SAYA Youth Visit The New School and New York University


On August 9th, a group of SAYA high school youth visited The New School and New York University in downtown Manhattan, where they toured the campuses and learned about each school’s variety of offerings. Below are some of their reflections from these visits.


“My trip to The New School with SAYA was very interesting, as it was the first performing arts college I visited. The New School offers many unique majors involving art and design. On our tour, I was able to see the different paths the college offers as well as different art pieces made by students. They also showed us some studios, and we were able to see students creating new pieces. We also saw the different and advanced methods of creating art available, like 3D printing. I look forward to more college trips like this one!”
- Kaljang

“The New School is a great place for students with creative minds. It is a good fit for people who want to major in architecture, web design, fashion design, photography, and other types of art. The college provides so many kinds of supplies for students, such as 3D printers and sewing machines, as well as materials for painting and drawing. This was truly a pleasant experience.”
- Tasbih


“Our trip to New York University was a very insightful visit. I believe it was more of an opportunity than a trip because it opened up so many doors. We were introduced to one of the school’s admissions facilitators who works with underprivileged communities. She provided us with details about the variety of programs offered at NYU, and informed us about the many programs available there for junior high and high school students as well. 

The second portion of our visit included a tour of the NYU campus. The tour really emphasized how immersed and integrated the NYU campus is within Manhattan, which allows for students to easily commute to and from school, and take part in activities across the city. I was so impressed by the vastness of the library, and would have loved to look through their collection, but unfortunately there was not enough time. Overall, I really enjoyed the NYU experience.”
- Satnam

“NYU has an expansive campus that takes over most of Greenwich Village, heading into other parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. What impressed me most is that they provide the  opportunity to study abroad - almost anywhere in the world. I found NYU’s library to be luxurious. It has over two million books, and during certain times of the year is open for 24 hours. Going to NYU for the first time with SAYA was an amazing experience for me. I’ve always idolized this university as my first choice, so visiting helped me to get a grasp on what attending would be like.”
- Noushin

SAYA Youth Attend the DYCD Youth Summit

IMG_3529 (1).JPG

On May 11th, youth from SAYA’s programming at J.H.S. 202 Robert H. Goddard attended the Youth Summit, hosted by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. Two of our young people shared their experience below:

“During our trip to the Youth Leadership Summit, hosted by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice, we visited many different workshops to help us gather ideas for our own service projects at SAYA. We also participated in some fun activities, including Civics Jeopardy, where our team won with a score of 3,200 points! After that, we ate lunch and took some pictures before going to watch the Junior Shark Tank competition. We gathered ideas on how to give back to our community. One group attending the Summit focused their project on helping orphans, which was really inspiring.

Afterwards, we had a meeting with the Youth Development Institute, who awarded us $1,000 dollars for our SAYA program group to complete a community service project! In this workshop, we met new people from other groups with the same goal as us: giving back to their communities. We thought of ideas about what we can do to help ours, and used the time as a learning experience as well as a way to get to know each other better.

At the end of the event, we heard a great speech from Francis Lucerna, the wife of a great community activist named Luis Acosta. The grant we received was in his honor, and is called the Luis Acosta Bridging Communities Grant. We were then invited up on stage to accept our award from the commissioner of the DYCD, Bill Chong. It was an amazing experience, and we had a lot of a lot of fun and learned a lot from attending the Summit.”

- Taheerah Jenkins & Ayisha Chan

Screen Shot 2019-06-26 at 2.47.41 PM.png

SAYA Young Women Visit The Met Cloisters


SAYA’s Young Women’s Leadership Program recently took a day trip to The Cloisters museum in Fort Tryon Park. During the visit, they spent time walking around the park, as well as taking in the museum’s art and exhibits. Below, one of the young women shared her experience:

“On April 23rd, my mom woke me up for my trip with SAYA to The Met Cloisters museum!  I was excited and restless to get going. I met my friends and got on the train to SAYA, where we met Ms. Riti. We headed out soon after, because none of us wanted to waste a moment of the beautiful day.

We took the train to 190th Street in Manhattan - the ride was long, but it was fun because we spent time talking to and sharing with Riti and each other. When we got off the subway, we decided to get some food to have a mini picnic at the Cloisters.

We walked into the park, where we kept climbing higher and higher - we were shocked to learn that the museum was once used by the military, which it’s walls are so high. The trees had white and pink blossoms, and the fresh of scent of the flowers made all of us nostalgic and brought back old memories of where we were born.

We continued walking and passed big houses made of bricks, eventually reaching a beautiful view of the Hudson River. We sat and had our picnic on a nearby lawn, and chatted about our life and the things we were doing on our spring break. After lunch, we headed into the museum itself. It was so beautiful! We saw amazing sculptures with intricate details, as well as many gold items from Spain, Germany, and other nations. There were gardens and terraces where people sat and enjoyed the view. After several hours, we headed back to the train station and started our journey back home.

All of us who visited the Cloisters that day were amazed by the beauty of the park’s nature and the complex artwork inside the museum. We realized that our generation sometimes misses this beauty, being so devoted to technology. Thanks to Ms. Riti and SAYA, I was able to take this trip and learn more about art and the world.”

- Antara (Tara)

SAYA Youth Visit Five Colleges in the DC Area

From April 22nd to the 24th, SAYA youth in high school took a trip to Washington, DC, visiting five colleges over three days. On their last day, they took a trip to the National Mall to visit several nearby monuments as well. Below are some of their reflections from these tours.


Walking around the University of Pennsylvania campus felt like walking into the past. It’s buildings are beautiful and historic, all of its features are gorgeous. The school offers a variety of majors, such as biological science, economics, mechanical engineering, philosophy, and many more - and having so many options would allow me to meet all kinds of people majoring in different activities. During my visit with SAYA, we met three students, who presented their experience at UPenn. We learned that the school wants the best for their students, and encourages them to take advantage of available resources. It was a great experience visiting, I truly loved it.
- Gianni

UPenn was an amazing and eye opening experience for me. The campus was pretty, and the students we met gave us lots of great advice about college admissions and financial tips. We learned it’s beneficial to take advantage of the college librarians, because they can help you find numerous resources for your research projects. From the students at the Intercultural Center, I learned that UPenn had the most diverse student body out of all the Ivy League schools, as well as great student resources. It is a really great school, with many programs to choose from.
- Puspita


George Washington University was great to visit, and to learn about its many programs. The school supplies a large amount of student resources, and with so many students around you can get to know all kinds of people. If I got the chance to go here, I would happily take it!
- Desmond

Visiting George Washington University was a new experience for me. As a predominantly white institution, it was interesting to experience a place so unlike New York City. However, everyone we met was very welcoming and it was amazing to visit and see the beautiful campus.
- Vanessa


The vibe on the Howard University campus was very calm and open, and there were many beautiful places to sit and study outside. Walking through the campus was peaceful, and the students were easy to interact with. A lot of people offered assistance, asking if we needed directions or help. The school held a lot of historical importance, which was interesting to learn about.
- Prova

I really appreciated the diversity at Howard University. There were many people of color, whom I could connect with. I also liked the overall environment. For me, a quiet environment is a good place to study and concentrate on my work. I loved this school, and I will definitely apply! I'm grateful that SAYA gave me the opportunity to explore different types of colleges.
- Meni


Georgetown University has a beautiful campus, and rigorous courses. The level of academics shows the university’s investment in their students education and futures, and the desire to push them along toward success. This is reflected in the University’s alumni. The institution encourages students to make use of numerous opportunities, such as participating in athletics or joining clubs. Internships are also encouraged to show students their future professional options. I thoroughly enjoyed our tour, and I am definitely interested in applying to the university.
- Sam

Georgetown University is a very competitive college, and we learned a lot about it through this tour. We spoke with several students who are POC, who told us about clubs and other activities around the school that helped them to stay in touch with culture. As someone who considers my religion a part of my identity, I really liked learning about all of the religious representation throughout the college. The people at Georgetown were really nice, and the tour guide gave us a lot of information about the academics and the students. We learned about a program called Georgetown Scholars, which helps first generation students work to graduate school within four years. I will definitely apply for this college next year because of the various opportunities, and the chance to discover what I want to do in the future.
- Zumanah


When visiting the University of Maryland, we walked by the Hornbake Library, where you can see numerous walkways stretching all over, toward the Hornbake Library North, the Biology and Psychology building, and others. We walked by numerous student facilities, including the stadium, recreation center, golf course, and more. I learned that this campus provides students with many opportunities and recreational options. If you’re looking for a college with a large campus and student body, then this would be your university for you!
- Mohmmed

Visiting the University Of Maryland was a joyful experience for me. I immediately noticed how big the campus was, and all the students we met were very nice and told us all about the school. I learned that it has over 900 clubs! They have a great resource center as well, including a library with seven floors. The building was designed to encourage the students to enter it without feeling intimidated. The campus also had its own farm! The farm animals’ milk is also used to make their own ice cream which I found very cool. Because the campus is so large, they have a blue light system which allows student to press when they are in an emergency, and  most classes are clustered in a few of the main buildings so students can get to class on time. The University has a lot of opportunities and resources, which is very handy for students.
- Senjuti


SAYA Young Women Create Collaborative Dance Project


SAYA’s Young Women’s Leadership Program has spent several months creating a collaborative dance performance. Each participant has crafted an individual movement, all of which are then combined. One young woman shared her reflections on working with her SAYA peers on this project:

“SAYA recently gave us an amazing opportunity to choreograph our own dance piece to a song by Ariana Grande. I’ve been dancing for a while now, but creating this piece with my friends in SAYA showed me a new perspective. Instead of following existing choreography from a teacher, each of us contributed a move that we were comfortable with. We didn’t focus on the music itself, but instead focused on coming up with unique moves without following the song. This felt different, because I usually create choreographies that flow with the music. Honestly, I didn’t think everything would fit together when it was complete. However, after weeks of practicing and planning, the pieces fit together in a unique way. All of our moves came naturally and everyone loved dancing together. It’s important to consider different ways of dancing, because it really is a form of expression. I was excited to dance with everyone in the Young Women’s Leadership Program, because I loved learning from Riti and all my peers. This process expanded my view of dancing even further, and allowed me to feel comfortable dancing around everyone else. I truly believe this will help me in the long run, to be more confident and work well with others.”

- Tasmim

SAYA Youth Visit Royal Bank of Canada Offices

IMG_2188 (1).JPG

On November 6, 2018, SAYA youth visited the offices of RBC - touring the trading floor and attending a panel where staff members shared their paths to success. Below are the reflections from one attendee:

“SAYA gave us the opportunity to interact with staff members of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), who discussed the struggles, benefits, and successes they’ve had on the road to achieving their careers.

We walked in to their offices, which were located inside a mall - I found this location interesting & different. I also noticed that staff had to use their ID’s to enter, and there was a guard watching who entered and exited. I could tell security is high at banks.

Copy of IMG-4799.JPG

When we arrived, a staff member took us to the 8th floor and showed us how things work on the trading floor. He also explained the duties of each person on the trading floor. Some workers had one, two, three, or even four computer screens in front of them to keep track of different companies! Some RBC staff communicate with businesses owners in other countries.

On each computer, there were green, red, and gray highlights that kept moving. Each color had numbers and names, and the staff explained how each one represents a company or website that is increasing in value. The green represents a lot of activity and the red, not so much. On the trading floor there were a lot of clocks that represented the time in many countries. This was very helpful for the staff on the trading floor, because they knew the time and hours of business in each state or country.

Copy of IMG-4832.JPG

After the tour we played a quick game. The game helped me understand how banks are run, and how interest can either help us gain or lose money. We also attended a panel discussion, where staff members talked about their ideas of how to be successful.  Their ideas included: Having connections and knowing how to communicate, hustling: working hard and smart at the same time, and always having dedication. I found these ideas inspirational and useful advice. Showing interest and dedication, and giving all of your attention to work can make you distinguished in your field. I believe dedication leads to success because nothing can be done correctly if you don’t dedicate time to it. The last idea we heard was communication, which helps people discover who you are and opens up opportunities. As soon as I heard that, I knew I had work to do. In the Young Women’s Leadership Program, we are working to improve our communication, which will help me in the future and my career.”


Copy of IMG-4830.JPG

SAYA Youth Visit Bryant Park Holiday Market


SAYA youth from our program at Newcomers High School recently took a trip to Bryant Park, where they visited the holiday market and took in the sights. One program participant wrote about her experience:

“Exploring new things, visiting new places, and letting myself get lost in the crowd is one of my favorite things to do. And doing my favorite things is the most wonderful feeling in the world. There is nothing quite like visiting a new place.  

Most people get caught up in their lives and their daily routine of going to school or working, studying, sleeping, eating, and living. They become self-absorbed to the point that it affects their health, their happiness, and their perspective. I believe one way to fix this is to explore our great big world, and remember there are billions of people who each day are living their lives and having their own unique experiences.


During my time at SAYA, I’ve visited many places, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Hudson River Park, the Botanical Garden, Roosevelt Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, Hunter's Point South Park, Columbia University, and most recently Bryant Park, on October 31st - Halloween.

Bryant Park was beautiful and amazing, and I lost myself in it. The park is located in the borough of Manhattan, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Midtown. That day I also learned that the main branch of the New York Public Library is located across from the park. I enjoyed watching people ice skating there. Because the holiday season is almost here, there were many little shops in the park selling different things such as jewelry, Christmas dolls, baby clothes, toys, crafts and designs, handmade soaps, candles, and lots of others amazing things. I really enjoyed the candles that were decorated with seashells, and butterflies, and flowers. They glowed when I held them under the lights. It was really amazing!”

- Jeba

SAYA Youth Visit Adelphi and Stony Brook University


On Monday, November 12th, 34 SAYA high school youth visited Adelphi 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:

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 12.28.37 PM.png

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

Screen Shot 2018-11-14 at 12.28.09 PM.png

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 we 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

IMG_2413 (2).JPG

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:

IMG_9304 (1).jpg

"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

IMG_9325 (1).jpg

"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!