In June, AHRC New York City’s five Project Search programs all commenced with a special graduation ceremony. Project Search is a collaborative partnership between AHRC NYC, the NYC Department of Education, ACCES-VR, OPWDD, and a host employer. Host employers include Montefiore Medical Center, Northwell Staten Island University Hospital, RXR Realty, Brooklyn Hospital Center, and New York Presbyterian-Queens Hospital. While in the student’s last year of high school, they attend school at one of the aforementioned host sites and participate in three different internships teaching competitive marketable job skills in order to best prepare them for the working world.
A Program That Changes Lives
Ceremonies in all five boroughs focused on the strides the students have made and the invaluable support they received from teachers and mentors. In Queens, Jaclyn Mucaria, President of New York Presbyterian-Queens Hospital, expressed her happiness with the students successfully completing their internships. She said she was reminded of the day when she met the interns in the boardroom and had told each of them to ask her a question. She advised each of them to work hard in order to achieve their goals.
“If you want to make a difference, you have to do it together,” Thomas Lanza, Lead Teacher at Hungerford School, said. “It was the mentors here that really impacted our students the most. We talked about you guys every day, we learned from you every day, and if it wasn’t for you, these students would not have learned the skills that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.”
“This has been the greatest part of my life, and I could never be more proud to be part of the first Project Search group at Staten Island University Hospital and to stand by all of these wonderful faces in the crowd talking to you,” said Quenten Benjamin, valedictorian of the graduating class. “You guys have changed my life.”
Remarkable Success Stories
In total, 46 students successfully completed the program this year. The student mentors from each site were recognized for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to helping the students learn and prepare for work. Nine graduates have already become employed and started working. Congratulations to all the graduates for a job well done!