For the past two years, Xavier Reyes, 13, has traveled all the way from the Bronx to attend a Children’s Aid community school in Washington Heights. The reason is simple: your support has opened up a world of opportunity to him.
An eighth grader at our Mirabal Sisters campus, Xavier takes advantage of a variety of after-school programs that help reinforce what he learns each day. So far, he has participated in robotics club, taken a boat-building course and even attended a space camp halfway around the world, in Izmir, Turkey.
“No other school would have given me so many opportunities and helped me be the person that I am today,” Xavier says.
Children’s Aid programs are a family affair. His mother, Margarita Ramirez, is an engaged and active parent at the school, where she has taken part in workshops on nutrition, baking and curtain design.
As Xavier moves on to high school and then college, Children’s Aid is monitoring his progress along the way. To ensure his academic success, we track his attendance, his interest in learning new concepts and his capacity to manage his time and set appropriate short- and long-term goals.
Providing social-emotional support is another priority. Through his participation in multiple, structured peer groups after school and throughout the summer, we are watching as Xavier builds trust and deep personal connections with peers, and develops strong feelings about his own capabilities—all of which helps him express his thoughts and feelings in productive ways.
To keep him healthy, we provide Xavier access to a full-service health center—with medical, dental and mental health services—right in his school. Meanwhile, through exposure to our “Go!Healthy” program, Xavier has demonstrated an interest in nutrition and a desire to prepare healthy meals at home.
Our last area of focus is on Xavier’s family life. The adults around him, at home and in his school, work in partnership to support his goals. His mother says that these friendships are “like a second family watching out for Xavier.” And through her involvement in the life of the school, she has begun to make her aspirations for Xavier’s higher education clear to him at home, which research shows will increase the likelihood that he gets to and through college.
For now, Xavier is focused on computer science and math, while the community around him encourages and supports him to follow his dream: One day, he says, he will work at Apple as an engineer.