A Passion For Art

Klokke works out of a bright, spacious art studio at I.S. 392 in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Student artwork, neatly matted and hung, covers every wall. “If you frame and mount it, the kids feel good about it,” he says. “It means the art is worth something.”

Each year, Klokke selects several students to participate in a special enrichment activity at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Students “adopt” a piece of artwork and do a semester’s worth of research about the piece. Then the students return to the museum to present their research and field questions from other students and museum staff. Continue Reading

Small bakery provides great work experience for students

HOMEMADE_BREAD_AND_SWEET_ROLLS_ARE_MADE_DAILY_BY_JIM_TILLMAN_OF_TILLMAN'S_BAKERY._IT_IS_THE_ONLY_ONE_REMAINING_THAT..._-_NARA_-_558362Rosenberg witnesses first-hand the transformations some students make while working at the bakery. “When they start, the students are afraid to touch anything!” she says. “But then they try, and if they make a mistake, they see it isn’t the worst thing in the world.”

She adds that students working at the bakery might discover talents they never knew they had. Students also gain important math skills as they calculate measurements for her delicious baked goods.

“Working here is hands-on, and the skills stick in your head,” she says.

Not only does Madge provide great work experience for students, she also supports public school libraries through The Fund’s Shop for Class program. Continue Reading

Inspiring school librarian

Each morning at 6:30, Peter flips the sign on his library door to “Open.” Within minutes, the first students appear and by 8:00 a.m. there are as many as forty students packing the room – reading, studying, or using the computers.

“If you can get the kids to come in early, it’s a great way to get their day off and running,” says Kornicker. His book-jammed library is open all day, and he usually spends his lunch period at his desk to serve more students. Continue Reading

The Value of Mentoring a Student

Their first event together was a cook-off at Ernst and Young for all the mentor-mentee pairs which Miller, 23, likened to a junior high school dance. “Everyone was nervous, and nobody wanted to mingle. But we hit it off right away.”

Through their shared experiences, Martha introduced Zuleika to a world she hadn’t experienced and has helped to overcome her shyness. Most memorable was a trip that several of the mentors and mentees took to a dance studio in Manhattan, where the pairs learned to salsa. “I’m used to salsa dancing. In my culture we do it all the time,” Zuleika says. “So I felt like I was helping to teach Martha.”

Lately, Martha and Zuleika have been working on ways to balance the competing pressures of family and school. Zuleika’s mother is in cosmetology school, and since she is the oldest child, she often needs to babysit for her younger brothers. Martha is helping Zuleika come up with a plan for managing her time.

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Transition from a troubled adolescent to star student

“I was scared of hiking and water rafting. I was so scared I was screaming ‘I want my mom!’ But it showed me how to be a leader. If you are not uncomfortable, you are not doing anything. This whole year I was uncomfortable, but if you are too comfortable it means you are only doing the same things over and over again.

Chris White calls Jessica, who was the highest performing girl in his class last year, “the best role model we have. She’s very conscientious and helps the other kids; you can see that the other girls look up to her.” Continue Reading

Why changing large urban high schools into smaller communities works

Martin, a burly, 61-year-old, Long Island native, was taught soccer by a Brazilian Holocaust survivor. He is particularly well positioned to help needy youngsters attain their goals, as his own life once looked despairingly bleak. Twenty years ago, while living in New Mexico, Martin faced significant personal trials and setbacks. He describes his life as “chaotic and unmanageable,” but after returning to New York he worked as a cab driver and got his life on track.

He got a job teaching emotionally disturbed adolescents in East Harlem and became completely focused on making a positive impact. “Knowing you have a path and a direction and a goal makes you succeed. If we can instill that into children we can go somewhere. I put my energies into making their lives better.” Continue Reading

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