Last month, five of our Elevate students -Erik, Wendy, Luis, Destiny and Jasmine – and walked across the graduation stage and received their high school diplomas. We could not be more proud of everything they have all accomplished so far, and can’t wait to see how bright their futures shine.
“Now that I’ve graduated I feel great! What pushed me to graduate was the people who were looking forward to seeing me walk across that stage. I’m going to be attending Laguardia Community College in the fall. My goals are to achieve success and pursue an acting career.” – Erik
Congratulations to all of the graduates and we wish you all the best in this next exciting stage of your lives!
Seniors and Graduates Cookout at Donnelly Mechanical
To celebrate our 2015 seniors and graduates, our newest partner Donnelly Mechanical hosted our 2015 Seniors & Graduates cookout at their plant in Queens Village. Donnelly Mechanical works with air conditioning, mechanical construction and energy services across New York City. Dan Donnelly and his team did a great job educating our students on the HVAC business and even offered them internship opportunities with the company.
It was a very fun and special night for our students to remember their Elevate experience as well as looking forward to their bright and exciting futures. Thank you to Donnelly Mechanical for hosting us and giving our students a chance to be a part of your industry.
Emmanuel Jacobo: From the Bronx to the Barclays
Earlier this month, Emmanuel Jacobo visited the Elevate New York classroom to speak with our students about his journey from “the Bronx to the Barclays Center.”
Emmanuel is the director of ticket sales at the Barclays Center for the New York Islanders. He shared his experience as a young Dominican man who was born and raised in the Bronx with dreams of becoming an NBA star. After an injury set him back, he realigned his goals, utilized his skill set and worked hard to instead become a huge part of the NY sporting industry. His positive vision, determination and strong work ethic are what led him to success, and his story strongly resonated with all of our students who now look up to him as a role model.
Emmanuel taught our students that not only do they need to survive in this world, but that you can also thrive and succeed. “Things are going to go wrong. When it does, that’s how you find out who you really are.”
He also noted that “your environment and complexion doesn’t define you. You define you.”
The impact that Emmanuel had on our class was powerful, and student Jonathan Hernandez said to him after class, “I related to you more than any other guest speaker that’s been to our class in the last two years of being in Elevate.”
But Emmanuel’s impact didn’t stop there. Luckily for our students, he treated 27 Elevate students to a private tour of the Barclays Center last week. The students got to sit in the stands, walk around the floor of the arena where the basketball and hockey players play as well as visit every suite area – including Jay Z’s private suite.
We want to send a heartfelt thank you to Emmanuel for not only spending time with our students but also inspiring them to always strive forward towards their dreams.
Little Elevate and Middle Elevate
For six out of the 8 months of the school year, our Elevate students become the teachers and mentors. Using the Colorado Uplift program as a model, Elevate New York implemented “Little Elevate” 5 years ago, putting our Elevate students at the front of the classroom in a local elementary school, PS 335. For one hour each week, our high school Elevate students become elementary school mentors, teaching 2nd through 5th grade students. Elevate students learn and craft their 20-minute lesson plans during their elective classes throughout the week. For the last two school years, 60 Elevate students have taught 150 elementary school children, every week.
By challenging high school students to become the teachers, the character quality and life skills lessons that they’ve been learning are now being applied to complete the lessons’ circle: Elevate students become the leaders, mentors and role models they were always meant to be. Whether it is giving a presentation to the entire class or working with hands-on activities in small groups, our high school students work to improve the mindsets and enrich the knowledge of elementary school students in their neighborhood.
Furthermore, our students learn that spending time and energy to teach valuable lessons to their younger counterparts – is the greatest form of giving. It teaches them to be philanthropic, even before they start earning money.
With the success of our Little Elevate program, we launched our Middle Elevate program three months ago. Much like our Little Elevate program, our Elevate students are mentoring and teaching 6th and 7th grade students, during their lunch period. It has established a strong connection between these two groups of students, who share the same hallways throughout the day. We are seeing increased accountability from high school and middle school students. Once again, our goal is to serve our school community with the Elevate character qualities and life skills.
We are excited to see this program grow and are proud of our students for encompassing the lessons they’ve learned and the character-building qualities they’ve developed through Elevate to reach out and impact younger students.
How Students Spell Love: T.I.M.E.
Every month, Kevin Singleton (Elevate founder and CEO) and Yasmine Rodriguez (program director, teacher and mentor) share their experience and insight into what it takes to harvest powerful relationships, build strong character, spark inspiring connections and make a profound impact on the next generation of urban youth.
If the walls of flowers in your local supermarket or the hundreds of jewelry commercials on your TV haven’t reminded you enough lately, February is a month of love. But here at Elevate, we know that the term “love” has a very different meaning for the students we work with every day. For many of them, “love” doesn’t come easy – and when it does, it needs to be showcased in a much more engaged, in-depth and powerful way. For our students, LOVE = T.I.M.E.:
(T) – TEXT/Access
There is a direct correlation between Access and Communication. If a student can’t access you, they can’t communicate with you. If they can’t communicate with you, they won’t feel LOVE from you.
(I) – INTIMACY or (In-To-Me-See)
Does your student know your dreams and failures? Have you opened up your heart and let them see what’s inside? The more secure the adult is, the more they can share with their student.
(M) – Meals
Food is an ice breaker. Whenever we eat meals with our students, their hearts become a little less guarded.
(E) – Epistemology
def. – the study of HOW we learn.
Seek to understand HOW students learn. What are their
To name a few…
“True Love Takes The Time To Figure Out Which Learning Style Is Best For A Student.”
- Kevin Singleton