Who We Serve
In order to better serve our youth and their families, Urban Dove operates with a central administrative office, Regional Program Offices (RPOs) and sites located in the South Bronx, East Harlem and in Brooklyn (September 2012). With close proximity between our Regional Program Offices and sites, Urban Dove has an even broader, positive impact because of our accessibility during the school day and our presence in the students’ communities.
Urban Dove has partnered with UACIS since the fall of 2008. In 2010, we opened our first Regional Program Office in the school. Urban Dove is now a part of the school’s culture and we are often seen as an asset when dealing with student issues. Urban Dove has both a school day and after school presence at the school.
We began our partnership with P.S. 29 in Fall 2009. When Urban Dove began programming at P.S. 29 there were no after school offerings in the school. Our presence was not only appreciated by the parents, but also by school administrators. We’ve yielded the same successful results among the students, parents and school administration at P.S. 31, which has been our school partner since 2010.
Coalition High School is our most recent high school partner and is within walking distance of our after school sites. Currently in our 10th year, East Harlem’s P.S. 57 is our oldest site partner. In addition to hosting our HiRisers after school program, we also ran our summer camp at P.S. 57 from 2003 to 2008. We began our partnership with P.S. 96 in the fall of 2005.
Re-engaging these “disconnected youth” is a difficult but necessary challenge, and one that requires creative, innovative solutions. Young people need a strong academic foundation, but many have had highly negative experiences in school. Urban Dove has learned that sports, defined here as the actual physical engagement in a sports activity, is one of the few activities that has the power to engage even the most disconnected youth. Urban Dove uses the power of sports to bring at-risk youth into a positive, educational, supportive environment so that they can learn the critical skills they need to be successful – in school and in life.
Recently, the New York City Department of Education has developed a series of Transfer High Schools for students who have fallen off track. Not any student can start at a transfer school; only students who are at least two years behind in their accumulation of credits toward graduation can enter them, and only once they have reached age 17. UD Team is different from these traditional transfer schools in its curriculum and population. Through our conversations with existing transfer schools and community-based GED programs, we have learned that there is a younger cohort of students, between the ages of 15 and 17, who are in need of intervention – by the time they reach age 17 or 18, many students have already been alienated from the public school system, and are not likely to return.
UD Team is serving this underserved cohort of students. UD Team primarily serves students who have attended 9th grade but have not accumulated the credits necessary to matriculate to tenth grade. Rather than have students wait until they become 17 to place these younger students in a “Credit Recovery” environment, UD Team is a second chance for them to attend a traditional high school model with a non-traditional design developed to meet them where they are. This early intervention prevents these students from being continually “left back” and repeating a year in a school setting that did not suit them, reducing the risk of further frustration and disconnection from school.