fordham university

Principal Production

New York

Mentoring program pairs Latina students and strong role models

Mairelys Alberto, Pilar Larancuent, and Ana Banegas address a group of Latina students at a Mentoring Latinas panel discussion on Wednesday. As a young adult watching Univision in the Bronx, Ana Banegas — now a Fordham University graduate student — was galvanized by the "Orgullo Hispano" campaign. Banegas, who immigrated from Honduras when she was eight years old, told her mother that one day she would be worthy of Orgullo Hispano, or Hispanic Pride. Now, as a mentor through Fordham's Mentoring Latinas program, Banegas can pass that vision to city students who are not so different from herself at their age. Mentoring Latinas, founded in 2003, pays college students to build relationships with Latina girls in the Bronx, with the goal of empowering the young women and encouraging them to aim higher in school. In the last year, the city launched an initiative to help young Latino men find employment and perform better in school. Girls, who typically do better in school and are less likely to run into trouble with the law, aren't part of the initiative. But Latina girls need a helping hand, too. Mentoring Latinas cites statistics about Latinas' high birth rate — more than half of Latinas have at least one child before age 20 — and high rate of attempted suicide to explain why young women need positive role models and receptive ears. The mentors and mentees typically pair off on Wednesday afternoons, spending time bonding while walking through campus talking about their lives and futures. This week, they came together in a bright room on Fordham’s Rose Hill campus for a panel discussion featuring Banegas; Mairelys Alberto, the outreach programs coordinator at El Museo del Barrio; and Pilar Larancuent, a youth development coordinator at Graham Windham. The trio spoke to girls who attend Belmont Preparatory High School and M.S. 45 Thomas C. Giordano, their Fordham mentors, and Mentoring Latina sponsors — including representatives of AT&T, which partly funds the initiative through Aspire Grants.
New York

Pro-mayoral control lobbying group adds new members

Community groups from Crown Heights, East Harlem, and the Ridgewood section of Queens are the latest to sign on with Learn NY, the group lobbying to preserve mayoral control. The law that created mayoral control is set to expire at the end of June, and state legislators are currently grappling with whether to preserve, eliminate, or alter the school governance system. Learn NY is trying to amass a coalition to show legislators that many New Yorkers are happy with mayoral control as it currently exists.  Yesterday the group announced that the coalition now has 40 members, up from just over 30 a month ago. The new additions range in size from a single person, in the case of Demetrius Carolina, pastor of Staten Island's First Central Baptist Church, to all of Fordham University. One of the organizations added to the list yesterday also runs one of the nine support networks that principals can hire to provide training for teachers. Fordham University's network currently works with 10 schools. Other coalition members, including Urban Assembly, Ghetto Film School, and the Young Women's Leadership Network, are lead partners for DOE schools created during Mayor Bloomberg's administration. In the past, Bloomberg has been criticized for citing as backers organizations to which he or the city gives financial support. Learn NY has solicited backers in a "grassroots" fashion since launching late last year, by reaching out to community groups and trying to sell them on Learn NY's platform, spokeswoman Julie Wood told me.