If you think back on your time in elementary school, what kind of feelings do you have? Maybe you think of a time when you were emotionally supported by both your family and teachers. They helped you grow to the fullest extent and become your best self. That may have been the case for some of you, but for a lot of people it was not. There are students going to school every day who need extra help and guidance. They need an adult they can talk to who isn’t their guardian or teacher, will listen without judgment, and provide support. That is what NYCID provides to our Community Schools, the extra help to make sure students succeed. That is why we are so proud to announce our newest Community Schools, PS 16 and PS 10 in the St. George section of Staten Island! When you step inside the shared building you can feel the presence of nurturing and growth.
NYCID is always looking to expand so it makes perfect sense to us to become the Community Based Organization partner to 2 more schools in Staten Island. Although the schools are combined you can feel NYCID’s presence throughout the building. When entering the school on Daniel Low Terrace I was greeted with open arms by our friendly NYCID team and walked down the stairs to the second floor to NYCID’s home base in PS 16. The office is decorated with positive affirmations and lots of tidbits about social emotional learning. The team has been in the school for a month now and are really getting in the swing of things!
When asked about why we were expanding with another community school in Staten Island Associate Executive Director of External Development Michael Candella said “We wanted to include PS 16 and PS 10 in our Nycid pipeline so that we can offer services to students and families through K-12th grade and assist them in their educational journey. “
Associate Executive Director of External Development
Meet Kiara Brown, Community School Director for PS 16. Brown is a native Staten Islander who graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and has a background in law enforcement. From a young age Brown knew she wanted to help people. Growing up in a large family helped her make the decision to guide the youth of Staten Island. Brown’s main goal for the rest of the school year is to get students into the school. Attendance is a priority for Brown and her team because if they aren’t there our NYCID staff can’t help them learn and grow. After almost 2 months in the building we are really starting to get the hang of things and Brown is looking to the future for what’s next.
Community School Director PS 16
Under Brown’s Command at PS 16 is Mentor Kareem Davis. Davis is a Staten Islander who graduated from College of Staten Island. Davis describes his work as a mentor as like being a big brother. Davis recalls how different family members helped him learn and grow when he was younger and now wants to be able to repay that to the next generation. Although it is his first time working in a school Davis is loving it.
“It doesn’t even feel like I’m working,” Davis said “I’m really just talking to the kids. I’m there for them when the need me”
The main goals for Davis are attendance and making an impact in the children’s lives. He hopes to do that by instilling the mindset of coming to school ready to work. He says if he can do that he believes his mentees will go far in life.
Next on the PS 16 team is social worker Angelina Mancino who is also a native Staten Islander and graduated from CSI with a Master’s Degree in social work. Mancino has always loved kids and has always wanted to help people so NYCID is a perfect fit. She is focused on getting the students in school and creating a safe environment that they enjoy coming to in the NYCID office.
Mancino has worked in schools as a social worker before but says PS 16 is her favorite because “the kids are amazing, [she] love[s] them, they love us, and the energy is very good”
Social Worker PS 16
It makes it all worth it for Mancino when she sees how her students’ faces light up when they see her. One way our team has been keeping students engaged is through the wall of affirmations and a cash for prizes system. When students walk in the NYCID office in PS 16 they are greeted with a mirror with the words “I am” on top. The students then give themselves a compliment saying they are confident, courageous, strong, awesome, and more. The wall of affirmations was created by Mancino who says that it is a great way for students to build their confidence. Students also receive “money” based on their attendance which can be redeemed for snacks or video games. There are plenty of healthy snacks and a super Nintendo for students to play. After meeting with the team at PS 16 I walked up the stairs to visit the NYCID office at PS 10.
Upon entering I was greeted by Cacia Watkins, the Community School Director for PS 10. Watkins is from Staten Island and started her college education at Howard University. She ended up transferring to a community College, getting her associates, and graduating from Post University with her Bachelors. Today she is ready to shape the young minds at PS 10! Watkins wants to get down to the root cause of why students are having attendance issues and figuring out ways to make sure they want to come to school. Although she has not worked in a school before Watkins has experience in human services working with adults and now she gets to use her background to bring another perspective while working with the students. Her favorite part of her new role with NYCID is being able to make a difference in the lives of her students. Watkins is definitely ready to lead the NYCID staff at PS 10!
Community School Director PS 10
Working as a Social Worker under Watkins is Lesly Tzintzun. Tzintzun is from Staten Island and earned her Bachelor’s Degree from CSI before completing her Master’s in Social Work from NYU. She says that it is not the team doing the work, it is the students. They are just there to guide them. She helps them make the right choices which will help them in their lives. Tzintzun wants to help with academics and attendance but also be there for students in a social and emotional way. This combination is how we plan to improve the lives of the students at PS 10.
Social Worker PS 10
As NYCID as an organization continues to grow we love to have the opportunity to bring our core tenants of collaboration, accountability, recognition, and resilience to new environments. Although we have a large presence in Staten Island already, we will continue to grow and make sure everyone has a fair chance to receive education and serve the underserved. Our mission is to improve the lives of our fellow New Yorkers and that hasn’t changed. Keep on the lookout, you may see NYCID in your school someday soon!