We did it! Thanks to help from our donors, PIPs for School (P4S) Scholars is kicking off its second year with two more NYC-based Host Partners and nearly four times the number of Scholars. Our newest Host Partners, PRACTICE Benefit Corporation (PRACTICE) and Goddard Riverside’s Options Center (Options Center), join RIVER FUND NY, our flagship Host Partner, which launched its second community of Scholars in July.
When we paused earlier this summer to consider the value of the Scholars program to the students, I recalled something Swami Durga Das, RIVER FUND’S Executive Director, said when the students were just starting with PIPs: “P4S Scholars offers essential ‘guardrails’ to students whose lives often have none. When students are recognized for developing good habits, they come to connect those behaviors with success.”
Much like the RIVER FUND, the poverty fighting nonprofit based in Queens, our two new Host Partners are ideal collaborators in our commitment to helping low-income students access and persist in college while learning to be leaders in their communities.
Consider PRACTICE founder and CEO, Karim Abouelnaga. As explained in their website,
Karim was raised by a single mother on government aid in New York City where he attended some of the city’s most struggling public schools. He credits a series of nonprofits and mentors for helping him not just to be the first one in his family to attend college but to graduate in the top 10% of his class.
Karim started PRACTICE while in his dorm room at Cornell University. In his first semester at Cornell, he realized the significant difference in his K-12 experience compared to that of many of his friends on campus. He rallied a group of classmates to create an organization to level the playing field for low-income children. Karim was determined to change the inequities he experienced in the public schools he grew up in to ensure that a student’s zip code doesn’t determine their future. Central to PRACTICE’s mission is a belief in the power of public schools to build the next generation of urban-educated leaders.
P4S Scholars at PRACTICE are all trained student-tutors working in NYC’s public schools. Besides earning PIPs for completing the many actions common to all Scholars — including but not limited to recycling, taking public transit, walking, completing a shift at work, volunteering, and contributing to household expenses — the Scholars at PRACTICE will be recognized and rewarded for going above and beyond their duties as tutors. The PIPs they accrue will be converted into scholarship grants, up to $1,000 total over the course of one year. As funding allows, they can continue with the program for multiple years, as long as they are enrolled in school.
According to their website, Goddard Riverside’s history is deeply rooted in the settlement house movement:
Goddard Riverside was formed in 1959 when two historic settlement houses merged: Riverside Community House, founded in 1887, and Goddard Neighborhood Center, founded in 1892. The agency’s roots extend back to the beginning of the settlement house movement in the late 19th century. In 1884 the opening of the first settlement house, London’s Toynbee Hall, marked a watershed in the history of social services. It launched a new model of social work in which workers “settled” in poor urban areas to understand their needs firsthand and to develop neighborhood-based services that would help them make the changes they wanted in their lives.
The Options Center was developed to help low-income and first-generation students — who often face the largest barriers to accessing and completing college — get into, pay for, and graduate from college or skill-specific certificate programs. Options Center offers two programs to help students along this pathway: Access supports high school students and Success supports post-secondary students.
Options Center is hosting two communities of P4S Scholars, one made up of Access students, the other of Success students. Both communities have developed a unique set of earn opportunities that advance their goals. For Scholars in the Access community, for example, these are actions that will help them get into and pay for college, such as submitting a college application and attending college essay-writing workshops.
The PIPs Team is excited to be expanding its circle of Host Partners and quadrupling the number of students we can support. Looking toward the long term, we aim to generate sufficient support to be able to collaborate with dozens of Host Partners and help over a thousand P4S Scholars a year develop into citizen leaders. Your support will make all the difference. Thank you!
Wendy Gordon, President and Founder
PIPs Education Fund
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