COMMUNITY: The area surrounding New Settlement Apartments is one of the most at-risk in the city, in terms of poverty, literacy, and education. Community School District 9 is located in the poorest urban Congressional district in the entire country. Less than 30% of elementary and middle-school students in the District meet the state and city requirements in reading or math. Almost 50% of District schools responding to a recent arts education survey had no full time certified arts teachers on staff; and 30% had no arts staff at all. In New Settlement’s immediate neighborhood, only 11% of students graduate college ready.
PROGRAM: NSA’s Program for Girls & Young Women works year-round to fill this opportunity gap. It provides a safe and supportive environment for girls and young women to express themselves through the performing arts; protect themselves against violence, unplanned pregnancies and STIs; explore college and career options; and develop leadership skills. All classes are free. The Program for Girls & Young Women serves approximately 185 girls and young women aged 9-18 annually.
IN MY WORDS Teaching Artists: IN MY WORDS has been conceived and developed by Renee Benson and Joy Leonard, Director of New Settlement’s Program for Girls & Young Women. The awesome and amazing Teaching Artists for 2018 are Singer/Songwriter Renee Benson, Storyteller/Filmmaker Michaela Lesile Rule, and Poet/Painter/Performer Vaimoana Niumeitolu.
NEW SETTLEMENT APARTMENTS: Founded in 1990, New Settlement Apartments (NSA) is a non-profit organization that provides affordable homes, positive youth development, and organizing for over 16,000 community members in the Southwest Bronx, including residents, children and youth in after-school programs, youth and adults served by our College Access Center, students at the New Settlement Community Campus (Mount Eden Children’s Academy x555 and Comprehensive Model School Project x327), and members of the New Settlement Community Center. We envision a vibrant, diverse and equitable community in which all individuals and families have the power to make quality choices about education, employment, housing, wellness and creative expression.