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Student Advocacy

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Disabilities, Disabled Persons Rights, Education, Educational Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Student Advocacy’s mission is to provide an effective voice for children who face significant obstacles in school, so that they receive the resources they need to succeed educationally and rediscover their lives. We accomplish our mission by: • Providing educational advocacy services for individuals to improve school opportunities and enhance educational outcomes; • Empowering families to become better advocates for their children by offering technical assistance and training; • Collaborating with community organizations, parents and school districts in policy advocacy to make needed reforms in the education system. Student Advocacy, now in it’s 37th year, works with students (K-12) in Westchester County who are seriously struggling in school. These students may suffer from undiagnosed learning disabilities, mental health issues, issues at home/difficult family life, or physical challenges; all of which impair their ability to learn. Student Advocacy seeks to understand each child’s obstacles to learning, then works with school districts to secure the services and programs that will allow our clients to flourish.

Results: Data shows that just three months after we’ve completed service, nearly 90% of students are doing better in school. As well, these students regain confidence in themselves and optimism about their future. Without intervention, many will drop out, begin using drugs, join gangs, or become entangled in the juvenile justice system. But with the assistance of our team of attorneys and advocates, they can get back on track. We are the only organization in Westchester doing this kind of work, so if a family can’t get to us, there is nowhere else to turn. Student Advocacy works with every school district in Westchester County, and almost all our clients live below the poverty line. We have a year-round waitlist because the need for our services far exceeds our capacity to help.

Community Stories

17 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My first association with Student Advocacy in 2000 was as a donor. As a speech therapist I recognized the importance of their work on behalf of those children in need of educational advocacy. Later I watched as one of their advocates helped to secure appropriate services for one of my own students with special needs. I became a board member in 2004, later serving as board president and am currently serving as a co-chair of the Board Advisory Council. I share my history with Student Advocacy to indicate the value I place on the extraordinary work of their dedicated advocates. The staff is both professional and caring.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to intern at Student Advocacy. The talented and dedicated staff works tirelessly to help children reach their educational potential, serving students facing a variety of significant obstacles to their education. Student Advocacy has an incredible impact in the Westchester County community and treats every child as a priority, doing everything in its power to give students the tools they need to succeed in school. The agency’s mission is inspiring and essential, and its work has impacted so many lives; it was an honor to work for Student Advocacy and the Westchester community is fortunate to have these life-changing services available

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Student Advocacy is a non-profit agency that helps

struggling students get the support they need to be successful

in school. It helps parents of failing children advocate for their

children and get the needed programs and interventions.

Student Advocacy is unique in what it does and is a

resource for families of limited income, who may not

understand their educational rights or how to get

the supports that are essential to their child’s success.
It has been my privilege to be associated with this organization for over 12 years, first as a parent of a child who required special placement and later as a Board member. I have watched scores of young people benefit from the work of our dedicated and devoted staff of advocates. These students have gone on to flourish in the right educational settings, given appropriate programs.
I am grateful as a parent, and proud as a Board member, of the outstanding work of Student Advocacy

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the board of Student Advocacy for the past 8 years and it has been a wonderful 8 years! Student Advocacy's focus is to help children in school with issues that they may have and are greatly suffering academically. So often the kids will come to SA with one issue and as our incredible advocates start pealing away the layers they see that there are many underlying issues that the schools have not picked up on. Once these kids are heard, listened to and placed in the right academic support they thrive. It is so wonderful to see these kids gain the confidence in themselves and see them blossom. Student Advocacy is a very special organization and the kids they help are so lucky to have them in their corner all over Westchester and Putnam Counties. I too am extremely lucky to be a part of such a wonderful, life changing organization.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a board member for several years, and have had the opportunity to see a tremendous professional growth in both the agency and the staff. While there might be others who may be able to offer similar services, there is nowhere else, and no one else available to help students and families with limited or no financial resources. The respect that the agency receives from the school districts, courts, DSS, Probation and other social service agencies is a clear testament to the expertise and abilities of our talented staff.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I've helped mobilize several major communities in Westchester County to address chronic truancy. Student Advocacy has been a powerful voice for families, and it has consistently helped inform our collaborative discussions with fresh viewpoints that have helped us understand how schools can make internal adjustments (relating to safety, transportation, school choice, special education services offered, etc.) that can help remove barriers to consistent attendance by children who have been chronically truant. As a result our collaborative work has been more balanced and effective. Student Advocacy has been widely recognized as a unique and vital resource for families experiencing educational difficulties, that helps families and schools work together more effectively.

8

Donor

Rating: 5

I have known of this agency for 26 years.I admire the work they do and hear regularly about their successes. Since the staff help many young women and girls be successful in school, they are empowering them and helping them to have successful lives.

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Many of the youth who come to my shelter have long-term conflicts at home. We work hard to tease out all the factors contributing to the struggles. Not surprising, school related problems are often a major factor. Student Advocacy is made up of dedicated and intellent attorneys and advocates who get the student record, work to understand the complexities of the family and the academic struggle. They help parents (ususlly mothers, often single mothers with a list of their own problems) understand the child better and help them without blame get the right services so their child can succeed. They produce amazing results. They form bonds with youth and families that last far beyond graduation. They are a life saving tool for many. I could not have the success we have in the shelter without their work.

9

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

Feedback from families has always been positive. They have "moved mountains" to help children with emotional and behaviors isses get the right servcies and the right time.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am an education law professor and have been on Student Advocacy's board since 2007. I am proud to be part of an organization that provides such practical, effective help to enable students to succeed in school. I think one of the best testaments to Student Advocacy is the fact that so many of their referrals come directly from school districts with whom they have worked in the past.

8

Board Member

Rating: 5

Student Advocacy is dedicated to obtaining for every child the education that best suits his or her skills and needs and to which they are entitled by law. By informing their parents or guardians (mothers are usually the ones who contact us) of the resources available to them, this can be accomplished. Of course, educating young women (and men) will create a new generation of productive and capable citizens. Currently, the agency is serving 667 children being served in 41 school districts.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

There is nothing more debilitating for a Mother than to have her child having serious problems in school. Whether the problems stem from behavioral issues, learning disabilities and/or health concerns, Student Advocacy works with the parent and the school to find a workable solution to get the student on a learning tract. The parent learns to advocate for her child with the teachers and school administrators as well as to effectively challenge her child. Student Advocacy has an excellent staff that works with the school and parent until a path to a successful school experience is developed. While not every child becomes an award winner for his or her progress, each child has a team for the student to rely on for help. What a relief this provides the whole family: the Mother especially and Father are freed from the worry and fear of being alone in dealing with a failing and/or ill child. School becomes part of the solution instead of the other half of the problem.

10

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We have often collaborated with Student Advocacy in seeking to remove or overcome educational barriers in order to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for children and youth experiencing homelessness. Student advocacy has also been helpful in providing technical assistance with educational law regarding the the rights of homeless students.

9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Student Advocacy, Inc. is probably the only organization of its kind within our 9 county region. So many families in the NY State area find themselves feeling marginalized and even victimized when their child needs the protection of educational advocacy. Not only do they serve the families with great vigor, but Student Advocacy offers families whose children may face significant challenges empathy, support, comfort, and respect that often is missing from their interaction with the general public and of course, the school systems. Student Advocacy, Inc. does not just protect a child's educational rights. Student Advocacy, Inc. makes certain the child and their family feels engaged in and supported in our society. Student Advocacy, Inc. is highly valued by the region, and is an ideal model for replication in other counties/regions.

6

Former staff

Rating: 5

As a former advocate, i know from having been on the inside, how dedicated the staff members of this agency are to helping students stay in school and achieve success. The agecny is staffed with extraordinary, dedicated and professional people. The agency functions so effectively because of its excellent advocates working under exceptional leadership.

7

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first heard of Student Advocacy I was not quite sure of what they did. However, after learning about all of the services they provide I can honestly say they are a truly amazing nonprofit. They provide an invaluable, and often otherwise inaccessible, service for many parents, especially young and under-privileged mothers. The advocates work with students to get them back on track in school, whether by setting up special accommodations in the classroom or recognizing previously undiagnosed issues, the advocates I worked with constantly amazed me with the efficiency and care with which they handled each case. Working with them for just one summer,I saw the Student Advocacy staff improve the lives of an incredible number of children and their families. The hard work this staff puts in everyday, and the inspiring results, make Student Advocacy a truly great nonprofit.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Student Advocacy just recently held its 15th OTO (Overcoming the Odds) Awards dinner. Prior to the dinner, I wrote a personal card to each of the four students and included a 25 dollar gift certificate from Target in order for the student to buy a little something to take to college. I felt so much pleasure while watching them go up to the podium and mention a little about their personal goals.