SAYA Youth Visit Adelphi and Stony Brook University


On Monday, November 12th, 34 SAYA high school youth visited Adephi University and Stony Brook University. At Stony Brook, youth were given a tour of the school by a SAYA scholarship recipient and College Success student, who is a current freshman there. At Adelphi, youth toured the campus and attended an info session and diversity talk. Two participants shared their reflections below:

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Adelphi University’s campus is beautiful, and comes with a lot of perks as well. The school provides a space for students to relieve their stress, whether by going to gym or yoga class, which are provided free of charge. When you enroll in college, your life gets loaded down with a lot of work, which can lead to a lot of stress. Sometimes students have trouble managing the workload and life balance, which Adelphi acknowledges. In addition, the campus is a place where everyone is accepted and included in all social events. No matter what your background, race, or gender, you are accepted and treated like a family. Their dorms are also very cool, and each residence has its own theme - for example, one had the theme of "Haunted House," so the students there had decorated their rooms to make it look scary. Each residence also hosts lots of parties, where anyone on campus can attend.

Overall, Adelphi was an amazing university, and it provides a lot of scholarships for diligent students. I really enjoyed visiting, and learning so much about it. If you work hard, you can make it in!
- Naficha

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For me, the most exciting part of our trip to Stony Brook University was meeting our tour guide. She was a graduate of my high school, which gave me a good vibe.

I also enjoyed exploring inside the college, especially the different offices and rooms - that was interesting too. We talked about how this college is predominantly a Caucasian school, which made me think about how my college experience would be shaped if I attended, since I currently live in the most diverse city on the planet and attend Brooklyn Tech, one of the most diverse schools in the city.

I didn’t love the buildings on campus, since most of them were under renovation. Something that I will also consider when applying for colleges is the population size of the school - with the school's massive student body of sixteen thousand and a student to teacher ratio of eighteen to one, I will have to think about the personal attention this school will provide me.

I enjoyed my time exploring Stony Brook University, with my fellow SAYA students staff members, who provided guidance and answered all of our questions. Thanks to SAYA for making this great opportunity possible for us!
- Fahmid


Young Women at SAYA Create Success Maps


Youth in our Young Women’s Leadership Program spent a recent session discussing success and how it applies to each person differently, and created individual success maps. One participant shared her thoughts on these conversations:

“Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. Recently in the Young Women's Leadership Program, we took part in an activity that helped us understand what we consider success.

Program participants  created "Success Maps." These maps include what we personally consider a success for the future, and how we measure our successes now. We also noted our six forms of success and ordered them from most important to least important. Before creating mine, I was very sure my map would include basic ideas of success. But after creating it, I was astonished to see how specific some of my ideas of success were. For example, an item on my list of was "having good handwriting and being able to draw well." I didn't predict coming up with that idea when starting the activity. I considered it so minor at first, but then I realized if it makes me happy then that's good enough to be called success.

After completing the activity,  we did a gallery walk as a group and looked over everyone else's maps. It was evident to me that each one of us in the group had different goals for of success. I had been expecting many similar ideas, but I found that no two people had similar definitions. I am glad it is this way. If everyone had similar ones, no one would be happy - we would all be chasing someone else's ideas of success and feel burned out and unsatisfied with our  accomplishments. Riti, our facilitator, told us that we can't automatically wait for success to happen out of nowhere, which stood out to me. I interpreted this as being successful now will help us to feel successful in the future. We shouldn't restrict ourselves to the feeling that we will be happy once a certain thing happens. Instead, we need to be happy while moving forward and remember the accomplishments we've made so far.

We all want to be successful. Whether it be education, money, or fame, we all chase something that we consider to be the end goal. To each one of us, success is something different, and it is not something we gain by following someone else's path but something we get from thinking about ourselves and who we are. What truly makes us feel successful is based on our own desires, and how we are willing to think and work toward them.”

- Noushin


SAYA Youth Visit Columbia University


On Wednesday, October 31st, SAYA’s Leadership group from Newcomers High School visited Columbia University. One participant shared her experience of the trip:

”Our Leadership group recently visited Columbia University where we met Miss Sarah, who was a SAYA teacher and is now a graduate student at the University. She had very good experience with SAYA, and told us how helpful the program and her teaching experience was in preparing her for graduate school. I really enjoyed being  with the other SAYA members. There were many things to learn that will be helpful in our lives.

This was my first time going to Columbia University, which is in Morningside Heights. My first impression of the college was amazing. We saw the beautiful statues, which all had deep meanings. We went to the library, which was mostly for social work students. We also looked at some projects and photographs which were taken in all different countries.

The waterfalls were amazing, and the greenery looked so beautiful. We took lots of fun pictures, including  from a place where you could see the city lights all illuminated. I saw many wonderful things I had not seen before .

Miss Riti and Miss Sarah shared with us their opinions on different career and paths. They discussed how to get good jobs by working hard and using the right techniques. It was a wonderful trip, where Iearned many things and enjoyed myself very much.”

- Jasleen

SAYA Young Women Visit Chitra Ganesh Exhibit at The Kitchen Gallery


Youth from our Young Women’s Leadership Program recently visited an art gallery in Chelsea, to view an exhibit by Brooklyn-based artist Chitra Ganesh. Below, one of these young women shared her experience:

“On Saturday, October 6th, my peers and I went to the art exhibition Chitra Ganesh: Her garden, a mirror on view at The Kitchen gallery in Chelsea. The room itself was dark, which gave off a spooky feeling. We looked at all of the drawings and videos that were playing. The works on display included prints, sculpture, and video, and while there were no descriptions given for each piece, they engaged art historical and literary sources to further reimagine the roles of the individual and the collective during periods of societal turbulence. We were each given little newspapers, which had the story that the whole exhibit was based on.


At first I thought the drawings were just random drawings. But when I started looking at the pieces from left to right, I saw that the drawings in the art gallery had a story beneath them that represented women’s empowerment. The pictures signified gender roles in society and how many think women are supposed to be the ones in the zenanas and kitchen. In the pictures, the girls were gathering knowledge for a better and brighter future - however you could see men above them laughing at their dreams and ideas. As the drawings went on, the girls were all together and sharing their thoughts about how the world works. And then there was a revolution where the women overthrew the men. In the next picture, you could see women flourishing on their own - inventing new technologies and things without the help of any men. The drawings presented how women can create a better and more improved society by themselves, while also telling the story about a girl dreaming of a more advanced and better world where there are only women. She leads the women into her house and shows the advanced and creative inventions other women have made: they protect people from natural disasters or any invasions, use sunlight and heat to drive their enemies away, and more. The story showed that women don’t actually need strength or men to protect them - their brains are enough.”

- Zumanah


SAYA Youth Visit Art Gallery in Chelsea


On September 27th, youth from our Young Women’s Leadership Program visited an art gallery in Chelsea, where they viewed an instillation and met the artist behind it. Below, one of these young women shares her experience:

“This was my first time going to an art gallery, and it wasn't what I had expected. We took the stairs up to the second floor and we were greeted by Regina Araujo, the artist whose work made up the exhibition. We were led into a room where various paintings hung on white walls, making the paintings stand out. The room was divided into two parts, and we were led to the second part which was relatively smaller. There were stickers on one wall and on the rest various art pieces like mosaics and prints. In the middle of the room there was a roulette, which is what the show was named after: Migrants' Roulette. The stickers represented money and on them were various historical figures the artist believed were important, and should be more recognized for their actions in society.

We then played Migrants’ Roulette. The objective of the game was to get the ball to land on the figure you chose, and the prize was a sticker of whoever you wanted. Even though I lost, I still got a sticker - the winner got two. I decided to pick Rigoberta Menchu, a political and human rights activists from Guatemala, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992. The artist then showed us her other pieces, which all had the same theme of migration; she felt that just like birds, people shouldn't be restricted from migrating to other parts of the world. A piece that caught my attention was a bird house that had a map drawn on its sides. Overall, the gallery space might have seemed small, but the pieces that were hung on its walls all held special meaning regarding migration, and the lives of various people who are and were shaped by it.”

- Gabriela


SAYA Joins Richmond Hill High School Community Night


On Wednesday, September 26th, SAYA staff and youth participated in Richmond Hill High School’s (RHHS) annual Community Night. Through this event, RHHS and SAYA showcased their programming for community parents and youth. Below are reflections from one SAYA youth who attended:

”Richmond Hill High School’s (RHHS) annual Community Night was held on Thursday, September 26, 2018, from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. It was a great night for the Richmond Hill community to come out and see what our school is like. Families and students from Richmond Hill, along with students from other schools, gathered together as one. Community night also provided SAYA a chance to let people know they can join their many clubs, such as Anime Club, Arista, Leadership, Robotics, and much more. During the event, RHHS and the SAYA staff spoke about academic pathways, available clubs, and looking forward to college and securing ways to get scholarships. Volunteers like myself attended to support SAYA and to encourage students to join. The evening was a great success, and hopefully many more students will get involved in the school community and the many activities SAYA has to offer!”
- Mohamed


SAYA Youth Shine at Art Exhibit


Five SAYA young women recently had their work displayed at the Museum of Chinese in America, as part of the 2018 OCA New York Asian Pacific American Advocates Hate Crimes Prevention Art Exhibit. This project calls attention to hate crimes in today’s society, and was created to empower diverse, local high school youth to use art as a tool to educate and combat these crimes. The contest is open to youth across the city, with a prize of $1,500 for the winner. These amazing and thought provoking works tackle this year’s theme of shifting blame from victims of hate crimes to holding perpetrators and systems accountable instead. The exhibit officially opened on August 9th, with all five SAYA artists in attendance.

SAYA Youth Visit 5 Colleges in the Boston Area

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From August 6-8th, SAYA youth visited five colleges in the Boston area: Boston University, Northeastern University, SUNY Purchase, Tufts University, and the University of Massachusetts Boston. Youth took tours of each campus, and learned about the offerings at each. This trip provided them the chance to visit schools they may otherwise not have been able to explore in person. Below are some highlights from their visit:

By Byron, 12th Grade
Boston University (BU) is a large campus located by the water, with roughly 16,000 students. The campus has a lot of open spaces where you can relax. Local landmarks include a rock that has been painted over several times by sororities and fraternities. We got to explore the various buildings that house different programs, including business and engineering. We learned how each program completes special projects, like the engineers who created a wristband to help study Parkinson's.

The college was also very lively with plenty of things to do. The gym included a lazy river and a hot tub, as well as a two story rock climbing wall. If physical activities aren't your thing, the food court might interest you more, with events like lobster night. We also got to explore one of the dorms. They were much larger than most college dorms - in fact BU has the second largest dorms in the U.S. Overall this college was a fun to explore, and I'm glad that we got to visit it.


By Puspita, 11th Grade
Northeastern’s campus was amazing! There were so many trees, art on the walls, and the architecture of the dorms was beautiful. Our tour guide was very informative and nice, and shared about her time working in Co-op. The Co-op program really interested me, and if I attend I would really like to do it. It’s unique to Northeastern, and provides students with a six month opportunity to gain experience in the workforce while getting paid! It’s a great way to figure out what jobs are right for you, and to make connections for life. I also liked the many opportunities available at Northeastern, such as studying abroad and choosing what field you want to do research in. I like the different types of clubs and sports you can join (and create!), and I’m happy to know that the academic advisors are helpful to students and care for them, which can be hard to find in college. The school’s diversity center was also very notable. As a person of color, I’m happy to know that there are safe spaces available where I can go to talk about problems, such as dealing with mental health and taking action to prevent racism.


By Sunjana, 12th Grade
SUNY Purchase is a small campus, with about 4,000 students. There is nature everywhere. They are a liberal arts college, so the school had a museum and a performing arts building, but they also have a lot of science labs.  Because it is a small school, students are likely to be close with their professors and each other.


By Hamad, 11th Grade
Tufts University’s location was amazing. The campus was on top of a large hill, which meant there was a lot of going up and down stairs. I enjoyed getting so much exercise, but with Massachusetts’ harsh winters all that walking might be hard.

The academics at Tufts University were great. They are known for their STEM programming in engineering, and offer students a lot of research opportunities. Aside from STEM, their liberal arts programming is great, and they are  known for their wonderful foreign relations program. Going to another country for a whole year would be so educational, and would provide self growth.


By Sam, 11th Grade
The University of Massachusetts Boston has one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. The view is breathtaking, but that wasn’t the only reason I loved this place. As someone who is interested in the field of Biology, the amount of labs this university has makes me excited and eager to attend. The size of the classes fits my learning style, and materials such as lectures given by professors are pre-recorded and posted online.

SAYA Youth Visit the Offices of Oliver Wyman


On Friday, July 27th, youth participating in our Summer programming visited the offices of Oliver Wyman, a global management consulting firm. This visit was organized by Zoomjodo, a career initiative for students and recent graduates. At Oliver Wyman, youth learned about the consulting industry as a whole, and the career opportunities open to them within it. Below are some reflections from those youth:

Going to Oliver Wyman was a phenomenal experience. They had a presentation prepared where they taught us about networking. I found that very interesting because, as rising seniors, we need to learn to communicate better with people around us to develop relationships. We also created an “elevator pitch,” which covers quick facts about ourselves that we would like to convey when meeting a new person. This is a helpful skill because soon we will start going on job interviews, and it’s important to have a foundation we can build on as the conversation proceeds. Finally, we had to work on a case, where a client dealt with declining revenue. We had to figure out why, and come up with solutions to fix the problem. The experience helped us to figure out what we would like to do in the future, and to reflect on ourselves.  
- Sharmila

Last Friday, we went to visit Oliver Wyman, which is an international management consulting firm with a large focus on banking and financial services. There we learned more about the firm, as well as the consulting as a career. After watching a presentation made by some of the consultants, we took part in an activity and had to solve a client scenario that consultants deal with a lot. This trip opened my eyes to a career that is often overlooked. Consultants work behind the scenes of companies, solving problems to help increase their clients’ profit. The visit made me understand the importance of thinking through all possible solutions to a problem, and then identifying the solution that works best. This trip was very enjoyable.
- Ketia

This trip was a fantastic experience. I learned so much new information! The people we met were really nice, and thoroughly explained what their job deals with. I found it very interesting that they complete so many projects and get to travel to many different places as part of their jon. It is a very complicated process to get a job like this, and you need a lot of internships and experience. But at the end, this kind of work is worth it.
- Manisha

SAYA Youth Attend the 2018 Gaming Devs of Color Expo


On Saturday, July 14th, youth from our Young Men's Leadership Program attended the 2018 Gaming Devs of Color Expo. This day-long event featured panels and talks, with an expo hall filled with unique games made by creators of color. Below is a selection of photos and youth reflections from the event:

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"This was a fabulous trip! It was my first time going to a convention, and was a breathtaking experience. I learned quite a bit from the presentation on how not to pitch an idea, and everyone listened and showed respect to the speakers. Afterward, playing the games was a fun experience and showed all the developers that we cared about their work. Everyone had fun - it was a great day". - Paul

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"The GDOC Expo was an interesting experience. It allowed game developers of color to promote and share their games and experience in development. A lot of the developers used the culture they grew up in to design their games, which helped them to have more interesting stories and characters. My two favorite games were Zarvot and The Ultimate Clap Back." - Anesh


SAYA Youth at PS 124 Focus on STEM through Architecture this Spring


Two groups of fifth grade SAYA youth at PS 124 recently concluded courses that taught them STEM and the application of math and science outside of the classroom. The first group participated in a 17-week course on the architecture of skyscrapers. Thanks to a generous grant from Con Edison, 20 youth participated in the weekly class, the curriculum for which was provided by the Salvadori Center. Youth learned how to identify different designs and architectural elements present in skyscrapers and, for their final project, applied concepts such as proportion, scale, and building function to designing and constructing their own modular unit skyscraper.

The second group participated in a digital architecture course, provided in partnership with Marquis Studio. These youth learned what goes into the design and building of homes and robots, and how digital models are used in doing so.

Both groups recently presented their final projects to their peers and teachers at an end of year showcase. Below are some youth reflections from these courses, and photos from the skyscrapers class.


“This class was an amazing experience, and I would love to do it again. We learned how to make skyscrapers, and about length, width, volume, and scale. I loved our teacher.” - Emmanuella

“I learned that architects use 3D models to plan houses. We used different tools to build houses and robots, and math helped me so I knew what size everything had to be. Now I want to make and design toys when I grow up.” - Ethan


“The activities were a lot of fun and I got to learn a lot. I learned how to build a skyscraper using straws and jacks, and an area model. The teacher was a good instructor and she helped us when we needed it.” - Savanna

“It was fun and I liked making the robots and the beach house. It was fun and I got to learn about different things.” - Vianny

“I learned how to connect and work with my team members.” - Julie


Youth Attend SAYA's College Fair


On Saturday, June 9th, SAYA held a carnival-themed College Fair at our Elmhurst community center. The event welcomed approximately 50 high school youth, and hosted representatives from nine institutions: Adelphi University, The City College of New York, CUNY Staten Island, LaGuardia Community College, Barnard College, Hunter College, Kingsborough Community College, St. John’s University, and the Macaulay Honors Program at CUNY. The day began with a college fair, made up of nine school booths, followed by a panel featuring all attending representatives. Here SAYA youth were able to ask additional questions, ranging from school-specific to the application process in general. Thank you to all colleges who joined us!  


Below are reflections from two youth attendees: 

By Shams, 11th Grade
SAYA’s college carnival at the Elmhurst Center was no average college fair. It had all kinds of fun extras, and provided plenty of information about the many colleges that were there - Kingsborough Community College, Adelphi University, Hunter College, St. John’s University, and many more. The first half of the carnival allowed us to walk around and ask each college representative all kinds of questions, such as “What programs do you offer?” or “What are your requirements for the SATs?” After learning more about Adelphi University, I am very interested in their Digital Media and Arts Program. The program provides students with hands-on work experience for their future careers, rather than confining them to a classroom lecture. I was also interested to learn about their Summer Pre-College program for high school students. I really had a lot of fun learning about these schools, and I know others can say the same.

By Joshua, 10th Grade
The College Carnival was a really fun event! Students from 9th to 11th grade were able to meet with many CUNY colleges. For the first half, all the representatives had booths where they handed out pamphlets and spoke about the many highlights of attending each school. I liked this set-up, because it allowed us to mingle, joke, and talk with the representatives, instead of just reading a brochure. The second part of the carnival featured a panel with all of the representatives, where students had the chance to ask even more questions, helping us to decide what we’re looking for in a school and where we want to apply.

The whole carnival was fun and very informative. My favorite part was chatting and joking with the representatives while we visited each booth, and hearing their personal thoughts on their school. The atmosphere was comfortable and pleasant, which made learning these things much more fun. Before this, I was nervous about what to expect in college, because I’ve heard rumors about how hard it was to get in, and how expensive it can be. After the carnival, I feel much more at ease. Now I know a lot more about what these colleges are looking for, and the application requirements for each one. It was a great experience!


SAYA Youth Attend Career Exploration Day

On Saturday, May 19th, SAYA hosted our annual Career Exploration Day, designed to expose our high school youth to a diverse range of professional paths, including those in the arts, business, finance, government, healthcare, law, nonprofit, and technology. The day began with team-building activities and career assessment tests for youth. Following these, they observed two panels, each featuring seven volunteers from different companies who shared their educational background and path to their current roles. Panelists also took numerous questions from youth. Thank you to everyone who joined us!


SAYA Youth Set to Perform in a Citywide School Production of The Lion King

Nine middle schoolers in our program at Central Queens Academy (CQA) will be performing two scenes from the musical The Lion King, on Saturday, May 19th. The show will be held at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. This exciting opportunity was offered to 900 Comprehensive After School System of NYC (COMPASS) programs through the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). SAYA sent in an audition tape of our youth, and was thrilled to learn that ours is one of only nine programs selected to participate in this DYCD on Broadway event.

Rehearsals have been in full swing for the past several weeks - a few highlights from some of these practice sessions are below. We are so proud of our youth!


SAYA Team Excels at NYC Robotics Tournament

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From April 5th - 8th, FIRST New York City hosted the 2018 New York City Regional, a robotics tournament that celebrates students' work in science and technology. The event was held at The Armory Track & Field Center in Manhattan, hosting 51 teams from the New York tristate area, Turkey, United Kingdom, Brazil, and China. The SAYA Robotics team at Richmond Hill High School competed, placing 7th out of 51! Below are some highlights from the day.

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SAYA Youth Visit 5 Colleges in the Philadelphia Area


In early April, SAYA took 39 high school sophomores and juniors to Philadelphia to visit several colleges. During the trip, youth took tours and listened to talks at Franklin & Marshall College, St. Joseph’s University, Swarthmore College, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. The trip, which lasted three days and two nights, provided SAYA youth the chance to see and experience several schools that they otherwise may not have visited on their own.

By Kathy, 11th grade
What I like about Temple is how comfortable the campus seems. Because it’s set in an urban area, students have access to the city and many activities that aren’t directly involved with the university. After speaking with members of the school’s Diversity Center, I learned that Temple works hard to build understanding among the student body. I also learned that Temple has many resources for students who are struggling academically, or aren’t as advanced as others. They provide lots of support options for students who need them. We also learned that Temple University began from nighttime tutoring sessions between a professor and several students, which is why the Temple mascot is the night owl.

I was really excited to hear that the Diversity Center offers students the chance to discuss and understand social issues happening on campus, which I think would make me feel safer and open to new ideas and opinions. And fun fact: the center prefers to call safe spaces “brave spaces,” because they believe that this terminology is a more fitting title.


By Laiba, 11th grade
It was great to visit the University of Pennsylvania, since I learned so much about the school that I would not have otherwise. For example, I learned that there are many different organizations across campus that are there to help students better understand the choices available to them, in terms of majors or internships. One group that we visited with was the Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC), which provided students a cozy house with a lounge and space to work, relax, or seek out advice. GIC was a great place for students from different cultures or backgrounds to mix and become friends. Hearing members speak about their own experiences, majors, and challenges was so interesting. One of the students spoke about how he initially came to college to build things, but soon decided to switch his major to electrical engineering. Since I am also interested in building things, hearing him helped me see that there are lots of different types of engineering majors that I can look into. Touring campus was interesting too, because of all the history that I learned, including the fact that Benjamin Franklin founded the school. This trip showed me that UPenn is a very interesting school that provides many different majors - I definitely want to apply when I get a chance.


By Byron, 11th grade
Our visit to Swarthmore was a very pleasant one. The college is a private liberal arts school, and I liked that the campus was so small and provided quick and easy access to all the buildings. In addition, the smaller number of students means that they have more one-on-one time with professors. On our tour, we saw many of the places we would spend our time if we attended, including the various libraries. We also had chance to explore the fine arts building, where all kinds of performances, from dance to theater, are held.

One thing I enjoyed learning about the college was that they seriously encourages students to socialize, and not to only focus on academics (although it is a big part). The school even has a program that picks applicants at random and provides them $20 and a ticket to Philadelphia, so they can explore the city. They also didn't seem to shy away from helping their students find their desired programs, even if that meant sending them to another school.

The second part of our tour was meeting members of the Intercultural Center, and hearing all about what they do at Swarthmore. They explained to us how they organize events to help minority students become better adjusted, and spoke about their own experience and how finding this group helped them tremendously. As a person of color who lives in a very diverse area, I was a little shocked hearing about their experience. However, I appreciated this advice as I now have a better understanding of what to expect when I attend college, wherever I end up. I loved my experience touring this school, and I'm definitely going to apply.

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SAYA Youth Scale Walls and Fears through Rock Climbing


Each year SAYA's Young Women's Leadership program at the Elmhurst Center participates in indoor rock climbing at The Cliffs in Long Island City. The purpose of this trip is to develop confidence, trust-building and teamwork skills by working through a series of challenging activities: belayed rock climbing on high walls, bouldering (climbing lower walls without a harness), and crate climbing (stacking and climbing crates to get as high as they can). 

During this year's trip, peers supported each other verbally and emotionally as each youth faced her fears and took small steps towards overcoming the challenges. Each year, youth find that in the span of just two hours of rock climbing, they feel more confident and able to work through uncertainty and fear. This is an important and transferable skill that they can utilize in order to overcome academic, personal and professional challenges. Here is what some of them had to say:


"Rock climbing was a really great experience. It helped me look at life differently. I realized that you should try things that seem crazy and even very scary. Reaching the top was such an amazing feeling. I would definitely go again." --Sanjana, Grade 11

"The rock climbing trip was one that I highly enjoyed. I really loved the crate exercise. It was very fun and I enjoyed seeing that I could climb high. I also enjoyed this trip because it provided the Young Women's Leadership group with many skills such as being able to trust yourself and others. This trip was a great experience for me and my fellow peers." --Shraddha, Grade 11

"The rock climbing trip was really intense. As I walked inside, I saw so many people climbing so high, and I started freaking out. At first, I was scared to climb the walls, but slowly I started getting the hang of it. I felt so confident after climbing the rock walls. It was a memorable experience which helped me to boost my confidence." --Melissa, Grade 11


SAYA Represents at Big Ten College Fair


On February 28th, Big Ten held a college fair for all high school students at The Beacon School in Manhattan. As part of our college access programming, SAYA juniors attended the event in order to gain exposure to colleges, particularly out-of-state schools. Sixteen schools were present and youth were able to talk to admissions counselors about majors, graduation rates and cost of attendance and had the opportunity to pick up brochures for further information. Youth spoke to admission counselors from Iowa, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, and came away from the event with a greater understanding of college options outside of New York. Here is what some of them had to say:

“It was a good experience because I got to view other schools and what they specialize in. It helped me pick a major!”--Gavindra

“This was an enlightening experience because now I know more about out-of-state schools.”--Amina

“It changed my mind on how I view colleges. By talking to admissions officers, I found out how fun college can be.”--Bisakh

SAYA Youth Visit Frank Thiel Exhibit at Sean Kelly Gallery


By Joshua, Grade 10

On February 10th, my friends and I from ARISE, our coed leadership program at SAYA, saw an interesting art exhibit. We went to the Sean Kelly Gallery and met with the artist Frank Thiel. He has an exhibit called [15] Quince up at the gallery. We heard about where he grew up and the reason why he chose to photograph Quinceañeras in Cuba. We had the opportunity to question the different environments of the photograph that were taken. We observed that he liked different structures around the girls' neighborhood. It was a very empowering trip as we learned about the places that these girls lived in and brought a new perspective to the Latin tradition of moving into adulthood.


SAYA College Success: Young Professionals Mixer


This year, SAYA held our very first College Success Young Professionals Mixer, hosted by Deloitte at 30 Rock in January. The purpose of the event was to provide our youth in college with the opportunity to have one-on-one conversations with young professionals for career exposure and to build up their networking skills. With six different industries represented, youth "speed networked" by moving from table to table and gaining an understanding of different career paths within each sector. This provided them the platform to ask deliberate and specific questions on, for example, a day in the life of a consultant or a communications manager. The most valuable component of the day was our students learning how to initiate and conduct professional conversations in a setting outside of college. 

Some of the youth who attended shared their thoughts with us after the event.

Labib: "The Mixer was better than career fairs because it was focused on 1:1 conversations. I got to meet with people more individually and understand what they do in a better sense. The people were personable and younger so they seemed more like me. It felt less like advising and more like talking." 

Kerissa: "I found it so interesting that they were so direct about a job. From Daniel at Deloitte, I learned how to actually stand out in an interview. He was open about meeting up for coffee and going over skills. I learned that the first step is actually to approach people because 99% of the time, they will not say no."

Jimmy: "The mixer opened my eyes. It was great to receive insight into other industries. I really clicked with the consultant from McKinsey, Kishore. He gave me as much information as I asked for. I could see that he respected my questions so I felt like I was networking strategically. I feel that even though him and I are in different fields, I still gained useful skills."