I got to know YPIE when I interviewed some students at a college interview day that they had organized. I was impressed by the organization but even more impressed by the kids -- bright and eager to learn, less polished, perhaps, than many I'd interviewed elsewhere but no less able. I decided to volunteer for YPIE.
I started working with students on their college applications, mostly the essays. The first student I worked with had three siblings, each with a different father, her own father had been murdered in front of her apartment building when she was three. Her mother was supportive but the bills were often unpaid and her home life was chaotic. As a result, she was incredibly well organized ... as well as being talented, very bright and intellectually curious.
She was also a perfectionist and would often change her essays (she wrote three) until, a week before the common application was due, she decided to write a new essay. She framed her essay with the story of how she saved up to buy a bike, put it together herself and prayed it would work...
"My life is a lot like that bike. It’s made of many different pieces with varying functions that don’t always seem to fit. Sometimes, I don’t have the tools to keep everything together, but I've learned to improvise or ask for help. Even when I think I've got everything put together, it can all fall apart."
She is now at Harvard studying to be a doctor, although when we last exchanged e-mails she told me that she's added a new hobby -- herpetology (lizards).
Of course, she is an exceptional student but I've now worked with many students who
are hard working and determined to make the most of any opportunity. Many YPIE kids are from families with no college experience and YPIE helps them decode and navigate the application process. But, YPIE begins working with students well before college essay time -- it provides structure and support for students who often do not have it at home thanks to a dedicated and able staff and a corps of volunteer mentors. Homework help, test strategy, life skills or just a sympathetic ear.
If you bemoan inequality in education and wring your hands over your inability to do something to help these "disadvantaged" kids fulfill their potential, please contribute to YPIE. Despite their many challenges, YPIE students work hard and they have earned our support.
I have been involved as a volunteer with YPIE for about eight years. During that time, I have worked as a mentor, college coach and essay coach. I have seen the organization constantly evolve and improve with student and volunteer input and by studying student successes. YPIE has made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many underserved students. Many of these students would not have had the guidance, ability or drive to apply, attend, fund or succeed in college. YPIE makes sure that every student has the access and assistance needed to strive for and reach their dreams.
I have been volunteering with YPIE for the past 4 years as a Graduation Coach. I have had the unique privilege of mentoring High School students in the city of Yonkers, NY where there is a tremendous need for students to be given additional support and encouragement to do well academically and personally so that attending college will be an option for them. YPIE is truly an amazing organization whose mission is to provide the necessary guidance and support to ensure that students are ready to navigate the college application process, that students enroll in college and that they complete a college degree. Beginning in ninth grade students are assigned to a mentor who works with them until they graduate. In my particular case I am excited to say that my two original students that I began working with 4 years ago have been accepted at colleges and will be staring their college careers soon. I have already begun to work with 2 new students during their second semester as High School Freshmen and will look forward to supporting them through the next three years. It is my belief that the deep personal connections that are developed between students and adults participating in the YPIE experience will pave the way for students to persist in creating meaningful lives and careers.
YPIE cares deeply about its students and their families, its staff and the hundreds of volunteers who work with the organization. I have been one of those volunteers since 2010. YPIEnot only provides significant training to its volunteers, and offers constructive feedback as needed to make it a better experience for both the student and the volunteer. The people who run and work for YPIE are forward-thinking, hard working, caring and deeply devoted to creating opportunity for the students.
Beyond its broad effort to prepare our students for the multi-step and complex college application and financial aid processes, YPIE's leadership incorporates DEI into their mission, and they constantly question why they are doing what they do and how they can do their work better. Several years go they developed an afterschool program and turned it into one that not only provides needed academic supports, but challenges the students to learn more broadly about life's opportunities: our student get involved in and present science research at a competive level and have earned numerous accolades. Other students were guided to explore journalism and then developed their own news outlet: The Quaran-Times, while still others engaged in debate and photography among a variety of opportunties.
Students are nourished both academically and socially; when they go off to college they have been exposed to at least the basics of independent living. Introduced through our afterschool enrichment program, YPIE's staff guides students through a world that is unfamiliar to most of them and many of their families; often, these students are the first in their family to go to college, or are children of immigrants, or are immigrants themselves, and unfamiliar with the American college process. YPIE staff enagage students in discussions covering a range of topics intended to prepare students for life as a college student, including setting up and using a bank account, understanding the debate around "safe spaces", and knowing whom to reach out to, for academic or emotional support on campus. YPIE's work is all-encompassing and they carry out their mission effectively and efficiently.
YPIE is a remarkable organization. I have volunteered for other organizations and worked in the not-for-profit/education world for over 25 years and YPIE stands out on many levels. The staff are dedicated to the students they serve and the mission of the agency; leadership is connected to and respectful of the community, as well as being aware of the broader context in which YPIE operates; volunteers care deeply about the students they mentor; programming is varied and there is an organizational willingness to adapt and grow. It is a rewarding experience to volunteer for YPIE and to get to know the staff and the amazing students who attend.
Yonkers Partners in Education is a wonderful organization. I have been a volunteer graduation coach for a high school student that I mentored for four years until she went on to college. It was a deeply satisfying experience. The YPIE staff are dedicated, organized, smart and supportive. I highly recommend this nonprofit to anyone interested in helping students reach their potential and fulfill their dreams of going to college.
YPIE is an outstanding organization with proven impact. I have been deeply involved with YPIE as a volunteer and board member since 2012, and I have seen first hand the seriousness of purpose, skill, and dedication of the staff and volunteers who have focused their energy on seeing that Yonkers students are prepared for, enroll in, and graduate from four year colleges.
Review from Guidestar
YPIE is an amazing organization that seeks to create an environment in Yonkers where children are thinking about colleges, visiting colleges and applying for them! In an era where budget cuts are happening at a rapid pace and unions are reluctant to allow outside help in for fear of loosing full time positions completely, YPIE has managed to share a space in High Schools. This has led to high school students that have never left NY to learn about and visit colleges. They have been an amazing resource helping children to not only see their future as brighter, but help them to achieve it. KUDOS to YPIE!
When I stopped teaching high school English, I looked around for a charity that would be a worthy recipient of the new time I had on my hands and, quite honestly, of any modest donations my husband and I hoped to contribute that year to a good cause. After reading about Executive Director Wendy Nadel in The New York Times, I found the educational non-profit that continues to meet these requirements: Yonkers Partners in Education.
A volunteer now since January of 2008, I can say without hesitation that YPIE fuels my belief that smart, good people, working very hard every day, can significantly change the lives of others. It’s no secret that Yonkers is a large, under-funded school district. Seventy-five percent of our 26,500 school age children live at or below the poverty level. YPIE works with school administrators and teachers to target significant educational needs or omissions in our schools and then to implement well researched programs that truly benefit students. Just a few of these programs include the establishment of a college and career advisory center in 6 of our 8 high schools; ACT and SAT prep/tutoring for every college bound student; overnight college campus tours; a family literacy program, that includes Yonkers Reads and the purchase and distribution of more than 15,000 outside reading books in Spanish and English for our elementary school children.
If you can make a donation to YPIE, I assure you your money will not end up funding a new school roof or anybody’s pension. YPIE raises all its own operating funds through private and corporate donations and tirelessly writes grant applications for funding that underwrites only the programs it chooses to implement, oversee and ultimately evaluate. Donors know exactly where their money is going and how effectively it’s being spent.
If you want to make a donation of time and ideas, this organization is for you. Volunteers from all parts of Westchester County and even New York City serve not only as fund raisers, but also board members, parent and community advisors, tutors, assistants to college advisors in the college centers, packers of books, and guest speakers for the YPIE Speaker’s Bureau.
Finally, many “YPIEers” are now my good friends, united by one mission: To improve the educational lives of our country’s greatest asset – our children. So, join in or donate without hesitation; I truly believe there’s not a more worthy, well-managed educational non-profit that will welcome your help.
Review from Guidestar