Phipps Neighborhoods at the White House Commission on Education for Hispanics

white housePhipps Neighborhoods was invited to provide testimony on April 14th to the White House Commission on Education for Hispanics on the importance of community based organizations and our work in college access, after-school programs, and other wrap around services.

This invitation follows several years of transition and growth in our education programs, including significant progress resulting from our Education and Learning Initiative. We are proud to have been invited to add our voice to this important conversation!

Read a copy of the testimony below:

Phipps Neighborhoods is a nonprofit that helps children and families in the South Bronx overcome poverty. Each year, we provide close to 10,000 children, youth and families the opportunities they need to thrive through comprehensive education and career programs and access to community resources, focusing on neighborhoods where we can support the whole community.

Our community is overwhelmingly minority, with 63 percent Latino and 30 percent African American residents. It is also among the nation’s most economically challenged communities, as indicated by a high poverty rate of 38.9 percent, 15.8 percent unemployment, and a median household income of just $25,801. Educational attainment is low in the district, with just 28.8 percent of residents above age 25 having achieved a high school diploma and 13.1 percent holding a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Phipps Neighborhoods’ educational programming helps young people develop the skills they need to succeed in school, earn higher incomes and establish self-sufficiency. A comparative study conducted by a third party evaluator across the entire Phipps Neighborhoods education portfolio found that young people who participate in these programs perform better in class and on state wide exams than their peers who do not participate.

At Phipps Neighborhoods, we recognize that accessing higher education is a critical step to obtaining a career and ensuring self-sufficiency for our young people. 74 percent of the 78 high school seniors participating in our college access programs in the 2013-14 school year are currently enrolled in college.

Through more than four decades of serving the South Bronx, we have also learned that students in underserved communities need more than just academic support in order to succeed. There are obstacles to learning that transcend the classroom, which schools are too often not equipped to address. Community based organizations – whether through traditional after school programs, community centers, or community school partnerships – can help students and their families identify and address the issues that get in the way of education, while also providing education-focused programs that connect the school-day learning to the after-school hours. When offered in an integrated, coordinated manner, educational programming and social supports provide the key to unlocking our students’ potential – and their ability to succeed academically and beyond.

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