Kaitlyn’s Story

If you asked Kaitlyn years ago about how her experience at SCO’s Madonna Heights would help her grow, she wouldn’t have had an answer. Kaitlyn’s painful childhood meant being in and out of hospitals, group homes, and residential programs starting at just 8 years old. After her 16th birthday, she arrived at SCO’s Madonna Heights campus feeling angry, defiant, untrusting, and alone. Her struggle persisted – until everything changed for the better.

According to Kaitlyn, every single person she encountered at Madonna Heights made her feel human, loved, important, safe, and secure. She thrived for two years living on the Madonna Heights campus with a new support system focused on helping her achieve her personal, emotional, and academic goals. Today, Kaitlyn is overjoyed to use her life experiences to help guide the next generation of young women as a Youth Advocate at Madonna Heights.

Kaitlyn’s journey gave her the knowledge and insight to show people that no one is alone, to encourage them to advocate for themselves and to guide them on the path to finding their self-worth.

“Knowing my story can influence the story of another young girl which inspires me to give back,” said Kaitlyn.

 

 

Fatu’s Story

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. She’s currently going to school and working full-time as a paralegal at Queens Defenders, which provides free services to low-income people. Not long ago, she was a recipient of those services.

You see, the future did not always look so bright for Fatu. When she came to live in one of SCO’s residences for youth in foster care in 2018, she had had a difficult childhood, and she’d been in trouble with the law.

When Fatu was 12, her mother returned to their native Liberia with her younger brother, leaving Fatu with an abusive family friend in Queens. She eventually ran away, joined a gang and got into trouble.

When she first came to SCO, Fatu was confrontational with staff and other residents. But despite her rocky start at her new home, SCO staff has been behind her since day one. They encouraged her to further her education and pursue her GED. They showed her the right way to do things, and most of all, they showed her they cared.

Fatu’s former Queens Defenders lawyer, Anthony Martone, played a pivotal role in her turnaround. He saw her potential and went the extra mile to help her by initiating an internship program at the firm for past clients who’ve been through the juvenile justice system. Fatu was the first intern and became the first full-time hire from the program.

Fatu is positive, respectful, and focused. She loves her job and it has inspired her to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice.

Her turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous, and it serves as an inspiration to other youth. Fatu is living proof of what is possible with a positive attitude, hard work, perseverance, and the help of caring adults who never stop believing in you.

See Fatu’s story in THE CITY.

(Photo: Ben Fractenberg-THE CITY)

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Bronx Arena High School

Bronx Arena High School is a partnership between the NYC Department of Education and SCO Family of Services. We work with over-aged and under-credited students who have not succeeded in traditional high schools. Our students and families make a serious commitment to successfully completing requirements to earn a New York State Regents diploma. Our staff makes an equally serious commitment to supporting students through that process.

Bronx Arena is an asynchronous blended-learning educational environment  aligned to Common Core and Regents requirements that is structured to meet the needs of individual students. Our curriculum is delivered electronically via a web-based platform, and is accessible to students both in and out of school. The electronic curriculum allows students to move through classes as they are able and we do not impose a structure of semesters or trimesters. We require revisions of work in order to insure that students who graduate are ready to meet the demands of college and/or career. Students can graduate at any time of year that they satisfy NYS requirements for a high school diploma.

Bronx Arena High School provides students with a supportive and personalized learning environment. Our school features:

  • A small learning community of 200 students
  • Advocate Counselors (AC) support each student’s academic, personal and social development
  • A full social service counseling and referral program
  • Parent participation is encouraged and parents are fully informed about student progress.
  • Paid supervised internships at a worksite in the school and/or community are available for students in good academic standing
  • College and career support
  • Students are expected to develop and implement a post high school plan prior to graduation

To request information and/or to attend an Open House please call 718-860-5056.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Students 16 through 20 years of age who are under-credited and want to receive a high school diploma

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

Admission to Bronx Arena High School is based on NYC DOE established eligibility criteria, an assessment of student motivation and need, a willingness to engage individually and in groups with Advocate Counselors, teachers and peers.

How to Access this Program or Service

To request information and/or to attend an Open House please call 718.860.5056. We have a rolling admission and graduation process.

Visit our website»

 

 

Success Stories

Kaitlyn’s Story

Importance of having patience, letting go and expressing my feelings without action

“Knowing my story can influence the story of another young girl which inspires me to give back,” said Kaitlyn. Learn More

Fatu’s Story

Changing Her Trajectory

At 19, Fatu’s future looks bright. She plans to go to Monroe College in the fall to follow her dream of becoming a lawyer. Learn More

98%

of the young adults in our Scattered Site Supportive Housing program were gainfully employed, engaged in school, or both

We provide

24,000

families and individuals with support services and community activities

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