By Sebastián Líppez-De Castro (GA, Institute for Multigenerational Studies)
On Wednesday September 14, 2016 more than 60 guests visited the Binghamton University Downtown Center to see the new office space for Broome County Promise Zone and learn about the exciting plans for this academic year.
Luann Kida, Community Schools Director, presented Promise Zone staff, shared its accomplishments and plans to continue working with Broome County Schools. Kida pointed out the Promise Zone commitment to boost students’ retention and success, as well as to make schools a community asset where not only students, but also their families and communities at large, gather to join culture, diversity, learning, health, and other social services. In so doing, Promise Zone partners with school districts across the county to offer programs such as the Attendance Awareness Month, the Summer Zone (Camp), Social Skills Groups in Classrooms, Academic Support and Tutoring, After School Groups, Family Fun Nights, Parent Cafes, and much more. Promise Zone also collaborates with SUNY Broome, Binghamton University, the Broome County Office of Mental Health, Broome-Tioga BOCES and Broome County K-12 Schools, to promote Higher Education Access, Retention and Success (BC HEARS). Kida recalled that this is one of the five New York State Promise Zones, and that Broome County´s is made possible due to the collaboration between Binghamton University, Broome Tioga-BOCES, and the Broome County Department of Mental Health.
Laura Bronstein, Dean of the Binghamton University College of Community and Public Affairs, welcomed the guests and highlighted this pioneering endeavor. Dean Bronstein remarked that Broome County´s Promise Zone is the only initiative of its type in the country supported and hosted by a higher education institution. In that sense, Binghamton University, through its Institute for Multigenerational Studies, makes a unique contribution by decidedly investing its institutional, physical, research and professional strengths in this initiative. Dean Bronstein also acknowledged the critical role played by Governor Cuomo and State Assemblywomen Donna Lupardo in securing the funds needed.
Furthermore, Dean Bronstein shared her experiences and work with community schools. This construct collects numerous resources in the same place, promotes retention and graduation rates, and helps communities to unite, be more equitable, overcome hurdles, and raise their pride. Dean Bronstein signed copies of her book, School Linked Services: Promoting Equity for Children, Families and Communities, co-authored with Dr, Susan E. Mason. After the presentation attendees from the many university departments and community partner organizations toured the Promise Zone office.