No. 3

 Zone 126 Newsletter
Message from our Executive Director

This fall, U.S. public schools are projected to have more minority students than ever: 25% Hispanic, 15% Black, 5% Asian and Pacific Islanders, and 5.2% other. Of concern with this long-expected demographic shift are the increased levels of poverty disproportionately experienced by minority families. Patricia Gandara, co-Director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA and a member of the White House Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, has recently emphasized the urgency of meeting the basic needs of these children, things like nutrition, health, and safety as key elements in raising educational achievement.  


This past winter/spring semester, Zone 126 and its Cradle to Career partners served more than 200 children and families and are now gearing to serve more than 800 children and families this fall/winter semester at our partner schools. We are addressing these basic needs, from birth through career, with everything from adult education to healthy food access, to mental health services and after school and summer programs for kids, building community schools that fight the stressors of poverty and raise academic achievement. Read More


Zone 126 Scholars Enjoy Camp and Visit Colleges this Summer

School may be out, but our Scholars of the Zone students are hard at work, even during the summer.


Scholars of the Zone, a Zone 126 program led by our Family Engagement Coordinators, facilitates one-on-one sessions with students who are in 9th and 10th grade to ensure that they are on track to graduate high school within four years. This summer, our Scholars attended the NYC College Fair at Columbia University this past July, a first time experience for many of our students. Students were able to learn more about the college application process while visiting over 100 colleges, including CUNY, SUNY, and private colleges and universities.


Their parents definitely see the value of our program too. Scholars of the Zone parent Betty shares, "From the moment we met, Zone 126 has been nothing but awesome, keeping in touch with me and exposing my daughter to new experiences that can help her mature into a young adult and be prepared for college. I have definitely benefited from Scholars of the Zone and want Koskaya to continue participating in this program."

Zone 126 and our Family Engagement Coordinators will resume the Scholars of the Zone program at our two partner high schools, William C. Bryant High School and Long Island City High School in the fall.


Astoria Day
Zone 126 was thrilled to be contacted by Lighthouse Outreach Ministries with a generous donation of 1,000 pairs of shoes for the residents of Astoria Houses. On Astoria Day, Saturday, August 16th, families came together for a day of fun and food and all of the shoes found new homes with excited parents and kids. As Ms. Claudia Coger, Astoria Houses Resident Association President, said "I believe it was a great idea, and the neighborhood truly appreciated it. You could see the children as well as the adults enjoying and wearing the shoes." 
Coming Soon: Zone 126 Baseline Report

On September 17th at the Zone 126 Cradle to Career Convening, we will be releasing our very first Report Card, which will summarize the data collected from programs launched this school year.


Through this year's data collection process, Zone 126 learned many lessons in the field that will be incorporated this fall. First, consent forms and surveys can be very intimidating for parents and their children. Zone 126's Family Engagement Coordinators have been a critical component in the evaluative process. By walking parents and guardians through the process on a step-by-step basis and answering any questions that arise, we were able to bolster our response rates. 

Another lesson learned with the data collection process is that too much paperwork can be burdensome, increasing the odds that parents and children, who are pressed for time as it is, would opt out of the study or leave fields blank. To overcome this obstacle, Zone 126 staff has worked tirelessly to follow up with participants and procure the information needed on a one-on-one basis. For this coming school year, we are excited to report that all forms will be more succinct in both format and content, allowing our participants to share their stories without being overburdened.

Zone 126 Grant Awards and Announcements

Zone 126 is proud to announce that we have been awarded several grants and awards, all of which will allow us to continue and expand our commitment to our Zone.

  • The Thomas and Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation: Zone 126 is ecstatic to announce the continued support of the Elmezzi Foundation with a new five year $3M pledge. This pledge is aimed to provide interim backing of Zone 126 infrastructure needs while the organization advances fundraising outcomes from other sources. The Elmezzi Foundation has invested over $2M in Zone 126 since 2011.
  • Altman Foundation: Through the generous support of the Altman Foundation, we have been awarded a $50,000 eighteen month capacity building grant.
  • New York City Council: We would like to thank District 22 Council Member Costa Constantinides for selecting Zone 126 to receive an $11,000 New York City Council discretionary award.
  • Taproot Foundation: Taproot Foundation has awarded Zone 126 a Strategic Planning Prep Service Grant, valued at $70,000.
  • Signature Bank: We value the support of our local corporate partners and are thrilled to have received a $1,000 gift from Signature Bank.  
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Zone 126
Unite. Commit. Impact.
 Zone 126 is driving community transformation for children and families in Astoria and Long Island City's concentrated pockets of poverty in zip codes 11101, 11102, and 11106.
Our Vision: For every child to graduate from high school prepared for college, and enter the workforce equipped with the skills needed to thrive in a 21st century world.

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