From Poverty To Opportunity Symposium: Creating Supportive Work Experiences for Disconnected Youth

By: Natalie Diratsouian

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Part 3Panelists:

Moderator:  Greg Hambric, Regional Recruiter at Modell’s Sporting Goods


“Creating Supportive Work Experiences for Disconnected Youth” assessed the ways in which the panelists’ organizations’ representatives assist in providing disconnected youth with opportunities and training that may otherwise be either unavailable or difficult to obtain. The panelists demonstrated that disconnected youths have the potential to be high performers when given the right tools through education, partnership and a proactive approach.

The services outlined by the panelists range from initial resume-building and skill obtainment, to interview preparation, and on-the-job training. Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT), for instance, provides a service, “Reengagement Tuesdays,” during which the youth who recently obtained a job, works with professionals from OBT for approximately five weeks prior to starting the job. During this five-week period, OBT assesses and identifies the youth’s needs and goals, including: team building, training, childcare, and housing. Additionally, “Reengagement Tuesdays” provide a retention and follow-up service by allowing for some time in which the youths talk to each other and discuss difficult situations that they may encounter in the workplace in order to receive feedback and advice from their peers.

Some successes that the groups have maintained include securing corporate partnerships and identifying the youths’ interests in order to keep them engaged.… <Read More>

From Poverty To Opportunity Symposium: Retaining and Engaging High School-Aged Youth in Afterschool Programs

By: Catherine Barreda

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series box Part 2Panelists:

Moderator: Deborah N. Archer, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Law, New York Law School

NYLS Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Impact Center for Public Interest Law Co-Director Deborah N. Archer moderated a panel at the “From Poverty to Opportunity” Symposium titled “Retaining and Engaging High School-Aged Youth In Afterschool Programs.” Dean Archer introduced the panel, and the importance of afterschool programs serving as an intervening tool to keep youth engaged in school and to prevent young people from engaging in risky behavior especially during the hours of 3pm-6pm. The objective of this panel was to discuss how the different techniques used by various organizations throughout New York City have proved to be successful at engaging high school-aged young people through fun and innovative afterschool programs. The panel included staff members from several New York City organizations that provide afterschool programs. Each panelist discussed the services provided at his or her organization, and how those services benefit and motivate young people. Please see the summaries below for a description of the key ideas that were shared by each of the panelists.


Lea KixMiller, Program Supervisor, Center for Family Life in Sunset Park (“CFL”), SCO Family Services

Lea KixMiller attributed CFL’s success with teens to both a “diverse and committed staff,” and to the “ladder to leadership” approach taken by the organization.… <Read More>

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium: Helping Families Advocate for Safe and Adequate Housing

By: Pekhna Singh

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Part 1

Joanna Sorocki, Program Director at Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council
Michael McGhee, Program Coordinator at the Harlem Community Justice Center, Center for Court Innovation
Kathryn Neilson, Program Director at Legal Services NYC-Bronx
Stephanie Rudolph, Attorney with the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center

Moderator: Andrew Scherer, Professor at New York Law School

On August 12, 2014, New York Law School hosted a symposium entitled “From Poverty to Opportunity.” This symposium explored a variety of different issues that those plagued by poverty in an urban environment such as New York City face each day, and how non-profit service providers, experts in the legal field, community advocate groups, and other professionals can help.

In the panel entitled “Helping Families Advocate for Safe and Adequate Housing” the panelists briefly described the organizations they work for, cases and issues they deal with often, and the current state of the housing market for those seeking affordable housing.


Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council

Ms. Joanna Sorocki and the Ridgewood Bushwick Senior Citizens Council (RBSCC) primarily represent low-income families, the elderly, and individuals with disabilities in rent stabilized housing in the Ridgewood/Bushwick area of Brooklyn and Queens, New York. She manages a team that canvasses the neighborhood and reports its findings and current housing trends back to her and the organization.

Currently, she and her team have seen that the Bushwick/Ridgewood neighborhoods have been subject to extreme gentrification, and as a result, many low-income families and disabled and elderly people have been forced to leave their homes and relocate because of landlord interference and harassment.… <Read More>

“From Poverty to Opportunity” Symposium Series

From Poverty to Opportunity Symposium Series Intro boxFrom Poverty To Opportunity, a symposium organized by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) to mark the 50th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, took place at New York Law School on August 12, 2014.  DYCD partnered with the New York State Department of State, the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA), New York Law School, Modell’s Sporting Goods, and Healthfirst, to discuss ways to overcome and combat poverty.

The program featured experts from a number of non-profit agencies that receive federal Community Services Block Grant funding through DYCD, as well as local, state, and federal government officials.  Panel discussions were grouped thematically into three “tracks’ – Youth Services, Adult Services, and Immigrant Services.  Specific topics included after school programs, housing, health care, job readiness, working with immigrant parents, and services for victims of human trafficking, among others.  More than 300 people attended this all-day event.  The DYCD symposium is one of several different statewide public events that NYSCAA is presenting throughout New York, with each event focusing on poverty and issues that commonly arise out of poverty.

Several NYLS students and contributors to attended and reported on different panels that took place during the symposium.  We will be posting articles on the event over the next several weeks as part of a series.

To see the program from the event, please click here.


 … <Read More>

Abbey Center Capstone Projects: Student Contributions to Family Law Practice

by: Susan Imam

On April 2nd, 2014 New York Law School held its sixth annual Faculty/Student Presentation Day. Among those presenting were four Abbey Center Associates who discussed their Capstone projects. Capstones are independent research projects that also serve a practical purpose, and generally are done in collaboration with a non-profit organization or government agency. The panel included Michael Cabasso (3L), Mallory McGee (2L), Janine Diljohn (4L), and Sabine Rospide (4L).

  • Michael Cabasso began the panel discussing community based programs for court-involved youth and proposed a guide for judges, attorneys, youth and others of the alternative services. Michael worked with the New York Center for Juvenile Justice.
  • Mallory McGee, who worked with the Queens County District Attorney’s office on Saturdays, presented on the Queens County District Attorney’s Office Weekend Intern program and introduced a guide for future interns.
  • Janine Diljohn discussed health care proxies and powers of attorney and how they both can be used by the ill and elderly. Janine worked with The Family Center.
  • Sabine Rospide concluded the panel by proposing a new divorce mediation clinic at NYLS which would allow students the opportunity, working under the supervision of an attorney, to assist a couple in negotiating the terms of their divorce and completing the paperwork. Sabine worked with the New York Legal Assistance Group. 

Congratulations to the presenters and thank you to everyone who attended the presentation.

 … <Read More>