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Visit with Congressman Adriano Espaillat

On May 3rd, the Mission Society was honored to host Congressman Adriano Espaillat at Harlem Renaissance High School, and join our Level Up students as they celebrated college decision day. During the visit, Representative Espaillat had the opportunity to see our program in action and speak directly with students about their next steps post-graduation. We also had the chance to reflect on our hopes for the city, and why programs like Level Up are integral to establishing a more equitable future.

When we arrived at the school, students were in the midst of creating pennants for their colleges-of-choice and sharing their career ambitions. Representative Espaillat offered them advice, affirming each young person in the room as he told them that their determination and compassion will lead them to success. He spoke candidly about lessons he learned from his experiences growing up, and how it led him to his current career in politics. In a one-on-one interview with Alex, a student in the program, the Congressman encouraged all young people to engage with the issues that matter most to them and find projects where they can ignite change.

The Congressman and the Mission Society team took a moment to connect over the pivotal work we do in schools, and how it benefits communities across the city. During a day when students were celebrating their dreams for the next phase in their lives, we were reminded of the value of offering programs dedicated to academic and social emotional development. We understand that supporting education for all is one of the most powerful ways that we can break down economic barriers, and ensure that no young person is prevented from accomplishing their most meaningful goals.

Representative Espaillat has played a crucial role in advocating for these programs, helping the Mission Society secure a recent federal earmark which will provide Level Up with $1.1 million. This kind of tangible support from our representatives means that more students will benefit from our development programs, receiving career and college counseling, mental health support, internship offerings, volunteer opportunities, and more. The day offered us all an opportunity to celebrate this momentous achievement, and to uplift the hard work, resilience, and heart of our students and educators.

We are so grateful to the Congressman and his team, as well as to the staff and students of Harlem Renaissance High School, for making the visit memorable. Thank you to our student interviewer, Alex, and to Lorraine Mignotte and Jaslyn Rojas for organizing the event. To read more about the federal earmark and our work with Representative Espaillat, you can visit our blog, or head to the Mission Society website to learn about our Level Up programs.

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