2020 IMPACT REPORT
Each year, the Mission Society’s students, parents, and educators reaffirm that there is unyielding hope and possibility around every corner. With creativity, dedication, and heart, they pen the stories of a better tomorrow, and show us the brighter futures we can build together.
That is why, when we set out to reflect on the last twelve months, our first thoughts were of the lessons we learned from the individuals that make our work possible.
From our students, we learned resiliency, watching as they developed new literacy and critical thinking skills, thrived in unique internships, and sparked important advocacy and service projects in their communities during a challenging time. Our educators taught us innovation, while they worked around the clock to adapt our programs to a virtual environment and shape exciting, new opportunities for young people across our city.
And unforgettably, when families were met with unprecedented hardship, they showed us the true meaning of compassion. Hundreds of individuals across New York came together to share vital resources with those who needed them most, and with their ongoing efforts, we hope no one will be left behind.
Though we are fortunate to have accomplished so much in 2020, we also faced unimaginable heartbreak. It would be easy to look back and feel discouraged and overwhelmed, but instead we choose to join our community in turning our grief into a powerful force of change.
The Mission Society is shaped by people who lead with courage, perform simple acts of kindness, and face challenges with unrelenting hope, and we are grateful for these lessons and their example as we enter a new year. Thank you for bringing your own creativity, dedication, and heart to our work, and for teaching us about who we are and who we can be every day.
With this in mind, we are excited to share the impact we’ve achieved together last year, and to see what new stories we write together in the days ahead.
Elsie McCabe Thompson
President & CEO
Matthew W. Mamak
Chair, Board of Directors
Public School #33
2424 Jerome Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10458
Public School #85
2400 Marion Avenue,
Bronx, NY 10468
Public School #175
175 West 134th Street,
NY, NY 10030
Public School #192
500 W 138th Street,
NY, NY 10031
Harlem Village Academy
244 W 144th Street,
NY, NY 10030
LEARNING TO WORK
Metropolitan Diploma Plus High School
985 Rockaway Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11212
Bronx Community High School
1980 Lafayette Avenue, Bronx, NY 10473
Harlem Renaissance High School
22 East 128th Street, New York, NY 10035
Brooklyn Democracy Academy
985 Rockaway Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11212
Emma Lazarus High School
100 Hester Street, New York, NY 10002
Washington Irving Young Adult Borough Center (YABC)
225 West 24th Street, Room 1027, New York, NY 10001
English Language Learners International
Support Preparatory Academy (ELLIS)
99 Terrace View Ave, The Bronx, NY 10463
BUILDING BRIGHTER FUTURES
“I’m excited to be part of an organization that recognizes students are smart, insightful, and have big dreams, and that we help them achieve those dreams.”
– Nanda Prabhakar, Senior Vice President of Program Operations
LEARNING TO WORK
Each year, the Mission Society's Learning to Work program addresses the education opportunity gap experienced in under-resourced communities - alleviating barriers to high school graduation, attending college, and finding employment. In 2019-20, we served nearly 1,900 over-age and under credited students across seven transfer public high schools in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx.
318 Mission Society students joined our paid internship program, earning a total of $983,379 as they worked alongside professionals in their fields of interest.
We provided 1,900 mentorship hours, as well as career development opportunities - like one-of-a-kind tours - to give students insight into the variety of professions within their reach post-graduation.
Our team of educators offered 3,100 hours of college counseling, and created vital resources to assist students on their college application journeys.
Over 1,400 elementary and middle school students participated in Power Academy, our afterschool and summer academic enrichment program. In five schools across Manhattan and the Bronx, we created and provided interactive curricula to help young people develop valuable literacy, STEAM, and social and emotional learning skills for the classroom and beyond.
Through the interactive literacy learning activities of LitUp! and Pages to Stages, 92% of our students indicated that they became stronger readers over the course of the year.
Students participated in over 66,300 hours of arts programming that increased confidence, boosted communication skills, and sparked imaginations.
15,000 hours of STEM education were provided through our Innovation Station program, fostering young engineers and cultivating a passion for these increasingly important subjects.
Brooklyn Democracy Academy - a transfer school for over-age, under-credited students - joined the Mission Society family last year. Through the newly established Learning to Work site, we facilitated comprehensive academic and career development programs for over 200 students.
“I believe that everyone is capable of doing whatever they want to do. My guiding principle is ‘how can I make this better?'”
– Carmen Rosario,
Program Director, PS 192
CELEBRATING OUTSTANDING EDUCATORS
Mission Society educator, Carmen Rosario, was given a 2020 PASEsetter Award on February 25 in recognition of her hard work over the past 15 years - furthering the field of afterschool programming; encouraging the academic, social-emotional, and creative development of her students; and serving as a role-model for our community.
Under the mentorship of the American Planning Association (APA) and Nate Heffron, ELLIS students shared their proposal for the expansion of the BX9 bus route with urban planning professionals throughout the year. At the end of 2020, the project was one of six to receive the William H. Whyte Award for Creativity and Ingenuity in the field of planning from the New York Metro Chapter of the APA.
Photo by Paul Bruinooge of Patrick McMullen and Getty Images
In 2019, the Mission Society hosted our annual Fall Harvest Feast and Winter Celebration. Each event was an opportunity to show our gratitude to our community, sharing food and fun with our students, parents, staff, and neighbors in Harlem. At the Fall Harvest Feast, volunteers served over 400 individuals, and distributed 156 turkeys to local families. At our yearly Winter Celebration, 70 guests enjoyed games, food, music, and a festive photo booth.
BEYOND THE CLASSROOM
GIVING THE GIFT OF IMAGINATION
Many of the young people that come through our doors are unable to build their own home libraries, which can be a crucial for developing literacy skills and kicking off a learning journey. With the help of inspiring partners and community members, we gave the gift of imagination, donating over 4,000 books to students across the city.
PROTECTING STUDENT WELL-BEING
Each year, we prioritize the social and emotional health of our community and demonstrate to every student that they are not alone. In 2019-20, our licensed social workers offered over 2,550 hours of counseling, and created resources to show students how to navigate self-care and manage stress during an unprecedented year.
SERVING THE COMMUNITY
Our educators worked alongside 370 students on community service projects throughout the city. Projects included mentoring youth, advocacy work, volunteering at food kitchens, participating in park clean ups, delivering meals to individuals in need, and more.
RESPONDING TO COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis had a profound impact on the Mission Society community - especially the 75% of families living below the poverty line that benefit from our programs. The onset of the pandemic required us to adapt, and ensure our offerings reflected the needs of each student and parent.
With the help of our community, we established an Emergency Relief Fund, that allowed us to provide 258 care packages of essential household items, 262 warm meals, and $64,300 in cash assistance to families in need.
DISTANCE LEARNING LIBRARY
Our educators and specialists launched a Distance Learning Library, with daily STEAM, literacy, and physical fitness activities for our K-8 students.
In partnership with Scholastic Inc., BOKS Kids, and Weeks Lerman, we facilitated a seven-week Summer LearnIN program, providing 750 students with new books, art supplies, workbooks, and a weekly newsletter filled with interactive learning opportunities.
Dedicated Mission Champions ensured that high school students received much-needed technology for remote learning at the onset of school closures.