STATEN ISLAND, NY – The Staten Island Chapter of the National Council of Black Women (NCNW) has launched a community education initiative to support the youth of Staten Island.
NCNW-SI partnered with Port Richmond High School to establish an Adopt-A-School program in the spring, which then evolved into the Youth Leadership Public Speaking-Mentoring program.
“We’ve really been looking to dig deeper, especially because of the pandemic, and be more intensive in our approach so that we can support our communities,” said NCNW-SI President Nicole Meyers. “We reached out to the community, our members and asked them to review and think about how NCNW could better serve our communities.”
The curriculum-focused program is a community-based, youth-focused educational enrichment experience, providing mentoring opportunities and a public speaking initiative.
As a flagship program of NCNW-SI, members of the organization and the Port Richmond High School will serve as facilitators for participating students at the school.
“The entire Port Richmond High School community is thrilled and grateful for this incredible opportunity for our students,” said Andrew Greenfield, Principal of Port Richmond High School. “After 18 months of social isolation, this program couldn’t be better to support our student body. I would like to thank President Meyers and the dedicated women who make up the NCNW Staten Island for volunteering their time to mentor and empower our students. “
2 SEPARATE SERVICES FOR STUDENTS
The program focuses on providing two distinct services: the Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program and the Mentorship Initiative.
As part of the Adopt-A school program, the board received sponsorship from the New Day Toastmasters Club, the Staten Island club of Toastmasters International, to roll out a Toastmasters Youth Leadership Program, the first of its kind on Staten Island.
The program is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills, helping people become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.
“[What’s] The uniqueness of our approach is that it is designed not to compete with what students are already doing in school. It aims to complement existing efforts at the school by emphasizing speaking and leadership skills and helping to develop or enrich the skills and individual needs of young people, ”said Meyers.
In order to host a Toastmasters Youth Leadership program, it must be connected to a school. Meyers explained that the board looked at services and needs across the Staten Island community and felt that a partnership with Port Richmond High School “would maximize our chances of success.”
Meyers explained that the Toastmasters Youth Leadership program is more important than ever for young people, especially due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Public speaking is a transferable skill, regardless of their professional and educational background, she added.
“The ability to be able to voice your concerns, to promote yourself, to be articulate and almost change the narrative of what very often becomes the description of our youth is important – and through their voices they will be able to do that,” she added.
Also as part of the program, NCNW-SI launched a mentoring initiative aligned with Girl Talk and My Sister’s Keeper – mentoring efforts currently in place at Port Richmond High School.
NCNW-SI members and Port Richmond administrative leaders serve as mentors to those enrolled in high school – strategically placing members with students based on their areas of interest.
“Our members are made up of a myriad of professional backgrounds,” said Meyers. “We have lawyers, commissioners, speech-language pathologists, we have entrepreneurs, we also have public sector employees in leadership roles, so that’s the variety… the mentoring initiative will provide a one-on-one relationship with those who are part of the program. “
Student mentoring gives young people the opportunity to see themselves in their mentor and know that there is a path to opportunity in a variety of careers, the council explained.
“A RADIUS OF OPPORTUNITIES”
“The diversity of careers and professions in which many members are involved offers a range of opportunities and choices that may not be available to some students, and it creates a safe space for you to ask questions about the journey. career and share any concerns or apprehensions you may have, ”said Celestine Cox, president of press and publicity at NCNW-SI.
One of the goals of the program is to create a safe space for young people to feel safe enough to express themselves and reflect on opportunities that they did not see themselves pursuing.
“There is a range of options now available to young people solely on the basis of interaction with the National Council of Black Women themselves, as we have many pioneers within our organizations, many first to Staten Island that we encountered, ”Cox said. . “Being a longtime Staten Islander myself, I have seen the growth and empowerment that our community has developed and evolved over time, and we would love to share this story and these journeys with our young people who are involved. in our mentoring component. “
The eight-week student initiative was launched in September.
One of the results the organization hopes to achieve is to instill confidence in young people throughout their educational journey and future career paths, Cox explained.
“… Feeling confident and empowered, reaching out to diverse audiences and voicing concerns about social issues, education, whatever they feel they need a voice to speak to,” she said. declared. “I am truly delighted that NCNW has identified this as an important issue for our youth and that we are able to partner with Port Richmond High School which has a very diverse student body and a very diverse educational body as well.”
As the program is in its first year, NCNW-SI said about 10 students participate in the program – attending one session one day a week in the afternoon at the high school. According to Dr. Janet Leslie, senior vice president of programs at NCNW-SI, the initiative will later recruit up to 25 students.
“Over time, based on feedback, meetings before and after meetings with our partners, analysis, inputs and all the other metrics we use to determine success, we will make decisions about way to deploy the following cohorts, ”she said.
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