As we bid 2022 adieu and spring forward into a promising 2023 with a renewed sense of mission and purpose, we’re looking back at the top ten moments from this past calendar year. Our Board of Directors, our staff and our community of volunteers and supporters went above and beyond in 2022 to ensure that our youth stayed engaged and empowered as they pursued their goals for themselves and their communities. We saw the results of their efforts each and every day; from improved attendance to the annual conference, global travels, college acceptances and scholarships, our young people are on the path to becoming global citizens and achieving post-secondary success in the 21st century.
Thank you to our Board, our funders, our amazing staff, and our supportive community for all that you do in support of our mission to educate, activate, and inspire thousands of youth in New York City and Washington DC. Your support has made programmatic achievements like those featured in 2022’s GK Top 10 possible!
GK’s trip to the Social Justice Institute at Western Connecticut State University in October. This interactive pre-college experience offered high school students the opportunity to share their experiences and ideas with other high school students and rising college freshmen from the Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey area and beyond.
During the trip, GK’s youth leaders met with WCSU professors who are experts in the field of social justice and engaged in discussions around gender equity, immigration rights, systemic racism, economic justice, environmental protection, and more. Our emerging activists and future changemakers learned about new ways to get involved in causes they care about and participated in a tour of the WCSU campus.
Our partnership with Council on Foreign Relations for our “U.S. in the World” Summer Institute took GK students to our nation’s capital and the Canadian Consulate this summer. During this immersive three-week summer institute, GK youth leaders gain access to the resources of the world’s leading international affairs thinktank and explore a variety of pressing global issues such as gun reform, climate justice, peace building, reproductive rights, and the war in Ukraine through interactive workshops, activities, and discussions.
During our Summer 2022 Institute, students visited Washington, DC, where they joined with students from GK’s DC programs to meet with U.S. Department of State’s Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley. Students also paid a visit to the White House and toured the campus of Howard University.
The Summer Institute concluded with a special trip to the Canadian Consulate, during which students were able to meet with international affairs experts and learn about their careers.
All year long, GK’s College & Career Readiness programming supports students as they prepare to transition from high school to college or professional training. GK staff offer students support and resources to navigate complicated college admissions and financial aid processes, be exposed to a wide range of career paths (including globally-focused ones!) and visit college campuses and professional offices. Since 2004, an average of 95% of enrollees have graduated from high school, 10% higher than the general NYC student population, with 91% matriculating to college.
At the conclusion of the 2021-2022 School Year, we celebrated our graduating seniors with our Senior Extravaganza and wished them luck on their postsecondary journeys!
27 students participated in the NYC Career Connect summer program, a collaboration with International High School at Union Square. Through NYC Career Connect, students who were ineligible for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) were able to earn a stipend AND an ELA credit for their completion of the program. The program was focused on entrepreneurship. Students heard from guest speakers, attended a local farmer’s market, engaged in interactive workshops, and completed a final project, in which they created their own social enterprises and marketing campaigns.
Using a human rights framework, HRAP gives youth the tools they need to influence public policy. Students identify and research environmental issues and develop campaigns for social change, which include public outreach, direct action, media strategies, meetings with elected officials, and networking with other organizations. Workshops in 2022 included instruction on the principles of community organizing, case studies in youth activism from both past and present, discourse on public health issues, a virtual racial justice speaker panel, and an in-depth analysis of the intersections of climate change, racism, and classism.
Additionally, GK’s HRAP/MENA club has over 15 participants and students have debated challenges that are occurring in MENA regions. MENA provides a space for youth to learn and discuss personal cultures, become active members of their communities, and receive academic and social/emotional support. Together, participants explore their diverse cultures and engage in community participation and Arabic debating.
GK connects high school students with college and career readiness opportunities through the Work, Learn & Grow (WLG) youth employment initiative and the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Through project-based learning and immersive work experiences, youth are able to earn money and explore potential career pathways. All of our WLG participants also received college credit for completing a Saturday CUNY courses!
During the fall of 2022, GK’s Racial Justice Institute gave a select group of student leaders the opportunity to explore racial justice policy through a weeklong institute, held November 7th – 13th. Inspired by the 1619 project, GK’s first ever Racial Justice Institute included workshops, teambuilding exercises, leadership development, an expert speaker panel, and an action project using digital media. Workshops covered topics such as Economic Justice, Voting Rights, Environmental Justice & Healthcare, Criminal Justice, and the School to Prison Pipeline. Through these discussions, student participants explored modern movements for racial justice as well as the special role youth can play in advancing racial equity.
The Institute concluded with a trip to Philadelphia, where students participated in a college campus visit at Cheney University, the oldest historically black college or university (HBCU) in the United States.
Two GK Leaders, Mohamed Alhuthaifi and Yohany Meneses, traveled abroad with Assistant Director of GK Practice & Impact, Carly Avezzano, to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt for COP27, this year’s iteration of the UN’s annual conference on climate change. Mohamed and Yohany spent the week attending and participating in press conferences, panels, workshops, and more, with plenty of opportunities to see the sights, network with leaders from across the globe, and speak out against our current climate crisis. Yohany spoke on the “Partnership for the Sustainable Development Goals” panel, and the students met and learned from other youth activists.
Mohamed and Yohany discussed their experiences in a primetime interview with NY1 on December 15th, 2022! Watch below or click here to watch.
On a Saturday in November 2022, 20 students from our Bronx school sites attended New York Urban League’s 35th Annual HBCU Fair at Riverbank State Park with GK staff. Students learned about post-secondary options and met with admissions professionals from Historically Black Colleges and Universities from across the country. Four GK high school seniors were admitted to colleges and awarded scholarships on the spot!
West Virginia State University, Tougaloo University, Virginia State University, Wilberforce University, Norfolk State University, and Johnson Smith University, among others, have extended acceptances to GK high school seniors.
Our top highlight of 2022 was our Annual Youth Conferences in New York City and Washington DC. Each year, a team of youth design and lead a conference around a topic of local and global importance. GK leaders work together to identify and secure plenary and guest speakers, organize performances, and design and facilitate peer-education workshops for hundreds of attendees.
In May, our annual GK-DC conference brought peers together to highlight the topic of Climate Justice. After six weeks of preparations, youth used their knowledge and skills to deliver engaging workshops to educate their peers on climate and environmental and climate issues.
In June, nearly two hundred middle and high schoolers from New York City public schools, in addition to visiting students from our DC programs and GK students’ school chaperones, convened at Hunter College in Manhattan for NYC’s annual student-led youth conference. GK youth leaders selected Hate Crimes as the focus of this year’s conference. Weeks of planning and preparations undertaken by the student conference planners culminated in a full day of youth-led workshops, meaningful discussions around the topic of hate crimes, special presentations, and a variety of musical, dance, and spoken word performances that showcased student voices, identity, and creativity. Student participants and their chaperones were joined by special guest speaker Hassan Naveed from the NYC Mayor’s Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes.
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NYC Department of Education
NYC Department of Youth & Community Development
NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice
New York State Office of Children and Family Services
New York State Senate
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG) / Denton’s Global Advisors
Distracted Globe Foundation
KKR & Co. Inc.
New Yankee Stadium Community Benefits Fund
Queens County District Attorney
Samuel Rubin Foundation
Silicon Valley Community Foundation
Staten Island Foundation
Richard Roberts, Board Chair
Werner Ahlers, Vice Chair
Tim Foley, Treasurer
Brooke Juniper, Secretary
Thierry W. Camerlynck
Tammea S. Tyler
Carole Artigiani, Founder and President Emerita, ex officio
Dominique R. Jones, Executive Director