Ellie’s Experience with the Go Project

Over the summer of 2016 I interned with the Go Project, an organization in New York City that aims to bridge the educational gap that our city’s public school system is faced with.  Go Project distinguishes itself from other organizations of its kind by helping the children who are struggling the most in their schools.  This is unique because most services and organizations serve the students who are succeeding the most.  Effectively, kids who are already struggling in their schools continue to do so in increasingly magnified proportions, while others who are succeeding are the ones given the resources to further succeed.  

My days at the Go Project were divided into two sections: professional development and class time.  During professional development, I along with other interns discussed a variety of topics including segregation in New York City public schools, diversity and privilege, and educational equity.  Each week we were given several articles concerning one of these subjects and then had to write a reflection based on a query and the thoughts the articles evoked in us.  While I had always advocated the importance of education, as it plays a primary role in the ability for one to be socially and economically mobile and limits the presence of an aristocratic society,  these sessions helped to enhance my understanding of the importance of educational equity as well as the various elements that plague our city’s education system today.  Following the professional development sessions I would teach 3 music classes for first grade students.  The students’ day began with the academic classes, like English, math, and science, and ended with enrichment classes, such as karate, music, and improv/drama.  

YPI Service Reflection: Jane Barker CAC

Ellie Valentine

Jamie Lieberman

World History 9

5.8.14

YPI Service Reflection

For the past few months ninth grade history students have been studying one social issue of their choice in small groups which directly affects the NYC community.  In addition we have learned about a non-profit organization that helps people from the city that are impacted by the issue we had originally chosen.   My group chose to learn about child abuse.  Child abuse not only affects the victims of the abuse, but also the community and economy of the entire country.  Child abuse can result in a variety of mental and physical illnesses in the victim, many of which can last a whole lifetime.  The communities in which child abuse is particularly prevalent, there is also shown to be an increase in homelessness, violence and crime, and amount of people living below the poverty line.  As a result of the increase in poverty-stricken neighborhoods, taxpayers have to pay a much greater amount of money to government-funded unemployment programs which results in less economic productivity.  In addition, taxpayers pay approximately $124 billion that goes towards paying expenses and funding programs directly and indirectly involved with child abuse.  Direct costs include immediate costs of hospitalization/physical health care, mental health care, child welfare programs, and law enforcement and legal services relating to child maltreatment, while indirect costs include treating people with impaired physical and mental health, treating people who have substance abuse, funding for jails, programs having to do with teenage pregnancies, and finally unemployment and underemployment services.  The organization that we chose, the Jane Barker Child Advocacy Center, was revolutionary in helping the victims of child abuse and ultimately lowered many costs.  The Jane Barker CAC, located in Brooklyn, is part of Safe Horizon an NYC-based organization that helps victims of domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, as well as homeless youth and families of homicide victims.  Jane Barker was revolutionary in their tactics of helping abused children because they were able to combine all six agencies involved in a child abuse case,  the district attorneys’ offices, medical centers and hospitals, CPS, ACS,  Safe Horizon’s clinical and counseling staff, and also their own medical and mental health examiners.  This technique has proven to reduce the trauma experienced by a child by limiting the amount of times they must recount their tale of abuse to 1-2 times, unlike the previous 12-20 times.

In the beginning of this project, I doubted the extent that child abuse had on the rest of the NYC community.  Although at no point did I doubt how terrible this issue was, I didn’t think that it affected people outside of the victims to the magnitude that it does.  Learning certain facts about child abuse, such as ⅓ of victims go on to abuse their own children, made me feel much more passionate about stopping abuse.  Although I was particularly struck by this issue, I found it very challenging to get across to our audience to what extent this issue affects us, being part of the NYC community.  For people who are not abused relating to the abused children is very difficult, which is why I found this challenging.  However for me, overtime,  I was able to understand more because I read so much about it, but for people who were just listening to our presentation it was hard for us to get them to be able to relate since it seems like such a foreign issue to many.

 

Acknowledgment: None.

Works Cited:

“About Us.” Safe Horizon ::. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 May 2014.