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
Elevate New York: January 2015 Recap
While January is usually a time to relax after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, Elevate New York has come into 2015 with a profound rush of excitement and energy.
For starters, we ended 2014 with the incredible success of our matching gift campaign, raising more than $50,000 in one week! We could not be more grateful to all of our donors. We are so blessed to have a network of supporters that continue to bolster our efforts and help provide our Elevate students with the education and life skills they need in and out of the classroom. Because of you, lives will be changed forever.
Speaking of our Elevate students, they continue to grow and impress us every day. Recently, our classroom discussions have centered around Courage. Our students taught elementary school students that courage means “being brave and standing up for what you believe.” They also played a fun game called “Cookie to Face,” which is an activity where the objective is to place a cookie on their forehead and get that cookie to their mouths without using their hands. The lesson learned is that sometimes you have to risk looking silly to accomplish your goals. To see the game in action, check out the video on our Instagram.
Along with Courage, we also spent time discussing bullying and how it effects your character and self-esteem. Our special speaker Kesha Nichols, the CEO of Sugar & Spice Productions and star on Basketball Wives, explained that “bullying has nothing to do w/ the victim, but everything to do w/ the internal struggle of the bully.”
Earlier this month, our students were honored to have former MLB player Darryl Strawberry and his daughter Diamond Strawberry visit our classroom and also watch our Little Elevate program in action. Darryl gave a lot of great advice to our students, including “If you quit, you never know the journey that would have been ahead of you.” We want to thank him and his daughter for visiting and giving our program and our students so much support.
With so much excitement in just one month, 2015 is looking to be a fantastic year for Elevate New York. We look forward to sharing all of our experiences here on our website and also through our social media channels. If you don’t already, be sure to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
Announcing: Osta Jewelry for Elevate New York
The holidays are over, but that doesn’t mean we have to lose the spirit of giving. In addition to our new online giving system, iDonate, Elevate has other opportunities for you to make a difference in the next generation.
In the start of this new year, Elevate New York is proud to announce a new partnership with Osta Jewelry!
Vadim and Anastasiia Osta, founders of Osta Jewelry, are avid supporters of our organization. Their work is known to be modern in style and timeless in taste. They have created a signature pendant for Elevate New York. This elegant and inspiring piece can be worn with everyday casual wear, and will still dress up a fancy outfit for a night out.
With every purchase, enjoy free shipping within the US, and the excitement of knowing that all profits go to helping raise up the next generation of urban leaders.
To place your order, click here.
We could not thank Osta Jewelry enough for partnering with us on our mission as well as all of you who continue to support our cause. Happy 2015!