What Advice Would You Give Your High School Self?

Board member SoVonna Day-Goins brought a winning table of enthusiastic spellers.

The Second Annual CDI Spelling Bee for Grownups was a Buzzing Success!

The spelling was creative, the bee-tinis were delicious, and thanks to the incredible support of our donors, we met our fundraising goal for CDI’s college and career preparation services.

Click here to learn more about our winners!

Jeff Hellman was the most creative speller! Jeff and SoVonna are CDI’s two newest board members.

Paul Thompson, third from left, and the rest of the Men’s Leadership Group show off their custom t-shirts.

Gaming and Giving Back

The Young Men’s Leadership Group at The High School for Health Professions and Human Services finished the year by organizing a video game tournament and service day. With the aim of bringing together their fellow students – both boys and girls – and giving back to their communities, the young men took charge of every aspect of planning. The group designed their own t-shirts, reserved the TVs and gaming systems, and ordered food for the charitable event. Tickets were free, but admission required that participants bring packages full toiletries and a handwritten note of encouragement for children in local shelters.

“When we were asked to to come up with our own event, we didn’t realize how much work it would be at first,” says Paul Thompson one of the group members.

“In the past, groups had done it with basketball, but we wanted to do something different that would include more types of students. Luckily, when we presented it to Principal Gentile, he liked the idea.” Principal Gentile said, “It was a great event. I was so proud of these young men for bringing together students from all different groups in the school to contribute to their communities. The best part is that at the same time they learned the values of leadership and how to work in a group.”

Paul says, “It was a lot! There were so many details we didn’t think about at first. Working in a group wasn’t easy with all those small things, but we worked together and got it done.” Paul is looking forward to working more with the group next year as long as it doesn’t interfere with his studies. “I’m entering my senior year. One of the great things about this project was we got more freshman and sophomores involved so next year they can take over and keep the group going.”

“Our students come from all over the world. Many of them live on their own and may incur expenses that don’t seem major, but can still throw them permanently off track,” says Margaret Aylward, Assistant Executive Director at CDI. “The Lissa Florman Eyeglass Fund helps eliminate those roadblocks and is one of our most valuable resources.” The Eyeglass Fund is an emergency fund created by a longtime CDI tutor.

The Lissa Florman Eyeglass Fund helps with a range of items, including MetroCards for new college students, eyeglasses, and other emergency medical and travel expenses. Funding like this is invaluable particularly to the older students CDI serves. If you want to support our young people this way, please contact us. And thank you to all of our donors and supporters!

BUY! SELL! Students at Credit Suisse learn how to trade stocks.

What Advice Would You Give Your High School Self?

This is a question asked by many of our students. A huge grateful shout out to our corporate partners Accenture, Credit Suisse, BNY Mellon, NYU Joint Diseases, Goldman Sachs, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center whose employees answered that and a whole range of other questions for our students this year. (Most common answers: take advantage of new opportunities, network and be prepared.)

Volunteers worked with hundreds of students sharing their educational and professional journeys, giving feedback on resumés and conducting mock interviews. Students were riveted by inspirational speakers Frederick Terrell, Vice Chairman of Investment Banking and Capital Markets at Credit Suisse and Brian Ruane, CEO of BNY Mellon Government Securities Services Corp.

Michael Roberts, Executive Director at CDI said “Interacting with corporate volunteers is integral to the career development of our students. These events help them to develop networking skills, quell anxiety about going for an interview, and see the diversity they might not expect at corporations. For the first time, they get a chance to envision themselves in professional settings and it can make a lasting impact.”

Volunteers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s HR Department practice interview skills with students at Manhattan Comprehensive.

Student Oretha S said “My favorite part of the event was when we discussed that the major you start with in college isn’t necessarily the career you end up in. That was a huge relief. I’ve been stressing about making the wrong decision.”

It’s not just our students who benefit. Volunteers walk away feeling just as fulfilled. “Thank you for reminding all of us the importance of both giving back and paying it forward!” as one volunteer said. CDI welcomes new volunteers and volunteer partnerships. If you’ve been thinking about how to give back and are interested in volunteering, don’t hesitate to contact us!

CDI is able to provide college and career preparation for over 4,000 young people in New York City every year thanks to the help of our donors. Click here to make a contribution today!