NEW YORK, NY – On Thursday, May 18, 20 professionals volunteered with United Way of New York City’s Young Leaders Council (YLC) at the East Bronx Academy for the Future’s first-ever Career Readiness and Exploration event, in partnership with Phipps Neighborhoods. This event provided an opportunity for nearly 50 middle school students—living in at-risk neighborhoods in the South Bronx—to engage with volunteer career ambassadors to discuss career aspirations and what students can be doing now, to help them achieve their career goals.
Across our City, 7 in 10 students are not reading at grade-level—a critical predictor for future success. Research shows us that students who miss this milestone are 74% more likely to drop out of high school, and for low-income children, more susceptible to remain in poverty. Grades, attendance patterns, and educational engagement at the middle school level are among the strongest predictors of graduation and continuation to college.
At the event, students participated in breakout sessions, based on their career interests, led by the volunteers in the areas of finance, law, nonprofit, education, fashion, communications, entrepreneurship, the arts, and STEM. Students had the opportunity to ask questions, learn about the various professions, and get advice on what they can do to help lead them down their desired career path.
“It was important to participate in the event because children need to know that they have options for the future,” said Shaimaa Hussein, YLC Member and Associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. “Those options—being a doctor, lawyer, engineer, fashion designer—are not reserved for just people of a certain race or class. The sooner children learn that, the sooner they can start working toward their futures.”
Students who attended the event even had the opportunity for extra credit in the classroom by writing an essay about what they learned from the professionals, and how they think it will benefit them preparing for college and career.
“Coming here I was able to ask questions about careers that I’m really passionate about,” says Roselyn Garcia, a middle school student at East Bronx Academy for the Future. With dreams of becoming a lawyer someday, “it made me understand all the work it takes in middle school, even elementary school and high school to get into these big important jobs.”
The YLC was proud to partner with East Bronx Academy for the Future and Phipps Neighborhood—bringing together the passion and philanthropic power of young professionals to help build future community leaders.
Photos available here.
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About United Way of New York City
United Way of New York City (UWNYC) has been a trusted partner to government, corporations, and community-based organizations for nearly 80 years. Serving low-income New Yorkers, UWNYC’s collective impact approach enables the diagnosis of neighborhood challenges and the design of solutions to expand education, financial stability, and health opportunities. UWNYC then deploys resources and volunteers while also driving policy change that is guided by measured results. UWNYC envisions caring communities where all individuals and families have access to quality education and the opportunity to lead healthy and financially secure lives. Learn more at unitedwaynyc.org.
About Young Leaders Council
United Way of New York City’s Young Leaders Council (YLC) brings the passion and philanthropic power of young professionals together to create a better community. Through the development of emerging leaders today, we can help build future community leaders to make New York City work for every New Yorker. Participation in the YLC provides an opportunity for meaningful engagement, volunteering, professional and personal development , and participation in events and activities.
About East Bronx Academy
East Bronx Academy for the Future is a middle school/high school for grades 6–12 that focuses on teaching their students in a technological environment. With an emphasis on learning by doing, students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in college and the world beyond.
About Phipps Neighborhoods
Phipps Neighborhoods helps children, youth, and families in low-income communities rise above poverty. We work in the South Bronx neighborhoods where we can address the greatest barriers to lasting success through education and career programs, and access to community resources.