New Youth Network Aims to Get Kids Healthy and College-Ready

SOUTH BRONX — A coalition of antipoverty organizations and community members is set to launch in the borough with the goal of helping kids get healthy and college-ready.

The South Bronx Rising Together network, comprised of the The Children’s Aid Society and Phipps Neighborhoods, as well as JPMorgan Chase and other community members, aims to help create new economic and educational opportunities for youths in the South Bronx.

Its chief premise is that all children in the borough deserve quality programs and support from birth onward.

“We really have not transformed that community,” said Abe Fernández, of the Children’s Aid Society.

So far, SBRT has received support from organizations including Hostos Community CollegeMontefiore Hospital and the Bronx Christian Fellowship, and members have spent the past few years working to figure out what the main neighborhood concerns are.

The group will initially focus on areas like childhood health, kindergarten and college preparation and workforce development.

SBRT is centered on a strategy called “Collective Impact,” which is when people from different sectors — government, business, philanthropy, education and more — unite to solve a social problem.

“It’s about partnerships across sectors,” said Elizabeth Clay Roy, chief strategy officer at Phipps Neighborhoods. “And even within the same sector, making sure that different organizations that provide similar services are doing it in a more coordinated way than they had been before.”

The group also has a different philosophy when it comes to effectively using data, Fernández said.

“Data is often used as a hammer. It helps to figure out who’s winning and who‘s losing,” he said. “Imagine, we could also use data to inform our planning, to inform the continuous improvement of how we’re doing.”

The group’s work will be centered in The Bronx’s Community District 3, consisting of Morrisania, Melrose, Claremont and Crotona Park East. The neighborhoods suffer from some of the city’s highest poverty and unemployment levels, and fewer than one in 10 adults has a college degree, according to SBRT.

John Dudley, district manager of Bronx Community Board 3 and a member of SBRT’s leadership council, said he was a strong supporter of the program.

“It’s probably singularly the best, most comprehensive and collaborative well-thought-out approach to engaging the public community-based organizations—educators, residents and the like—on how to, in a holistic way, look at issues which affect the success of our youth,” he said.

The official launch of SBRT will take place on Monday, Oct. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Boricua College at 890 Washington Ave.

The event is free, but space is limited. People can RSVP online by Thursday, Oct. 23 at Eventbrite.

This article originally appeared on

Comments are closed.