New York Jets Commit $160,000 to Breakthrough New York for its Work to Provide Educational Support to Low-Income Students

Donation is part of Jets’ new $800,000 commitment to combatting social inequality

(New York, N.Y.) – The New York Jets announced that the team is committing $160,000 each to Breakthrough New York (BTNY) and four other social justice organizations that aim to combat social inequality and reduce barriers to opportunity.

BTNY is a nonprofit organization that transforms the lives of talented students from low-income backgrounds with comprehensive support from middle school through college and into careers, including summer and afterschool academic programming, mentoring, test prep, and high school and college application guidance. The organization strives to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities.

“We are honored to receive this generous donation from the New York Jets players and ownership, along with the NFL Foundation, and we applaud their commitment to combatting social inequality,” said BTNY Executive Director Beth Onofry. “Breakthrough New York is lucky to work with some of the most inspiring and dedicated students in New York City, and we are proud that their hard work is being recognized and supported by the Jets.”

BTNY boasts a stellar track record of preparing students for college. In 2018, all of the program’s rising 9th grade students matriculated to college prep high schools and 100% of its graduating seniors matriculated to four-year colleges. With three program sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, BTNY draws students from across New York City.

The organization was founded as Summerbridge at The Town School in 1999 and has since expanded in size and scope, now serving 629 students and providing a full 10 years of support for every student it serves.

The New York Jets leadership committee was formed in 2017 and includes players Kelvin Beachum, Ben Ijalana, Steve McClendon and Josh McCown. In addition to BTNY, the committee selected the The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, JustLeadershipUSA, The Legal Aid Society’s Decarceration Project, and The New York Foundling to receive a $160,000 grant, for a total investment of $800,000. Each organization focuses on education, community and police relations, criminal justice reform or other initiatives including reducing poverty, racial equality, and workforce development.

“Inadequate access to resources for education, poverty reduction or racial equality has effected every member of our locker room,” said Kelvin Beachum. “From the communities we came from, to the one we now call home–it is abundantly clear that these organizations are not only needed but are causing direct change in the fight against social inequality.”

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York (BTNY) transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. BTNY also inspires talented young people to enter careers in education through its students-teaching-students model. The organization’s goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. Learn more at www.btny.org. Follow BTNY on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

BTNY Students excel, despite the devastating effects poverty can have on educational outcomes

computer-concentration-desk-1251863.jpg

More than ever, young people need the kind of programming we provide

Breakthrough New York students closely mirror the New York City public school population as a whole socioeconomically, with 79 percent of our students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch. Yet, despite the poverty-related challenges the students face, BTNY students excel.

The number of students living in poverty in New York City public schools is growing.

The latest Department of Education data shows city schools currently enroll 39,000 more poor students than last year, and a whopping 74 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-priced lunch, a common measure of poverty levels.

One of many reasons this news is alarming is that poverty can have devastating effects on educational outcomes. According to the US Department of Education, by the end of the 4th grade, low-income students are already two years behind grade level. By the time they reach the 12th grade, they are four years behind. And, students from low-income families are five times more likely to drop out than those from families with higher incomes.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Breakthrough New York students closely mirror the New York City public school population as a whole socioeconomically, with 79 percent of our students qualifying for free or reduced-priced lunch. Yet, despite the poverty-related challenges the students face, BTNY students excel.

After our middle school summer sessions, students demonstrate up to a semester of academic growth in math and reading. In 2018, 100% of our rising 9th grade students enrolled in a high-performing high school, and 100% of our graduating high school seniors matriculated to a four-year college.

We’re able to help our students succeed by providing them with support—including rigorous academic support, test prep, and high school and college admissions guidance—that are too often only available to affluent families who attend schools with a lot of resources.

With so many New York City students living in poverty, more young people than ever need the kind of programming that we provide. By donating to Breakthrough New York, you will help us address this growing need and create more leaders who will break the cycle of poverty in their families.

Thank you for your continued support of our students!

Breakthrough New York Begins 20th Year of Supporting Talented Students from Low-Income Backgrounds

News Release

(New York, N.Y.) – Breakthrough New York (BTNY), the 10-year college success program that transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers, begins its 20th program year this month.

This year BTNY is serving 557 students, from 7th graders who began the program in July with an intensive summer academic session, to college seniors in their tenth and final year of the program.

“We are thrilled to be entering our 20th year of supporting talented students to and through college and into careers,” says BTNY Executive Director Beth Onofry. “The inspiring young people who participate in the BTNY program help to bring positive change to their own lives, their families and their communities through their hard work and success.”

After school on Mondays and Wednesdays throughout the 2018-2019 academic year, BTNY’s 168 7th- and 8th-graders will travel to one of the organization’s three program sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or the Bronx for tutoring, mentorship, test prep, and high school admissions guidance. On average BTNY middle school students attend 300 hours of programming per year after school and during the summer.

Meanwhile, the program’s high school students will attend six daylong BTNY skill- and knowledge-building sessions to help them overcome academic and social challenges that students from low-income backgrounds often face. Topics will include college applications and essays, financial aid, internship preparation, and adjusting to college life.

BTNY boasts a stellar track record for preparing students for college. In 2018, 100% of the program’s rising 9th grade students enrolled in a high-performing public or private high school, and 100% of its graduating high school seniors matriculated to a four-year college. As a result, the program is more popular than ever, with more than 300 6th  graders vying for only 86 seats in this year’s new class. 

Additional program services for middle and high school students include standardized test preparation, academic counseling, service learning, interview coaching, and organized college visits. Upon entry into a four-year college, BTNY students continue to receive holistic support in the form of internship and career guidance, help navigating the financial aid process, and social and emotional support.

Breakthrough New York serves students who have demonstrated academic performance and motivation, but lack opportunity to reach their full potential. Seventy-nine percent qualify for federal free or reduced lunch, and 74% are the first in their families to go to college.

BTNY was founded in 1999 at the Town School on the Upper East Side, beginning on a small scale as a program called Summerbridge. BTNY has expanded over the years, opening a second site in Brooklyn in 2012 and a third site in the South Bronx in 2015. In 2014, it expanded to a ten- year commitment, helping students from the day after they finish 6th grade through college graduation.

About Breakthrough New York

Breakthrough New York (BTNY) transforms the lives of talented kids from low-income backgrounds by providing educational support from middle school through college and into careers. BTNY also inspires talented young people to enter careers in education through its students-teaching-students model. The organization’s goal is to create leaders who break the cycle of poverty in their families and effect positive change in their communities. Learn more at www.btny.org. Follow BTNY on social media: Facebook – Instagram – Twitter @BreakthroughNY

 

# # #

The One Year Anniversary of Charlottesville, VA Hate Rally

Devaughn Fowlkes,     College and Career Success Director, reflects on the one year anniversary of events in Charlottesville.

Devaughn Fowlkes, College and Career Success Director, reflects on the one year anniversary of events in Charlottesville.

Last Friday evening our newest class of incoming college freshmen gathered one last time before starting their fall semester. They were eager to learn key information and hear advice on navigating and succeeding in college. Our students shared their hopes, goals, fears, and questions for the road ahead while providing each other with encouragement and affirmation that they are well prepared for the journey.

After the workshop, I could not avoid thinking then how in just a few hours people would be gathering in our nation’s capital to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Charlottesville, Virginia hate rallies that claimed the life of a counter-protestor. At this time last year, two of our own Breakthrough New York college freshmen were arriving on the University of Virginia campus where some of the hate rallies occurred. Thankfully both students are safe and received support from faculty on campus.  

A year later, we’re now preparing to send another class of students into new environments where it is possible they may face similar bigotry and fear for their safety.

This is unacceptable.

College, in fact school as a whole, is a time of exploration, critical thinking, self-discovery, and preparation for become a contributing member of society. It is during this time when students develop new ideas and challenge previously held views and beliefs. What took place last year in Charlottesville does not reflect the ideals and values our Breakthrough family lives by. Hate rallies should have no place in our society, let alone transpire in the same environments where our young leaders are developing and growing.  

Our hope is that we, as a society, learn from our past mistakes and commit to gaining understanding from our differences while embracing our similarities.

At Breakthrough New York we value the richness of diversity and do not tolerate the hate or injustice embodied by the Charlottesville rally and others like it. We work to create a nurturing environment that cultivates our students’ talents. Together with their families’ support, we strive to create an environment of safety and care for all our students.

As we transition another class of students from middle school to high school, high school to college, and college to career, our vision of an equitable future holds true and propels us forward.

Breakthrough New York Statement on the Family Separations at the Border

Dear Breakthrough New York Family,

Our tight-knit Breakthrough community has been heartbroken by the crisis at our southern border. Separating families who are seeking safety and opportunity is unconscionable, and signing an Executive Order to end family separation will not undo trauma or reunite the thousands of families who have already been affected. Putting families in detention indefinitely is not the answer.  
 
This country was founded by immigrants who came looking for a better future for themselves and their families. Our society has always benefited from the contributions of immigrants, and denying people basic human decency at the border undermines this American truth. What does this crisis say about who we are as a country? We must show our children we can be better.
 
At Breakthrough, we take pride in our diverse and vibrant community of families, young people, staff, and supporters. Many of our families are immigrants and our students are first-generation college students; all deserve the opportunity to achieve their dreams. We know first-hand that every child can contribute positively to our society, especially if given the right opportunities and resources. The impact of investing in and enriching our children pays dividends and reverberates throughout the larger community, and we are privileged to see our students transform into thoughtful, passionate, and driven adults.
 
We want our Breakthrough community to know we are committed to creating a welcoming environment, we believe in the value of your contributions and know that it is because of you that our organization has achieved so much. We will continue to provide space for everyone's voice to be heard. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any concerns, ideas, or questions. As always, we are here for you.

Sincerely,

Olivia Nunez
Chief Program Officer