that I admire. One of these artists being Lizzo. Lizzo is not only an icon of being confidently beautiful, but an inspiration to the black community in general. A black successful artist who has done nothing but spread positivity and light; she should be celebrated through times like these. Black lives matter, her life matters, her father, uncles, cousins, brothers lives matter, and all of her black fans that she inspires matter.
I decided to make a BLM Playlist and put together songs that I have been listening to throughout this month. There’s a variety of genres included within the playlist so you can either skip around or listen directly through the whole playlist. I recommend listening to the whole playlist because new black creators can be exposed to you, and by streaming their music as a form of self-care, their voices will be magnified. Black lives matter, these artists’ lives matter, their fathers, uncles, cousins, brothers lives matter, and all of the black fans that these artists inspire matter. Here is the link to my playlist:
I urge everyone to engage in a form of self care during these times. The Black Lives Matter battle is nowhere near over and the movement needs activists who are strong and powerful. Restoration of power is essential in working towards a changed future, and we will get there. Like Lizzo once said:
“You know what I want above all things? I want people who are aware of my music right now, to believe in change.”
For the past couple of the days the BLM movement has turned into an unrest of wanting equality. Many people do not understand the movement because they fail to realize the privilege they have. Seeing several articles on how to stay in involved and what type of media you should be consuming so you are much more aware of what is going on. Here are a couple of lists of media I have seen that can help someone understand.
In unprecedented times, hate raises; police brutality continues and creates horrible situations for people of color. Which makes you think, why is this still going on in 2020? The truth is that America has not yet evolved to be able to have equality among all races, and with this, it creates deadly scenarios for some people. That makes people fear going outside, fear authority, fear just living in America.
After recent footage of George Floyd getting knelt on by an officer repeating,
"I can't breathe”
the protest broke out, riots followed, as well as various stores in Minneapolis being looted, where the original incident took place. George Floyd was arrested for trying to pay with a counterfeit bill. He was brutally attacked by police for this reason. People are tired of the racism and are looking to do something about. Once the crowd got "out of control,” they were tear gassed, causing many people to get injured and need to push back. When getting tear-gassed, people ran in a local Target to get supplies. Running into this store led to worse things, eventually looting the Target and other big businesses such Dollar Tree and an Auto Zone.
"Ignorance is bliss for the majority, but ignorance is death for the minority."
The same story every time, just a different person. The hatred has to end, and it’s not going to take one protest or one person speaking up. It’s going to have to be more than that. Racism that happens in the police department is not something that should continue to happen. No one should die because the color of their skin. NO one should be feared because of the color of their skin. This is something more than just one person dying at the cost of a racist police officer. There are so many people who died for reasons they shouldn't have.
Say Their Names
Everyday it’s another life that has been lost due to carelessness. Black people should not have to put their lives at risk just to receive equality. It is sad to see how much progress we have not made as a country, to continue to be living in a time like this. Stay educated and stay informed. Stand for what you believe in, and use your voice, because if you don't, injustice will continue.
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor" -Desmond Tutu
As the protest continued, the Minnesota National Guard was activated to help aid officers to be able to control the area. None of this would be needed if there was equality, if a Black person would have not lost their life to an unreasonable matter.
Here are some links to support