The Children’s Aid Society 6th Annual Youth Speak Out

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Energetic youth brought down the house on Thursday, April 1st at the 6th Annual Youth Speak Out on Education, presented by The Children’s Aid Society and The Audrey Miller Poritzky Education Fund for Children. Approximately 150 teens from Children’s Aid community centers and schools came together in a beautiful space provided by New York University.

This year, students decided to concentrate on homelessness, the foster care system and effects on academic success. The students’ research was presented in various PowerPoint presentations and skits. The highlight for me was the Q & A between City Council members and the students which was moderated by James Ford, lead reporter from “PIX Morning News” of WPIX. The students challenged the panel with interesting questions about budget cuts and charter schools. Also present to tackle some questions was New York City Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott, who has attended the conference every year. “We work very hard to not penalize homeless youth,” said the Deputy Mayor, in response to students who are struggling to complete a high school education because of homelessness or their records not following them through the foster care system. “We, the system, should not contribute to kids missing school.” I had a seat near Deputy Mayor Walcott and was happy to notice his undivided attention was focused on Children’s Aid.

To tie up the conference, The Audrey Miller Poritzky Education Fund for Children presented three high school seniors with scholarships. On hand to help hand out the awards were Dr. Laurence Miller and his granddaughter Sophie.