On September 11th Operation Exodus Inner City welcomed many new and returning faces for the start of the fall semester! After a successful summer, we were all eager to begin our Afterschool Achievement program. After the first few weeks, we are excited to see the early successes and dedicated to tackling the challenges ahead.
Here’s what families are already saying about Operation Exodus Inner City:
“I appreciate how you teach and love our children. I love how you teach them about God and how much God loves them. I hope the program gets more funding so you can help more people.” Maria, mom of a 4th and a 6th grader.
“I appreciate that you always look for ways that my children improve every day and that you include the parents in the process. I like that you inform us about the changes and development of the children.” Rosanna, mom of 5th-grade twins.
“I appreciate that you have an excellent program and that the tutors work so well with the children. I hope my children grow to be volunteers at Operation Exodus Inner City.” Galo, dad of a 1st and a 6th grader.
Welcoming New Families:
Twenty new families have started at Exodus in September, with the incoming children ranging from Kindergarteners to fifth graders, and even a few middle schoolers on Saturdays. Even though most of our students are native New Yorkers, most of them are still English language learners. This year we only have four students who are Spanish speakers only and are already making great progress with us acquiring the new language.
As part of the enrollment process to the Exodus family, the Director of Parent Engagement, Tatiana Mahoney, does an interview, a home visit, and a review with each parent and child. The home visits allow us to know more about our students and their families, their skills, abilities, hopes, and dreams, and if they need additional assistance, particularly financial aid.
Operation Exodus Inner City Success Stories: Brian Arias
At Exodus, we believe that each student has the ability to become their best selves and has the opportunity to excel and rise above adversity. Brian Arias is one of our students who took these ideas and our resources and did such thing. He became Emerald Creek Capital 2017 Recipient of the Emerald Creek Scholarship. He will be awarded $10,000 toward his college tuition at the State University of New York at Buffalo. We congratulate him and know he’ll go far!
“Exodus has been my right hand throughout the years,” said Elizabeth, Brian’s mom. “I first asked for help because I could not help my child with his homework. I did not know how to speak English back then. What I could not foresee, is that bringing my child to the program, following their advice and attending the workshops and events, would turn into the many blessings I have received.
Brian graduated as a valedictorian and (like my other son who attended Exodus) he knows about God. My children are humble and I thank Exodus for that.”
Welcoming New Operation Exodus Inner City Staff:
Including new families, new staff started at Operation Exodus Inner City in September – Yakim Binyamin and Julissa Calderon who graciously accepted to lead our Middle School and High School programs. Yakim is our new Middle School Director and Julissa is our new College Access Coordinator. They are overjoyed to start working and making an impact on our middle school and high school students. Our students are already partaking in various activities such as fairs, cooking classes, YLF, and workshops. We cannot wait to see what the school year brings.
Yakim is a native New Yorker, born and raised in the south Bronx. He has a background in theatre and the arts and his passion are to use them for the glory of God. His goal is to give a voice to those needing a creative outlet of expression. Yakim is currently a graduate student at NYU studying Drama Therapy and hopes to give back his community through faith and the arts.
“I am excited to join the O.E team because I look forward to making an impact in the lives of these students for Christ!” – Yakim Binyamin
Julissa is from the Dominican Republic-born in Brooklyn, New York. She has worked with minorities in underserved communities for more than 5 years starting with being a volunteer assistant principal in Washington Irving HS. From there it has led her to become one of program director of one of the 21st CCLC funded after-school programs. Julissa has a passion for social justice and leadership and hopes to be guided by her faith in God through every journey she encounters.
“Low income does not mean unmotivated. Given the challenges of the Latino community, I strongly believe that together we can achieve the Operation Exodus Inner City mission” – Julissa Calderon.