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City Year New York leads volunteer force to beautify Mosaic Preparatory Academy in East Harlem

City Year New York leads volunteer force to beautify East Harlem school
City Year New York leads volunteer force to beautify East Harlem school 02:06

NEW YORK - The 20th annual day of service for City Year New York brought 600 volunteers to East Harlem to beautify Mosaic Preparatory Academy.

City Year staff greet Mosaic students every day with pom poms and excitement. Now the students will be welcomed back from the long weekend with bright new murals to brighten their morning. The day of service's theme followed Martin Luther King, Jr.'s dream with his quote, "Make a career of humanity."

The small community school feels City Year New York's impact in almost every aspect of its offerings, from after school art and STEM programs to dental and eye exams. The nonprofit also supplements staff with AmeriCorps teachers who share a special connection with the kids.

"When you form those positive developmental relationships with those students, we begin to address those things we call ABCs, attendance, chronic absenteeism, behavioral, reducing behavioral incidents, and coursework for C, ELA and math tutoring," explains City Year New York executive director Quamid Francis.

Newly arrived students seeking asylum account for increased enrollment at the school, adding to the strain to provide for East Harlem families who already need extra help. Principal Daliz Vasquez understands their burden firsthand.

"I have always wanted to be a principal in a community school based on my own experience of coming to the United States at a young age where I didn't feel like I was seen or valued or heard," said Vasquez, who was born in Puerto Rico.

City Year New York team leader Luz Thomas helps break that cycle.

"I feel like the work I'm doing here has kind of galvanized that work and pushed me even more to be passionate about the work that we're doing," Thomas said, "especially coming out of the pandemic, how are we working with students as diverse learners from diverse backgrounds."

Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado showed his support as head of the state's new Office of Service and Civil Engagement.

"We have to meet people where they are at the state level and demonstrate that we are going to prioritize the work of love," Delgado told the group Monday.

"Having City Year here with us is such a joyful event to show that service so we can highlight the needs of the students, the parents and how we can lift up our community," added Community Board 11 Chair Xavier Santiago.

Uplifting messages on the new murals can encourage students to keep climbing higher.

Have a story idea or tip in Harlem? Email Jessi by CLICKING HERE.

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