She was a young mother of a two-year-old, relying on her parents and child’s father for income. To give her son a life of comfort and opportunity, she knew she needed to make a change.
So Taleesha joined our CHAMPION Network, which provides job training and placement to Cypress Hills residents. Here, Taleesha received academic training, career training in transportation, and job placement as an Access-a-Ride driver. Today, she transports disabled residents around the city in her very own CareRide car.
Equipped with a new job and the skills to succeed, Taleesha has a bright future ahead of her. “I thank the CHAMPION Network for opening up doors for me,” she said. “I feel financially free, and I feel that wherever my path takes me, I have the experience and support to persevere.”
With the help of CHLDC, Serenity is blossoming into a strong and passionate student.
The young student and Cypress Hills native has always loved to read. But last year, she didn’t feel challenged by her school’s curriculum. Her class was reading short, beginner books, but Serenity wanted to read chapter books.
“I want to read bigger books that help me learn more words,” she said.
So Serenity joined Ready Readers, part of CHLDC’s afterschool program. Ready Readers helps Cypress Hills students in kindergarten through second grade develop advanced reading and language skills.
Serenity said her experience with Ready Readers has helped her to succeed in all areas of school. “Because I did Ready Readers last year,” she said, “I’m going to do better this year.”
She now asks for extra homework on the weekends, and is the president of her class. We have no doubt that she will go on to do great things, chapter books in hand.
Raymi never thought that she could attend college.
She moved to New York from the Dominican Republic when she was eight years old. She did not have the money she assumed would be necessary to finance a college education, and she did not know anyone in a situation like hers who had attended college. She had no information about the application process, or how she could enroll.
But Raymi’s life was changed completely when she came to CHLDC’s Student Success Center for counseling. Ramyi’s counselors informed her that she could, in fact, attend college. They encouraged her to try her best, to make her application strong. They helped her find the schools that were the right fit for her.
Now, Raymi is a senior in the sociology department at Hunter College, and is part of Hunter’s prestigious Honors program. Not only is she an outstanding student, but she will be the first in her family to graduate college.
She is also giving back to the CHLDC by working as one of our College Persistence Coaches, and helping her peers navigate the college experience, from class work to financial aid.
“She told me, ‘You’re in the same situation as me,’” said Dayna, a student at Queens College who Raymi advises. “I talked to her about what I was going through, and she helped me.”
Raymi loves helping other students, and plans on using her education to help marginalized communities in the future. She said, “It’s really rewarding…knowing that you’re an advocate for somebody.”