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.

 

 

 

 

Alayah’s Story

Alayah was always curious. When she saw something, she wouldn’t just take it at face value. She wanted to learn more. “How does that work?” “Why did that happen?” “What makes it do that?”

Her inquisitive nature was one of the traits that made her such a good student. She loves to learn and always has.

Growing up in Philadelphia, Alayah was at the top of her class. When she moved to New York, however, she risked having to repeat her junior year because some of her credits did not transfer.

Determined to graduate on time with her class, Alayah transferred to SCO’s East Brooklyn Community High School (EBCHS.) East Brooklyn is a transfer high school in partnership with SCO Family of Services and the New York City Department of Education. Students there can earn credits at an accelerated rate, so Alayah was able to earn her remaining junior credits and all of her senior credits in the same academic year.

Upon her arrival at EBCHS, Alayah had one goal: Go to college. She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen.

In the Spring of her senior year, Alayah’s EBCHS Advocate Counselor told her about a college scholarship available through Garden of Dreams, the Inspire Scholarship, and it’s substantial – $40,000 ($10,000 per year for four years) and a brand-new MacBook.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with MSG Entertainment and MSG Sports to bring life-changing opportunities to young people in need. SCO Family of Services is one of their partner organizations.

When Alayah learned about the Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship, she jumped at the opportunity to apply. With a little help from her English teacher and a letter of recommendation from the EBCHS School Director, Alayah submitted her application.

Immersed in finishing out her senior year and applying to a myriad of colleges, Alayah received an email that she received a Garden of Dreams Inspire Scholarship! It was, in her words, an “Oh, my God! What a relief!” moment.

It really should come as no surprise. Her insatiable desire for knowledge made her the perfect candidate.

Alayah’s drive to go to college paid off. She was accepted into 16 colleges. Sixteen! In the end, Alayah chose North Carolina A&T University. It’s an excellent school and the people she talked to had great things to say about it.

Alayah plans to Major in Biology on the Pre-Med track, with a Minor in Psychology. She’d love to get into a top medical school and become a surgeon one day. She grew up helping to take care of people. It’s in her blood.

Alayah has set her goals high, but with her talent, drive and determination, she’s destined to achieve them all.

Congratulations, Alayah!

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SCO at East New York Middle School of Excellence

Community School • After School • Summer Rising

SCO’s After School Program at East New York Middle School of Excellence offers homework assistance and weekly instruction in visual arts, theater and storytelling, STEM, dance and fitness, group games and recreation, Healthy Living, restorative circles and youth leadership for students in grades 6-8. The program allows students to engage in activities that enrich their education, foster their academic achievement, and prepare them for future success. The After School Program is an essential resource for working families, providing a safe and enriching environment during out-of-school hours.

SCO’s Summer Rising at East New York Middle School of Excellence provides a safe and engaging summer experience, where children can develop academic, creative and artistic abilities through art, music, film, dance and sports. Our camps equip young people with leadership development, character building, recreation, and academic enrichment, including STEM and literacy programs. On-site activities are combined with cultural, educational and recreational trips throughout New York City. The program is open to students in grades 6-8.

East New York Middle School of Excellence is a designated Community School that has partnered with SCO Family of Services to create a center for enriching, supportive, and inclusive activities that bring together children, teens, and adults from the community.  As a Community School, ENYMSE is a neighborhood hub where students receive high-quality academic instruction, families can access social services, and the community comes together to share resources and address their common challenges. This holistic approach supports the social, emotional, physical and academic needs of students and creates a school environment where students, parents, faculty, and community groups work as partners to achieve stronger educational outcomes.

Who Can Benefit from this Program

Students of ENYMSE

Age Criteria or Other Eligibility Requirements

6th-8th graders

How to Access this Program or Service

Contact the program director at 718-688-6375 x3004 or 347-525-5647

 

Related News

Success Stories

Kaitlyn’s Story

From struggling to thriving, Kaitlyn shares personal growth experience at Madonna Heights with others

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

Alayah’s Story

Next Stop, College! Alayah O’Sullivan - East Brooklyn Community High School Class of 2022

She wanted to be the first in her family to go to college and she was determined to make it happen. Learn More

100%

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