One of the questions we get a lot at the Y is “What is the Educational Alliance?” The logo can be seen on our emails, posters, stationary and banners, and many times you’ll see it alongside the Y logo with your receipts (thank you very much for your purchase, by the way).
Briefly, in 1992, what was then known as the Emmanuel Midtown Y merged with the Educational Alliance, and reopened as the 14thStreet Y. The Educational Alliance is a Jewish agency with a rich history of service to the lower east side (click the link for more information. It’s quite outstanding!). The people that we serve are a little different in geography and means.
There is no question though, that however different our constituents are, they are still New Yorkers driven by basic needs. We all need friends, community, safe, warm places to raise our families and places for our children to thrive. As New Yorkers, we all share the need for our streets to be safe and crime free, for our youth to have places to become the best they can be. It can’t be stated too often…when we invest in our youth we invest in our future.
One of the Alliance’s signature innovative areas, its After School Programs, was hit particularly hard by massive government funding cuts this year. These programs serve kids who come from challenging home environments, who may have an incarcerated parent, who are in need. These kids live in housing projects and homeless shelters. They are some of the poorest children on the Lower East Side. But at The Educational Alliance’s After School Programs, these kids find a safe and supportive environment where they can spend each afternoon. They get academic support and experiences in sports and the arts. They build relationships with positive adult role models. Without after school programs, these at-risk youth will lose these opportunities to make their lives better. If government funding cuts force the closure of the Alliance’s programs, then these kids will be on the street after 3pm, at higher risk of dropping out of school, and at greater risk of committing or being the victims of crimes. They will not aspire to college and a better life for themselves and their families.
One After School program director tells the story of seeing a boy circling the school every day for hours. She spoke to him and learned that his sister was enrolled in a program at a nearby school and his parents worked, so they had told him to wait near the school until his sister was done at 6. Every day, circle after circle, he walked around the school, waiting, with nothing to do. It’s this image that gets me the most. I imagine so many kids like him with nothing to do, so many parents who will worry about their children who have no one to care for them and nowhere safe to go.
Because we are a part of the Alliance, but more importantly because we are part of New York City and the world, I wanted to ask you, our Members, Friends and Patrons, for your help. If you are able, please consider making a donation to the Educational Alliance by clicking here. You can also join the campaign to get city funding for these programs restored: Sign our petition to the mayor to save After School.
Post a reply and let me know your thoughts! At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.