A Community School’s Impact on a Mother and Her Family

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Lencis Andujar, currently the office manager at the Salomé Ureña de Henriquez Campus, has worked at few different schools for Children’s Aid over the last 17 years. However, her relationship with Children’s Aid community schools began even before that, at P.S. 5, which opened in the Washington Heights neighborhood in 1993.

Lencis has four sons, and when her second, Jeffrie, started the Early Childhood program at P.S. 5, in 1994, she found herself taking advantage of the opportunities provided by the community school. “While he was at school, I took the opportunity to go to college, first to learn the language, because I didn’t know any English,” she said. ”None at all.”

She also volunteered with the school’s family program. “You get the chance to give back, to go to school, to do things that are hard to do when you have kids,” she said. “You don’t have to worry about doctor’s appointments for instance… at P.S. 5 we had—and still have—a full-service school-based health clinic, and many other supports.” It was clear to her that the community schools model best supported her family.

“What’s important is we work with both the family and the kids, not just the kids. The parents can learn skills that help them earn a living, and they also learn to understand and help their children,” she said.

That was true for Lencis and her family. All four of her sons have been a part of Children’s Aid community schools from cradle-to-college, which was integral to their success according to Lencis. And she has recently graduated from Boricua College with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“Throughout these years, I’ve seen how many other families have been positively impacted by Children’s Aid, like mine has.”