As one of the fastest growing demographics in the U.S., Latino youth will play a very important role in shaping our city, and our country in the very near future.
Right now, in neighborhoods all across New York City, children are growing up in poverty. Due to a lack of exposure to high quality books, early reading, and structured pre-schools, kids from low-income homes may enroll in kindergarten as much as 1 to 1.5 years behind. For Latino students, there is an added layer of complexity as they begin their language acquisition learning in two languages, Spanish and English. Studies show that those who do not catch up in ELA by the 4th grade may never perform on par with their middle-class peers.
These are some of our most vulnerable, kids and teens in danger of slipping into a pipeline that entrenches them in generational poverty. Students not achieving in school early on are far more likely to drop out, use drugs, suffer from unemployment, or experience a teen pregnancy they cannot support. For some, the final stop is prison. The number of young Latino men without high school degrees is staggering. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Studies have shown that students who do not catch up by the fourth grade have little chance of achieving on pace with their middle-class peers.
Thanks to you, Exodus students will become the first in their family to graduate high school, attend college, and pursue a profession they are passionate about. Our goal is young adults who become financially secure, community minded and leaders full of hope for the future.
Ours are “safe spaces” where children can come and be themselves, while learning and growing academically, socially and emotionally. Washington Heights families can apply for after-school care that includes literacy and math instruction, and arts and enrichment opportunities. Additional offerings might include hip hop dance, science, theater arts, or visual arts. We also offer faith-based mentoring in a club like atmosphere, all free, or highly subsidized. Caring Christian mentors host field trips, small group discussions, and other fun activities.
Many children feel discouraged if they are behind in school. We invest deeply in those youth who are struggling to catch up, by inspiring and empowering them to achieve. Our goal is to enroll children in Kindergarten, with the earliest support possible. Exodus works to support the growth of English literacy and numeracy skills in the very young, up through the 3rd grade. Then throughout their remaining years we guide them into becoming inspired readers and writers.
Enrichment and arts opportunities build self-esteem. As we help students identify and cultivate special interests and gifts, we see increased motivation and perseverance with schoolwork. Arts and enrichment also expands a child’s knowledge base in general, and fosters critical thinking and problem solving skills.
In our mentoring programs, caring adults help students grow in confidence and faith. Mentoring time is focused on building traits such as perseverance, optimism, and self-management−all known to improve academic outcomes and help young adults make better life choices.
Exodus is also a lifeline for parents. Through monthly workshops and a strong network of community partners, Exodus helps parents learn how to navigate the complex New York City school system and become true champions and advocates of their child’s academic progress.
Our ultimate goal is an 8th grade student, poised and ready for a rigorous college prep highs school. Exodus students emerge as independent, optimistic learners, who are on track to pursue college and a meaningful career.
Thanks to the hard work and willing hearts of a dedicated team of volunteer mentors and supporters like you, we provide healing and hope to hundreds of students every year. Your gifts make it possible to surround every student with a caring team of adults, all committed helping them succeed in school and beyond.
If you would like to move from inspiration to action check out the opportunities below. With your help, the dream of graduating high school, attending college and discovering the life that God intended, can come true for someone special.