Each year, all of us at the Mission Society of New York City are excited to guide the young people in our Learning to Work (LTW) program through the college and career planning process. We explore a vast array of professional pathways with over 2,000 of the City’s most vulnerable public high school students, while also providing critical support as they work towards graduation. Mission not only prepares students for college and the workforce, we also inspire the discovery of new passions and possibilities for the future.
There is no greater example of this than our students from ELLIS Preparatory Academy, one of our LTW partner schools, who recently undertook an ambitious urban planning project.
Under the mentorship of the American Planning Association (APA) and Nate Heffron, ELLIS students evaluated the transportation needs of their Bronx community through in-depth research, surveys, personal observations, and speaking with transportation experts. After analyzing their data, the student planners proposed the expansion of the BX9 bus route. Their hard work was recognized with an invitation from the APA’s Diversity Committee to join the 2019 Hindsight Conference on equity in urban planning. Students displayed their written report, poster presentation, and 3D community model to share their findings with conference attendees, and demonstrated the positive impact and additional access a select BX9 bus could provide for commuters.
The Mission Society’s Learning to Work Program Director at ELLIS, Jonathan Pinque, believed that the invitation to participate in the conference was a true honor for the students. Over the course of the project, he saw their confidence increase and their communication skills improve. He was thrilled to see the culmination of their efforts – the pride of the students as they interacted with conference attendees and shared their work, their new-found passion for architecture and urban planning, and their ability to network with professionals regarding their own college and career goals.
This incredible, one-of-a-kind project would not have been possible without the APA and the Diversity Committee, as well as Nate Heffron, Maciel Lantigua, Jackson Chabot, Jessica Joanna Cruz, and Nicole Payne. We were so happy to watch our students shine at the Hindsight Conference, and are looking forward to their bright futures in urban planning.