In these times, it has been more important than ever to keep our spirits lifted. Change has become a constant friend, and adapting to new situations is our goal at CYD. Many of the young people we serve have faced this scenario since birth – constantly trying to adapt to ever-changing circumstances such as instability, lack of resources, and fear of the future. 92% of the students we serve live below the Federal New York State poverty line, and the effects of poverty on their lives run the gamut from food insecurity to homelessness.
For over 25 years, CYD has focused on ameliorating these effects by teaching, training, and preparing young people to break the cycle of poverty by completing their high school education and moving on to higher education to prepare for employment and careers at family-sustaining wages. Now more than ever, due to the impact of COVID-19 on our workforce and economy, it is imperative that we support students in building skills for employment while they are still in high school rather than waiting until they graduate. Many of our students need to work while training or going to college, and they need a wage that makes it possible for them to live in New York City. We have begun the journey to make this possible for our students, and are currently sharing the best practices of our partnership with CUNY at the CYD Career Academy, where we prepare young people to earn certificates as Medical Assistants, EMTs, and Medical Coders. We are also partnering with HERE to HERE and JobsFirstNYC, who are supporting the development of early workforce training models.
As you celebrate the holidays this year, please think of the young people still impacted by the pandemic. Many of those we serve were hanging on by a thread even before COVID-19. Your support will help us help them. Since schools reopened in September, it has been our goal as a community to help young people aspire and dream again. We remind them that we may be socially distant but we are not emotionally distant. Our staff is working every day to engage students in planning their next steps after graduation and at the same time staying safe. For example, we are bringing college reps and career panels to our students and meeting with their parents about financial aid, all remotely. Students are back in internships and beginning to think about the future in a positive way.
Together with our school partners, students, community partners, foundations, and government funders, CYD is going forward, and we need you, our individual donors, to join us. This holiday, I hope you have the chance to gather with those you love and be grateful for all that you have, and for all that you and your family and friends have come through. Know that we are grateful to you for your support and that our students are better off because of you!
Your dollars make a difference!
Without the support of each and every one of our individual donors, the stories you read about and the programs that make an impact in the lives of our young people would not be possible. Thank you!