National CARES and our Atlanta CARES leadership are thrilled that the Fulton County Solicitor General has selected our Atlanta-based University for Parents (U4P) initiative as a life-transforming alternative to incarceration. This new partnership expands the reach of this innovative work, which we will replicate throughout the nation. It offers men and women arrested for non-violent crimes an opportunity to restore their lives and dignity and to join the workforce. A core challenge for many low-risk offenders after prison is economic sustainability and self-sufficiency, and so regaining financial stability is critical for parents--children's first mentors.
Designed by a team of devoted subject-matter experts, U4P creates a safe and restorative place for parents struggling along the margins. They are unemployed and low-wage earners who want to advance their lives. The U4P curriculum creates a safe space and support without shame or blame, for the parents to reflect and see how their choices and societal forces have shaped their lives. The training is anchored in the community with 40-plus partnering organizations that offer workforce-readiness training and case management without charge to our parent-learners. CARES trained psychologists and social workers deliver our wellness curriculum which unearths the optimism, hope, and courage needed to become critical thinkers making healthy choices.
Extreme poverty is defined by the federal government as yearly household income of $12,129 or less for a family of four with two related children. Three-quarters of our parent group has an annual family income of $10,000 or less. Our training is designed to heal the multiple traumas that are the cause and effects of poverty: a centuries-long history of unfair policies impacting African Americans, joblessness, homelessness, hunger, and living in the midst of unrelenting violence. These elements lead to debilitating traumas, which cause mental and physical illness. They easily cause the vulnerable to lose hope and make life-limiting choices. Today, nearly half (45.8%) of all Black children under the age of six suffer in dream-crushing poverty. It's stunning that one in five children in the U.S. is living with hunger.
This partnership with the Solicitor General returns vulnerable parents to a path of earning family-supporting wages. With dedicated community partners, we provide our parent-learners with the work-readiness training essential for their development as leaders of their families and community. We help parents return to their resilience and acknowledge that they are needed by our community as they exemplify the African-American audacity to endure. This collaboration is a critical link that supports anti-recidivism, directing adults instead to our University for Parents.
The U4P is being designed for replication throughout the nation through our local CARES affiliates in 58 U.S. cities. Morehouse School of Medicine's Satcher Health Institute's Smart and Secure Children Program serves as our lead partner and conducted the research needed to serve parent-learners well. Along with them, educator Brenda Coleman, our Executive Director of Atlanta CARES, is changing lives. Click below to see parent testimonials from two of our parent-learners.
YOUNGSTERS LEARNING WONDERS OF SCIENCE
WITH CON EDISON ‘STEM’ GRANTS
NEW YORK - Con Edison has kicked off the third year for two programs to stimulate interest among thousands of middle school children in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM subjects.
The programs have been so successful they have been expanded.
The first program, Con Edison STEM Days Out, provides $25,000 grants to cultural institutions in the five boroughs and Westchester County to conduct STEM lessons taught by educators at those institutions.
The number of cultural institutions teaching the lessons has expanded to 11.
- Wave Hill and the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx
- Brooklyn Children’s Museum
- Brooklyn Botanic Garden
- New York Aquarium, Brooklyn
- Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Manhattan
- American Museum of Natural History, Manhattan
- National Museum of Math, Manhattan
- New York Hall of Science, Queens
- Staten Island Makerspace
- Staten Island Museum
- Hudson River Museum, Westchester
“Students will see and touch exhibits, and learn from experts they would not ordinarily meet at school,” said Frances A. Resheske, Con Edison Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs. “This is a wonderful opportunity for students to broaden their perspectives by visiting these great centers of learning.”
STEM Days Out are held the first Wednesday of the month through May 2018. Title 1 public middle schools may apply to participate in the STEM Days Out. The cultural institutions will manage the selection process.
Con Edison’s ongoing support of STEM education continues with the second program. Con Edison’s STEM Classroom is a partnership with DonorsChoose.org. With this program, public middle school teachers throughout New York City can submit STEM proposals to DonorsChoose.org. When 50 percent of a project is funded through citizen donations, Con Edison will contribute the remaining 50 percent.
Con Edison provides more than $12 million in financial and in-kind contributions to students and nonprofits in New York City and Westchester that enhance STEM education. Funding includes support for scholarships to students majoring in STEM fields, as well as program support for summer internships and year-round programs benefitting underprivileged and minority students.
Con Edison is committed to improving the quality of life in the communities we serve. Hundreds of nonprofit organizations in our service area benefit from our funding, in-kind donations, volunteer efforts, and other strategic resources. For more information, visit conEd.com/partnerships.
Public Health Health Advocate Joins Medgar Evers College
Brooklyn, NY – Medgar Evers College is pleased to announce that Yvonne J. Graham, RN, MPH, has joined the College’s School of Professional and Community Development (SPCD) as the Director of Workforce Development and Adult & Continuing Education (WFDACE). She is charged with building a sustainable program of the training and support needed to recruit, retain and increase students’ workforce readiness, and provide them with career pathways to matriculate into a degree program at Medgar Evers College. Central to this mission is aligning the activities of WFD-ACE with the mission of the College, the President’s vision, various departments within the College, and New York City industry sectors for collective impact in meeting industry trends, and fueling students’ personal and professional development and economic stability. Graham will also engage in activities that will increase student enrollment, monitor student outcomes and create a revenue producing unit. She will be responsible for managing program activities and formulating program strategy.
Most recently, Graham served as Associate Commissioner with New York State Department of Health where she directed the Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Prevention. In this capacity she was responsible for working with State Health Department programs to advance policies and support programs and initiatives that promote high quality, accessible, patient-centered, and culturally and linguistically appropriate care for all New Yorkers. She was appointed to the position by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Prior to her role at the Health Department, Graham was the Deputy Borough President of Brooklyn, where for 10 years she served alongside Borough President Marty Markowitz on all issues pertinent to the borough, with the primary responsibility for health policy and all human services.
Graham graduated as a registered nurse from the University of the West Indies School of Nursing in her native Jamaica. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration and Community Health from St. Joseph’s College and a Master of Science in Public Health from Hunter College. Graham also completed the Executive Program in Business Administration at Columbia University’s School of Business and an Honorary Doctor of Law Degree was conferred on her by St. Joseph’s College.
CUNY Students Shine At Research Conference For Minority Students
Twenty students from seven CUNY campuses won honors for presentations of their original research at the American Society for Microbiology’s Annual Biological Research Conference for Minority Students. More than1,800 students presented their research and some 300 received awards for their oral or poster presentations to the 4,300 students who attended the event, which was held Nov. 1-4 in Phoenix.
“The breadth of undergraduate research at CUNY that was recognized at this national conference – from cancer biology to neuroscience to social and behavioral sciences and beyond – shows the vitality of CUNY’s efforts to engage minority students in fields where they have not traditionally been found,” said Chancellor James B. Milliken. “This is just one way that The City University of New York helps so many of our students follow their dreams and launch rewarding careers.” Irene Hulede, manager of student programs at the American Society for Microbiology, said the research and presentations build students’ confidence and help propel them “from one level to the next, with the next logical step being graduate school and a Ph.D. in the STEM fields” of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “They also attend professional development workshops, where we provide them with resources needed to be successful in graduate school. They talk with leaders in the field and receive a lot of mentoring and one-onone coaching.”
CUNY’s winners included seven from Hunter College, six from City College, two each from Brooklyn College and Queensborough Community College, and one each from John Jay College Community College and Medgar Evers College. There were five winners in cancer biology; three in cell biology; three in social and behavioral sciences and public health; two in neuroscience; and one each in chemistry, developmental biology and genetics, engineering, physics and mathematics, immunology, microbiology and physiology.
For City College senior Geneva Hidalgo, the conference meant an anxiety-laced 15 minutes of lecture and Q&A. “Last year I did a poster. This year I wanted the challenge of oral presentation,” she said. “You have to know your research really well and prepare for questions from people who don’t know anything about your research.”
Working with City College assistant psychology professor Sarah O’Neill, she analyzed parent- and teacher-provided data on children who have symptoms that typically develop in youngsters who are later diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); the data were collected by professor Jeffrey Halperin’s lab at Queens College. Hidalgo wanted to see whether the apparent link between ADHD and obesity in adolescents and adults held true for children. “Our study was the first to compare the body mass indexes of preschoolers at age 4 and at age 7,” she said. She found no significant association between body mass index and neuropsychological deficits, like processing speed and executive function (the mental skills that let you do things), but did note a significant association in preschoolers showing inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity.
Now in her third year in the National Institutes of Health-funded Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program, Hidalgo intends to seek a post-graduation National Institute of Mental Health fellowship before applying for a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.
Queensborough Community College spring 2017 graduate Rawlric Sumner won for a poster presentation in chemistry that demonstrated a way of optimizing a type of photovoltaic solar cell that is dyesensitized; his method uses ionic liquids with single-walled carbon nanotubes as electrolytes. He now studies chemistry at Queens College, with his eyes set on an eventual Ph.D.
Sumner credits his Queensborough mentors – professors Tirandai Hemraj- Benny and Sharon Lall-Ramnarine – as well as senior chemist James Wishart at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where he continued this research last summer. He said they guided him on “matters pertaining to academics, personal issues and even planning for my future. All of my current and future success can be attributed to the foundation established through my undergraduate research experience and the mentorship by these outstanding individuals. It has given me ambition and a strong work ethic while looking toward my future.”
At Medgar Evers College, junior Jaleel Shepherd, who immigrated from Guyana six years ago, was recognized for work in signaling pathways that enable cancer cells to survive. His poster described the three-dimensional structure of ACK (a protein kinase, or enzyme that modifies other proteins by chemically adding phosphate groups) and how he screened for specific cancer inhibitors and showed their effects on cancer cells.
Shepherd praised his two mentors at Medgar Evers – biology professors Alam Nur-E-Kamal and Ijaz Ahmed – and Raj Rajnaraynan, a pharmacology and toxicology professor at the University of Buffalo, where he conducted research last summer. He also insisted that credit is due to his lab mates, Ruth Opoku, Nadia Patterson and Vimal Arora, who contributed scholarship and support. He said Medgar Evers pushed him to think, to explore and to ask questions. “I’m interested in the underlying specifics of diseases. I’d like to find cures and not just for cancer. Ever since I was young I’ve wanted to understand how things work, for the purpose of helping others.”