I am privileged and humbled to be the new Executive Director of Read Alliance, an organization with a nearly two-decade track record of improving the educational trajectory of early elementary students in New York City - the city where I was born and raised, and where I have committed my career to community-based education initiatives that level the playing field for all children and youth.
Read Alliance’s proven ability to help elementary students grow their reading skills by a full year after just one program cycle is core to our mission, yet it is our dual impact approach that truly sets Read Alliance apart. Because the teenagers in our program not only provide critical tutoring but also serve as role models for our younger students, we have changed how we refer to our teens to more accurately reflect their dynamic role in our dual impact programming: READ tutors will now be called Teen Leaders. While tutoring their younger peers to improve foundational reading skills, our Teen Leaders gain critical professional and leadership skills that will provide them with a foundation for future success in college and beyond.
And so, our “secret sauce” is no longer a secret: the word is out and news is spreading. Our community empowerment program model has generated results for thousands of young children and youth across all five boroughs: early elementary students build important readings skills they need for academic success, and high school students in the same neighborhoods gain meaningful after school and summer employment as one-on-one tutors. Highlighting this unique aspect of our work will be our theme for this year, and we look forward to expanding our constituency to engage more partners, supporters and friends in these efforts going forward.
These first three months as Read Alliance’s Executive Director have been truly rewarding. Walking around a READ Program classroom and observing the bond between the children and the teens as they work hard on learning to read, seeing the spark in the children’s eyes when they start to “get it”, and the sense of pride the Teen Leaders feel knowing they were part of making that magic happen is the most powerful gift of all—and none of that would be possible without your support and partnership.
We look forward to seeing you throughout the school year, and we hope that you will save the date for our Annual Spring Benefit on May 8, 2019! Together we READ, LEAD, and SUCCEED!