As August rolls by and September looms, many members of our community and their loved ones are preparing for a new school year. There is something about a new school year that screams hope and possibility, and we are excited to share a few stories about learners of all ages. There is no single journey to learning, as we all absorb knowledge differently, and we all face unique challenges and learning curves. The stories we have to offer this month are examples of these distinct learning experiences.
Learning to Give Back
We are excited to announce that NMIC is launching a back-to-school supply drive for families impacted by domestic violence. Frequently, survivors of domestic violence flee abusive relationships with their children with little or nothing but the clothes on their backs. NMIC’s Domestic Violence Project aims to support survivors of intimate partner violence, and we hope that our back-to-school supply drive will provide a sense of normalcy and help their children succeed in school.
Our back-to-school supply drive is being driven by NMIC’s Advisory Board, a group of committed volunteers with roots in the neighborhood. They will come together to set up a free store at our office so that families can take the supplies they need for the upcoming school year.
Supplies can be purchased from our Amazon wish list, dropped off at 45 Wadsworth Avenue, New York, NY 10033 Monday-Thursday from 8 AM– 7 PM and Friday from 8 AM– 2 PM, or you can make a monetary donation on our website.
We are accepting donations through August 19th, 2022.
Learning as a First Generation College Student
Graduating as a first-generation college student is a particularly important achievement. Despite the excitement of being an academic trailblazer, the dream of graduating as a first-generation student is often beset by various challenges. Students enter their schools with limited knowledge about how higher education works and can sometimes feel isolated because of the elitism of many colleges and universities. To successfully graduate despite these hurdles and challenges is an awe-inspiring triumph. NMIC’s Operations Assistant, Joanel Sassone, recently graduated from City College as a first-generation college student.
“Since an early age, I have felt that I was given the mission to change the direction of my family. For this reason, I chose to pursue higher education. I perceive college as a tool of social mobility and a portal of opportunities. As a first-generation college student one of my biggest challenges was overcoming the imposter syndrome. I did not feel worthy of being present in a college setting because I could not articulate myself as well as the other students nor was, I equipped with their advanced vocabulary. I also had to devote time to work to contribute to my family financially. When I graduated, I felt like I broke through a barrier. Despite the emotional and mental toll of navigating a new experience, I became the first person in my family to obtain a bachelor’s degree,” Joanel Sassone said.
Sassone, in light of his recent accomplishment, also gave us a word of advice to those who are interested in becoming the first in their families to graduate from university, “To young adults interested in pursuing higher education, especially from low-income communities, I would say, never underestimate your potential no matter where you come from.”
To those interested in pursuing Education & Career Services at NMIC, please click here. NMIC’s Education & Career Services combine real-world skills with high-quality classes.
Learning Through Your Journey
When Victor* came to NMIC in his early 70s, he aspired to find peace, stability, and security in his life, but he had a tough journey ahead of him. He was ready to leave the abusive relationship that he was in, but he did not have secure housing and had several health problems. As an undocumented person, Victor did not qualify for public benefits, which made it difficult to find security in his health and wellbeing.
He has done a lot to improve his life. He received counseling to cope with the trauma he endured, he filed for a U-Visa petition, received a work permit and a social security card, explored his housing options as an undocumented senior citizen, and more. Victor had to go above and beyond to find his peace, stability, and security, and it took over a decade. Once he was linked to health insurance benefits, he became an empowered advocate for his health and a model patient. In between couch surfing in exchange for light construction work and attending senior centers for most of his meals, he never gave up hope of having a place to call home.
It took over a decade, but Victor is finally in stable health and has a new apartment to call his home. With time, healing, and access to resources and consistent support, Victor has become more resilient despite the many stressors in his life and has finally found security and stability in his housing and his health. Last March, Victor turned 82 years old and celebrated with NMIC staff at his new apartment. NMIC recognizes that healing is not linear, and community members need sustained connection and support to overcome entrenched barriers and injustices.
Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Holistic Services.
*Client’s name has been changed.
Learning through Nontraditional Pathways
We are frequently spoon-fed the linear vision of college and higher education in general, but this is not the reality for many members of our community. 40% of college students are 25 years old or older—well out of high school—and many have children of their own, full-time jobs, or both. Adults who wish to pursue higher education frequently are on their own in trying to figure out how to get back to college because there really is not a formal system in place to help them make decisions. The Education & Career Services we offer aim to support students of all ages and learning levels to build the knowledge and skills they need to transition into college, advanced training, or careers.
Salomon, a former student from NMIC’s General Education Diploma program (GRE), has proven that academic successes occur at all stages of life. As a previous star student in our adult education programming, NMIC honored his hard work at our 2019 benefit. We are now delighted to announce that he is on his way to pursuing higher education at Bronx Community College.
Salomon, we wish you great success at Bronx Community College and in all your future endeavors. You have an entire team of people rooting for your success.
Click here to learn more about NMIC’s Education & Career Services.
NMIC in the News
- The New York State Bar Association recently launched a task force to examine historically unequal treatment of the citizens of the U.S. Territories. Among members of the task force is NMIC’s Rodrigo Sanchez-Camus, Director of Legal, Organizing, & Advocacy Services. Click here to read more.
- Manhattan Times News recently featured NMIC in an article that highlighted our current back-to-school supplies drive to aid families impacted by domestic violence. “The purpose of this campaign is to alleviate a little bit of the emotional and financial stress many of our families are facing,” Rosanna Montilla-Payano, Director of Development. Click here to read more.
- August 3rd, Black Women’s Equal Pay Day
- August 12th, International Youth Day
- August 17th, National Nonprofit Day
- August 19th, World Humanitarian Day