Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A PROMISE Corps Experience

Today we begin a new series in which we will periodically post a piece written by one of our Hudson PROMISE Corps members, reflecting upon their experience. Today, we introduce you to Sharece Johnson, a Hudson PROMISE Corps member placed in Montgomery C. Smith Intermediate School.

Sharece volunteered as a face painter-extraordinaire at the 2013 Block Party.

My PROMISE Corps Experience
Sharece Johnson
Before my family and I moved to Hudson, I lived in Queens. My public school experience was not really the most favorable. I don't remember the things I learned, I just remember dodging the bullies. But then my mother told me that I was going to live with my sister upstate for a while until she could find a place here. I was sad to leave but excited for a change. I wanted something new and I hoped that I would make more friends.

The first teacher I had when I arrived to Hudson was my third grade teacher, Mrs. Huemmer. Luckily enough I am now the AmeriCorps mentor in her classroom. It's nice to see that she still plays the same games like mad math minute and around the world which I got to conduct in her absence with a substitute. I also like that she still reads amazing books to the class. Mrs. Huemmer is the reason for my Harry Potter obsession. Being in her class makes my job easier and much more fun than I had hoped for.

Moving to Hudson was an amazing change for me. I can say I was heavily involved in my community – from painting murals to gardening, writing, and performing in plays.
Hudson was a huge turn around for my education and social experiences. I had wonderful guidance from people like Maija Reed, a dear friend and youth director of Time and Space limited a few years ago, Rob Caldwell, dear friend and guitar tutor at Musica, and Dara Lurie another dear friend and poetry mentor. I look up to these people because they have made my childhood a memorable one and with AmeriCorps I pledge to be exactly what these people were for me: a guide, cheerleader, helping hand, a friend, and a role model. I am more than proud to wear my AmeriCorps pin and give back to my community what it has given me.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Building the Promise for 2014

With the start of the holiday season and the end of our federal Department of Education grant, GHPN is launching an end-of-year Indiegogo giving campaign, Building the Promise for 2014. Donations are essential to our ability to carry out our mission and to continue to grow our programming, and are especially important this year, as GHPN moves toward becoming an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. All donations continue to go through Catholic Charities of Columbia and Greene Counties and are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Please visit our Indiegogo site, consider making a gift and share with your friends and family. 

This year has marked an important shift for the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood Project. Not only is this year the end of our planning period, and grant from the US Department of Education, but it also  marks the shift of GHPN from a project of Catholic Charities to an independent organization, rooted in the community from which it grew.

Our planning period was successful and effective, bringing together community partners from over thirty organizations and agencies forming working groups and action teams to address and plan for the educational needs of our community. We collected data and conducted a needs assessment, hosted neighborhood clean-ups and block parties, implemented pilot programs such as Ballroom Basix and Families of Promise, and, together with the Mental Health Association of Columbia-Greene Counties, initiated Hudson’s first AmeriCorps program, Hudson PROMISE Corps, which supports our students in the classroom and in after-school programs. 

NaQuera Roach, a former member of the Youth Advisory Board and current Hudson PROMISE Corps member, sums up what GHPN has meant for her: "I’ve been working with GHPN since the very beginning, and have been a part of its growth ever since. It has been inspiring for me to witness something that will be so important to my community. I know that what the GHPN is doing today is going to positively affect the children of tomorrow. I hope we continue to help out the community in every which way possible and take on the 'whatever it takes' attitude.”  

As we enter into the Promise Neighborhood’s new phase, away from planning and into implementation, we rely more and more upon the support of our community members and partners to help us accomplish our mission. It is through that help and support that GHPN will continue to offer and grow our programs. Now, more than ever, your support matters. Through the dedication and support of community members, such as yourself, we can ensure that Hudson’s students succeed. Please consider a gift to help support the Promise Neighborhood.

 Thank you! We wish you a very happy holiday season.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Families of Promise Begins November 9th

The Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood is excited to announce the second cycle of Families of Promise, a six-week program for expecting parents, and parents with children under the age of 3, who reside within the Hudson City School District.

The program, which is free to parents who live within HCSD, will cover new topics each week including: nutrition, health, childhood development, safety, and discipline.  Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in classes such as pre-natal yoga, knitting and workshops for dads. Participants will receive incentives such as: books, toys, baby equipment and be entered in raffles, and will have the opportunity to win one month's free rent (up to $500). Childcare will also be provided for those who need it.

Families of Promise begins November 9th and will run Saturdays through December 21st. For more information, contact GHNP at (518) 828-8660 or Click here for the registration packet, y aqui para la forma en espaƱol.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Back-to-School Event on Tuesday, 8/27!

We are excited to host our second-annual Back-to-School Event on Tuesday, August 27th from 4-7pm at John L. Edwards Elementary School. The event is for families of children who will be attending the elementary or intermediate schools this year. Free food and drinks will be provided, and give-aways will be given to the first 200 children.

Join us! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Meet Our Interns: Skylar

My name is Skylar Pertilla, and I was born and raised in Hudson, New York. I attended and graduated from Hudson High School in the class of 2010. I have been a student at Western Connecticut State University for three years and this up-coming semester I will be a senior in college, graduating as a member of the National Honor Society at my school. My experiences in college have humbled and matured me in many ways I never thought possible, and I am grateful and fortunate to have the support and opportunity to be able to attend. This summer I was chosen for a summer youth employment position with the Columbia County Department of Social Services. The goal for the summer Youth Employment Program is to expose college students to employment opportunities within Columbia County so that we can be exposed to many different career opportunities for Columbia County.  I am also honored to have the opportunity to be an intern for The Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood this summer because they find solutions of school and community approaches for families and children, and to be a part of this organization will enhance my professional experience. This organization complements my goals of becoming a family and marriage therapist, so I can help bridge families and marriages back together. I will learn more about community outreach and help with many different events that I will partake in for the summer.

During my first week as an intern, another bright young lady, NaQuera Roach, and I are learning to write up a press release. It was a little difficult because we didn’t know what to expect and we both never have written one before. The first day, I learned all about the foundations of the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood project and how it is based on the model of another successful organization called the Harlem Children’s Zone.  Knowing that the Harlem Children’s Zone has been a success makes me more excited to be a part of GHPN. To know that others who are less fortunate have an opportunity to receive higher education is remarkable. It is interesting to read about the different approaches the Harlem Children’s Zone has used to help parents and schools become more engaged with the children. To have a huge support system can motivate anyone to become a better individual.

The second day, I was able to take a sneak peek at Solaris located on 360 Warren street. This is where Families of Promise will take place. Families of Promise is an eight week program for expecting mothers and fathers that live in the Hudson City School District. This is a program based on the Harlem Children’s Zone’s highly successful Baby College®. Many different topics on nutrition, immunizations, developmental milestones, safety, and discipline will be explored, so take advantage. What I really liked about Solaris was how inviting it felt. The colors were warm and earth tone. I use to live next door as a child so to see how they renovated the building was nice. They have a beautiful gift shop that smelled of a very potent green tea. Joan E. Hunt said the tea was so strong it can cure a cold overnight. I may have to buy it then. Their kitchen was the ultimate best and to know that they have a free community dinner every Tuesday night is commendable. I was able to see the floor of where Families of Promise will be meeting, and I have never seen so many porch decks in my life.

Earlier that day I was able to attend my first meeting as an intern with Joan E. Hunt at Etsy in Hudson. One of Etsy’s main goals is building community, and I, along with others from the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood, was there to build a relationship for future collaboration with Etsy to network. The last thing I was able to do for the week was to write this blog and tell my experience. I am so proud to be able to share my experiences and learn from the different elements of GHPN that I can implement into my life as I get older. I would like to thank my Uncle William C. Hughes Jr., Paul Mossman, Commissioner of Columbia County Department of Social Services, and Joan E. Hunt, Project Manager of the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood for this opportunity because not only will GHPN influence and make a difference in other people’s lives, it will make a difference in mine.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Announcing Families of Promise

We are excited to announce Families of Promise, a new seven-week program for expecting parents who reside in the Hudson City School District. The program, which is free to parents in HCSD, will cover new topics each week including: nutrition, health, childhood development, safety, and discipline.  Participants will also have the opportunity to participate in classes such as pre-natal yoga, knitting and workshops for dads. Participants will receive give-aways and be entered in raffles, including the chance to win one month's free rent (up to $500). Childcare will also be provided for those who need it.

Families of Promise begins August 10th and will run Saturdays through September 28th. The deadline for applications is August 2, 2013 at noon. For more information, contact GHNP at (518) 828-8660 or Click here for the registration packet.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Meet Our Interns: Quera

My name is NaQuera Roach and I graduated from Hudson High School in the class of 2013. I am originally from Hudson, New York but have also grown up in Albany, New York and a few cities in Georgia. In the fall, I will be attending Columbia Greene Community College as a freshman. I have not decided on my major yet. While in Hudson for these past nine years, I have tried to do as much as possible in helping out. I volunteered a lot of my time and also joined the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood Youth Advisory Board (GHPN YAB) in March of 2012. The GHPN YAB was created to help make Hudson a better place overall for everyone with the help of the input from the younger generation. While in the Youth Advisory Board, we, along with the rest of the Greater Hudson Promise Neighborhood and some volunteer residents of Hudson, have hosted community events. Some of these events include but are not limited to, a community breakfast, basketball skills and drills day, two block parties, two community clean-up days, and a back-to-school event. In the YAB we have began creating a documentary on various ages of people in Hudson and also went on a retreat at Camp Ramapo. We have also helped to conduct some of the surveys with the rest of the GHPN. I also helped the Hudson High art club in coming up with a T-shirt design to be sold to help support  he future GHPN.

On Monday, July 8, 2013 I began my summer internship with GHPN. I gladly accepted the job offer from the project manager, Joan E. Hunt. From the day I met Joanie, she has always been someone that I commended for all of her hard work and drive to help others. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this job but I knew that whatever we did, we would continue to make Hudson a better place. I was happy when I realized I would be working with the intelligent and funny, Skylar Pertilla too. She used to be someone that I thought was really cool growing up.
So far, my experience working here has been fun, interesting and educational. I knew a few facts about the Harlem Children’s Zone going into this job, and how that was where the whole idea for the Promise Neighborhoods around the country came from, but I learned so much more that I did not know. The organization helps out more people than just the children. They help out the children, new and expecting parents, and also do things with the older people. I especially loved their idea for “Baby College.” It is because of their success in helping out the whole community, especially the children who would have never even considered college, helping their academic scores go up significantly and teaching them that they can be successful and go to college, that others wanted to replicate the same idea. I also enjoyed going to Etsy. I learned that they help people who make things, try to sell their items online. They also try to help organizations within a community in different ways. Solaris was also a great experience because we were able to meet the owner, Kam Bellamy, and she took us on a tour of the whole building and told of the many things they do there. I liked the idea that they worked with people of all ages and abilities to do activities and show them that they have a “meaningful contribution to make to their world” (( )). They even do lots of things for the community in hosting some events and even having a community dinner every Tuesday at 5:30pm. They love helping local organizations set up meaningful projects in which many people all throughout the community can enjoy. In the near future, the GHPN would like to host their take on “Baby College” known as “Families of Promise,” at Solaris.
I know that what the GHPN is doing today is going to positively effect the children of tomorrow. I hope we continue to help out the community in every which way possible and take on the “whatever it takes” attitude.