On Tuesday, February 13th The Catalog had the opportunity to attend 16 Bars: Youth (Off)Ending Justice, a documentary theater piece, written, produced and performed by the teens of exalt, all of whom have been deeply impacted by their involvement with the criminal justice system in New York City. exalt is an alumni member program that re-engages court-involved young people in their love for learning and in helping them understand the urgency of taking action to reverse their journey along the school-to-prison pipeline. All of us at The Catalog are proud to be involved in exalt’s growth and trajectory.
Pictured above: Atlas member and Peer Educator, Victor V. (center), Atlas member, Luis Q (l), and Atlas community organizer, David A (r) leading a KYR (Know Your Rights) workshop for immigrant community members at Mixteca in Sunset Park Brooklyn.
Catalog cohort member Atlas DIY has been one of many NYC organizations working tirelessly to make sure that young people, regardless of their immigration status, know their rights, have access to accurate information, and free and honest legal services. Atlas has prioritized all calls and inquiries coming in about DACA and quickly organized two major community events to help respond: 1) a legal clinic for DACAmented youth on September 15th and 2) an Immigrant Resource Fair in collaboration with Mixteca and the Jamie Lucero Mexican Studies Institute.
At their immigrant resource fair, a team of Atlas youth, trained and supervised by their legal team, conducted immigration consultations for community members of all ages. Sadly, they often had to correct inaccurate and fraudulent information people had received from private attorneys. Atlas’s youth peer educators also led a Know-Your-Rights presentation and an update about the DACA cancellation.
On September 11th, 2017 The Catalog and its alumni member program Opening Act joined Cantor Fitzgerald and its affiliate BGC Partners for their annual Charity Day which commemorates the 648 employees Cantor Fitzgerald lost on 9/11. Cantor donates 100% of the day’s global revenues to dozens of charities like the Catalog for Giving and its own Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, turning a tragic day in America’s history into one of positivity and hope. This year’s celebrity supporters, Uzo Aduba and Christopher Jackson, of Opening Act took to the trading floor and made dozens of trades to help support this great cause.
As she prepares to graduate high school, Jocelyn looks forward to the next stage of her life with confidence and excitement. She will be attending Dickinson College as a POSSE Scholar, and she plans to study computer science. “I now know what it’s like to work at a company as a software developer, and I know that’s what I want.”
Jocelyn was exposed to careers in technology through Catalog member program ScriptEd. She took a coding course offered by ScriptEd at her school, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of East Harlem. After her first year in the course, Jocelyn signed up for the ScriptEd internship program and spent the summer as an intern at ThoughtWorks, a technology consulting firm. “I got to network with people and get a glimpse of what my future could be like.”
Jocelyn’s second year with ScriptEd exposed her to even more opportunities in the field of software development. She attended advanced classes after-school at a company called Teachers Pay Teachers, where she expanded her coding skills and her network of professional contacts. She also signed up for another summer internship, and is excited to build more transferable skills. “I am really proud of the app I developed [in my internship], because it was the first time I built an app in that language. My managers told me that if I can do what ScriptEd taught me, I can build an app in any new language and use the same concepts and skills.”
When David Silva was called in for Catalog for Giving member program Breakthrough NY’s (BTNY) info session as a 6th grader, he thought he was in trouble so didn’t respond to his name being called over the loud speaker. Eventually, a school staff member went to find him and explained that he wasn’t in trouble, so he went to the info session and loved what he heard. He was in a middle school where only some of his classmates were academically minded, so he liked the idea of getting to learn more over the summer and meet other kids who were equally excited about learning.
He believes that he was chosen to join BTNY because of his demeanor, drive, and vulnerability. He was always open about who he is, and was able to share the truth about himself during his interview. For example, he felt comfortable enough to talk about how his parents were splitting up at the time, which was a very sensitive topic and not something every kid would have willingly shared.
David, now a senior in high school, was recently accepted as a POSSE scholar to Babson College. He has always taken advantage of any and every opportunity that has come his way because of BTNY and/or other resources in his life. He has taken the leadership and teamwork skills that he’s learned at BTNY, to create both a swim club and math club at his high school.
On a personal level, he really thrived in the BTNY’s academic summer program, where everyone was engaged and committed to academics. Before, he was a very shy person, and found it difficult to make new friends, but being at BTNY helped him grow. He also learned the value of caring for others (such as celebrating their accomplishments) and the importance of community to one’s success.
On Tuesday, May 9th we had the opportunity to serve as judges at another great Civics Day as the students from alumni member organization Generation Citizen, presented their civics projects from their semester long class! The students, taught by volunteer college students who serve as “democracy coaches,” select an issue of importance to their communities, study and coalesce around the root causes of the issue, identify the change-makers they need to engage, and work on tactics to make change happen.
In the picture above middle school students explain their research and outreach to curb racially motivated violence to Catalog friend, Stuart Post, Executive Director of The Meringoff Family Foundation. Other projects we judged included a proposal to reduce bus and subway fares for low income residents, and a program to bridge the serious trust divide between police and high school students. The student presenters were enthusiastic to understand their privilege and obligation to be engaged citizens and to make change happen in their communities.
Since joining The Catalog’s 6th cohort, GC has nearly tripled its number of participants and expanded to three additional cities. We continue to strategize with Founder and Executive Director, Scott Warren and his team and are proud of our early support of this amazing program.
On Thursday April 27th The Catalog convened a capacity-building workshop for its 7th Cohort Member Organizations. The workshop was presented by communications consultant Marti Fischer and provided participants with skills to perfect their organization’s elevator pitches and cut through all the noise that non-profit messaging is often lost in. A key goal of The Catalog is to expand the technical, fundraising, and communications skills of its member programs so that they are better able to survive in the current non-profit climate when they leave the Cohort. Thanks to the support of The Meringoff Family Foundation The Catalog will provide a number of capacity-building workshops to its member programs this year.
Our 7th Cohort will “graduate” from The Catalog this year and members are continuing to explore how to advance their operational skills and continue to serve more NYC youth. Our workshops for the cohort have covered many issues that are key to emerging nonprofits, but we knew that they were ready for more advanced work. So we were thrilled when Stuart Post, Executive Director of the Meringoff Family Foundation approached us to see how The Catalog could make use of a significant capacity building grant.
A key component of The Catalog’s philosophy and model of support is building capacity and providing technical assistance to our grantees, ensuring their success for years to come. In the last few years, The Catalog has broadened these services, hosting workshops in a variety of important fields for emerging nonprofits. Thanks to the support of the Meringoff Family Foundation, we are building on this work by sponsoring a series of workshops with a recognized expert in nonprofit fundraising focusing on concrete steps our organizations can take to advance their fundraising efforts. The grant will further provide individual consulting for our groups that are tackling particular issues. Our thanks go out to Stephen Meringoff and his family for recognizing the critical value of strengthening nonprofits’ operations.
“Access to higher education through outstanding youth development programming is a major focus of the Meringoff Family Foundation, and our support for Catalog for Giving is an extremely cost effective way to further this mission. Our grant increases the Catalog’s capacity, while also providing hands-on assistance to the 15 youth-serving organizations that comprise Cohort 7. It is with great satisfaction that I support my NYC real estate colleagues who are working so tirelessly on the Catalog’s behalf.”
Stephen J. Meringoff, President, Meringoff Family Foundation
We have been busy working on a new website to make it easier for you to get to know The Catalog and our wonderful member programs. It’s still a work in progress, but we think you’ll enjoy the new look. Please check back regularly for updates on our terrific programs, news about the young participants, events at The Catalog and our programs and other news of interest to those who support NYC youth development.