Catalog Student and Educator Stories

“Breakthrough has given me so many opportunities for public speaking in front of classmates and adults. Now I feel confident.  I tell myself to put my best foot forward. When we had career day at Breakthrough I went to Google and it was actually really interesting.  I got to see how Google employees live a job and use their mind and that’s something that I liked.  I want to be either an aeronautical engineer or an architectural engineer. Math is hard for me but because I know where I want to go, I don’t let it stop me. Breakthrough has helped me and set me up with a finance company that has employees who are good at math, so I go there for 2-hour [tutoring] sessions.

My mom is an immigrant from republic of Trinidad and Tobago and got as far as 10th grade in high school.  She came here and really wanted me to do more.  Breakthrough has really helped to take a lot off of her shoulders.  Breakthrough came to my middle school and my mom pushed me to get into it, and it just sparked me. I went along with her encouragement and I got in. My Breakthrough class of 2018 in Brooklyn was so tightknit and the parents of the class of 2018 were so tightknit. And they were communicating as much as the kids.   And it’s so much more now because she’s helping me, I’m helping Breakthrough, Breakthrough is helping me and I’m helping my mom.  So it’s just back and forth.”

-Trevon, 9th Grade student at Breakthrough NY

Alyssa on ProjectArtThough she’s only eleven, Alyssa has no trouble keeping up with her older ProjectArt classmates at the Brooklyn Central Library. To say that Alyssa is a prolific artist is not an exaggeration. She’s always armed with her sketchbook, and during her visit to the ProjectArt 12th student exhibition Alyssa sketched at least three portraits. In between drawing, she was more than happy to share with other visitors about her creative process. Alyssa’s piece in the show was a mixed media still life depicting deer antlers sprouting flowers and hanging from cut paper vines. Arlene, Alyssa’s mother, says that her daughter looks forward to her class each week and is eager to continue participating in ProjectArt programming. Alyssa confirmed this by walking up to ProjectArt Founder Adarsh Alphons to express her dismay that class was going to be over soon and let him know how much she loves ProjectArt!

-Alyssa, 11 year old student at ProjectArt

Brooklyn Landmark Elementary’s trajectory from unknown, “phase-in” school to high-achieving, beloved community resource tells the story of a remarkable school leader, and her ability to transcend enormous challenges with the help of Change for Kids and The Catalog for Giving.

Like all Change for Kids (CFK) partner principals, Robin Davson is what CFK calls a “visionary leader”— a principal with the drive, passion and commitment to transform her schools, no matter the odds. Under her leadership the school has improved dramatically.

“Academic growth is consistently increasing,” says Ms. Davson. “When I came in, I had 12% percent of students who were proficient in reading and now I have 52% who are proficient in reading. In math, students went from superficial thinking to concrete problem-solving. The culture of the school has changed dramatically, too. Our students walk in, they’re happy, I see the joy factor, and they are clearly excited to come to class. Last year’s attendance compared to this year’s attendance shows a significant increase. We have definitely seen non-academic character skills improve and our parents are now on board in a way they haven’t been before.”

Partnering with CFK allowed Ms. Davson to address challenges head-on. With support from The Catalog for Giving, CFK delivered programs and resources tailored to Brooklyn Landmark’s needs – providing new experiences, crucial support for struggling learners, enrichment programs that inspire and empower scholars and parent engagement assistance.

“The passion that I have and the energy and tenacity and everything that I want for my kids, this partnership has allowed me to continue the mission and vision I have for my students,” says Ms. Davson. “It has made a tremendous impact, from the largest to the smallest projects.

-Change for Kids and Principal Robin Davson, Brooklyn Landmark