Be a Boss: Women Entrepreneurs Charting Their Own Path Panel and Networking Workshop

Our College Scholars experienced a full day of networking and career development advice as entrepreneurs explained what it means to be a boss and chart their own path.  This is one of the many ways in which we here at East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) invest in our students as they prepare for their futures.

Scholars heard from industry leaders Amanda Eilian, Co-Founder of Videolicious & Partner at _able; Nicole Gibbons, Founder & CEO of Clare; and Flori Marquez, Co-Founder of BlockFi. Each gave her own unique perspective and personal anecdotes on what becoming an entrepreneur means — including the processes of becoming your own boss. They also addressed the importance of internships in gaining real world experience, taking risks, following one’s passion and being able to handle rejection.

“I’ve been rejected a lot, and each time I’ve been rejected, I remember it…and it drives me to work harder…10 years from now I’m going to be able to say in an interview, that company didn’t give me the opportunity that I deserved, and instead I did something 10 times better,” shared Marquez. “Being able to drop other people’s biases…knowing that you’re intelligent, knowing you deserve to be there, and allowing that to continue to drive you forward is very powerful,” she continued.

A Q&A with audience members followed the panel discussion, involving CEOs and entrepreneurs from various arenas including politics, community affairs, marketing, finance, and more. We also opened up the floor to our Scholars and gave them the opportunity to ask questions and have one-on-one conversations.

The panelists shed light on the difficulties of proving oneself as a woman, especially as a woman of color. They emphasized confidence, creating a stable foundation, and knowing the business inside and out when attempting to own a room and get people to believe in their work.

Students continued their day in a variety of different workshops where they tackled social justice issues and networking best practices. Sade Lythcott, CEO of The National Black Theatre, brought all of the topics together in her keynote where she addressed social justice, health and wellness, and the unique path that got her where she is today.



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‘I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.’

Teaching Tolerance ran an article by Michelle Nicola, The Case for Love in the Classroom, highlighting the fact that students learn best from people they love (also, see NY Times opinion piece). It sheds light on what many of us in education understand—relationships matter when working with young people to support them in realizing their best possible selves. Our children must be equipped with not only amazing critical thinking skills, but also a strong emotional vocabulary to navigate our world. And it is revolutionary to #BuildLove in education spaces as a way to prepare our young people for their futures.

As we celebrated and honored Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. yesterday, I reflected on how he used love as a way to fight for social justice. His words about love have been used so much that it is easy for us to dismiss as clichè. Still, today more than ever, holding on to his sentiments is necessary. However you chose to honor him, my hope is that it was in action and with love. We invite you to further experience the value of service and get more involved with EHTP. We are always looking for educators and volunteers who share our passion for learning and social justice. Please go to or contact us for more information.


Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director

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East Harlem Scholars Academies Honor Local Heroes at Annual Celebration

As we look forward to breaking bread with family and friends, East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) is abundantly thankful: Our Scholars are thriving in school, knowing they have the support of the community around them as they strive to get to and through college.

That is why we honor members of our community every year for East Harlem Heroes Day, when we dedicate several classrooms to the role models that help our Scholars dream big and succeed. This day enables new and previous inductees to meet with students and visit their classrooms.

Now in its 7th year, East Harlem Heroes highlights an illustrious list of artists and community leaders, from Maya Angelou to Celia Cruz to Langston Hughes, and a host of EHTP alumni. This year our young Scholars were thrilled to honor:

  • Hiram Maristany, a photographer who has documented life in El Barrio for 40 years, mentoring numerous Puerto Rican and Latino artists in the city.


  • Orlando Ortiz, a retired EHTP employee who, for more than 18 years, ensured our after-school classrooms and offices were clean, safe and ready for Scholars.


  • Suleyma Cuellar, an EHTP alumna of our High School and College Scholars program. She is currrently a lead teacher and robotics instructor at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic School


  • Bilal Zafar, a longstanding participant in EHTP programs and a current participant of our College Scholars program.


    Students also heard from Alao Hogan, a longtime EHTP student and founding co-chair of our alumni council, who has gone on to serve in the Army and earn several undergrad and graduate degrees. And each year our East Harlem Hero, Olga Ramos, brings superhero capes to her namesake class. With this simple act, Olga sent a strong message: All of our Scholars are budding superheroes. As we reflect over the holiday on the richness that community brings to our lives, we give thanks to those who champion our youth in such meaningful ways.

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  • Giving Tuesday

    East Harlem Tutorial Program has big plans in the run up to Giving Tuesday! We are building our first Scholars Academy High School from the ground up and have set our sights on serving 25 percent of East Harlem students by 2025.

    But you don’t have to buy a building to make a difference in a child’s life! EHTP College Scholars are on track to graduate from college at a rate 8X the national average for students from low-income households. Help us continue that trend this giving season.


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    Teachers and Learners: Getting Our Kids to and Through College

    From left to right: David Coleman, Jessica Marinaccio, Jeff Ginsburg, Havidán Rodríguez

    At East Harlem Tutorial Program, ensuring that college is within arm’s reach of young people is what we do best. After all, over the last five years 95 percent of EHTP students have enrolled in college, and our college scholars are on track to graduate from four-year schools at a rate 8 times the national average for students from low-income households.

    We are proud of our results. But as the adage goes, the true teacher is the learner, and we are committed to deepening and sharing our understanding to increase the depth and breadth of our impact. That is why EHTP gathered several national educational leaders to the fifth in our series of educational roundtables to discuss getting students to and through college. And learn we did.

    Our panelists – College Board President David Coleman, Columbia’s Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Jessica Marinaccio and SUNY Albany President Havidán Rodríguez – inspired all of us to redouble our efforts, and left us with clear takeaways about supporting, educating and interacting with young scholars:

    Increasing Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) is a win-win. The first-year retention rate for students in the program at SUNY Albany exceeds that of first-year students overall, with a full 93% of EOP students staying in college.

    Redoubling efforts to reach children early on is critical. By high school, students may be too far behind academically to be college ready. Even more importantly, kids decide early what their futures hold. It’s on us to show them that college can be part of that future.

    Examining the impact of culminating tests, such as the SATs, is a must. The tests must be administered fairly and inclusively — and students need to know that they are more than the sum of their scores.

    Hosted by EHTP Board Member Billy Rahm at Centerbridge, the event didn’t skirt the obstacles that hold our youth back. Jeff Ginsburg, executive director for EHTP said: “Some things just get in the way: college mismatch, financial difficulties, lacking skills and feelings of isolation for students down to responsibilities that they may still carry.” But, he added, “You see from the data we have that this can be overcome.”

    President Rodríguez asserted, “The very first thing we need to do as institutions of higher ed is provide the atmosphere where students come in and thrive, and provide the support mechanisms so that they can succeed.” But he also noted that getting behind students at the college level is too late. “It’s our responsibility to reach down lower in the pipeline so by the time they get to 12th grade they have the basic [skills] in order to succeed in college.”

    Dean Marinaccio agrees. “Early access and early intervention is key to a lot of success. There are many studies that show students really determine in middle school who they are going to be. Are they going to be a student? How do they see themselves in this journey of going into higher education?. Education is really the door that opens so many opps and moves entire families to different levels of opportunity.”

    And sometimes it is the very tools created to attract a diverse student pool that leave some young people on the sidelines. “For too many kids they see a low SAT score as a veto in their life,” said David Coleman. “There are lots of ways to show your excellence.”

    How do we help overcome this gap? Each panelist emphasized the importance of mentors and role models who can be change agents in young people’s lives. The discussion ended with a rallying cry for deeper partnerships with community-based organizations. “Places like EHTP are essential in the ecosystem,” said Coleman, who added that one thing is clear:

    “What does not work is us working on our own.”

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    How We Respond: #BuildLove

    This week New Yorkers came together to protest the Immigrant Family Separation Policy that has displaced over 2,000 children since its enactment in April. 250 of those children are right here in East Harlem with no plan on how to reunite them with their families. The official policy has been rescinded but the damage has already been done. And on Tuesday, the Supreme Court voted in a 5-4 ruling to uphold this Administration’s anti-Muslim travel ban.

    I wish I could say that this week is an outlier for our country. I wish I could say that our history is not deeply steeped in removing children — particularly black and brown children — from their loved ones. I wish I could say that safety for our most vulnerable has always been sacrosanct. But sadly I cannot.

    At EHTP, our task is to equip our children with strategies to succeed in the world as it is right now. They have to learn to navigate a deck that is often stacked against them. We have to constantly ask ourselves what more can we continue to do to ensure we remain a safe learning space for all families. How do we remain successful in assisting our young people to realize their best possible selves despite these obstacles and hateful rhetoric?

    There are no easy answers to these questions but they serve as a guide for all we do. It motivates our racial equity work and our #BuildLove campaign.

    Next week, we will launch our next #BuildLove project with our High School Summer Institute scholars, aimed at supporting separated families in need. We will collect goods to donate to shelters in our community, and coordinate volunteer opportunities. We will look to enroll any separated children in our programs and schools.

    We will be in touch soon on how you can get involved. For now, you can find additional resources on how to help separated families here.

    Thank you for your continued support,

    Jeff Ginsburg, Executive Director

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    EHTP Inspires Donors to #BuildLove and Support our Scholars at 60th Anniversary Benefit

    East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) brought together families, supporters and friends for an extraordinary evening to celebrate its scholars. energize support for EHTP programs, and celebrate #BuildLove. Through #BuildLove we ensure our scholars gain the confidence, knowledge, and skills to think critically, seek the truth, strive for social justice, and realize their best possible selves.

    Our many thanks to Cassie and Billy Rahm for serving as event chairs of the 60th anniversary event helping EHTP raise critical funds to support its core initiatives, including tuition-free after-school and summer programs, a growing school network of public schools (East Harlem Scholars Academies), the East Harlem Teaching Residency, and the College Scholars program. Read more…

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    Wall Streeters Raise $4 Million to Fund East Harlem Tutorial

    By Amanda L. Gordon, Bloomberg News

    At the East Harlem Tutorial Program benefit on Monday, race took center stage.

    A copy of the organization’s Racial Equity Statement was on display during cocktail hour. During his remarks, Executive Director Jeff Ginsburg addressed the role race can play as a barrier to achievement, citing the work of Stanford University economist Raj Chetty.

    “For so many kids, institutional racism threatens their future,” Ginsburg told an audience seated below a massive blue whale at the American Museum of Natural History that included Blackstone’s Jon Gray and Joan Solotar, William Rahm of Centerbridge Partners, Glenview’s John McMonagle and Renaissance Technologies founder Jim Simons.

    Ginsburg was aware that Oprah Winfrey had also spoken of Chetty’s work at the Robin Hood Foundation benefit a week earlier. Winfrey said she couldn’t stop thinking about the study, which found that “white boys born at the top are likely to stay at the top, while black boys born at the top are actually more likely to become poor,” she said. “What the study says for sure is that race matters.”

    ‘Honest Conversation’
    The acknowledgment that opportunity alone doesn’t generate lasting mobility for people of color is huge. So many people at both events have put their money into programs designed around that idea. Now Chetty’s work is challenging them to ask: What do you do when you realize that opening doors is not enough?

    “I think it’s the most honest conversation to have, or else what’s going to happen tonight is we’re going to raise all this money, but what are we going to spend it on?” Ginsburg said. “If we’re not spending and thinking about what actually matters in education, then what’s the point?”

    EHTP created its racial equity statement last year. It calls on staff and others involved to “face, honestly and directly, our own racial identities and our own conscious and unconscious biases.”

    Monday’s gala raised $4 million and drew 600 guests, records on both counts. It helps to have supporters who are in it for the long haul. Rahm, 39, began tutoring with the organization when he was in high school, and joined the board almost 16 years ago. It’s likely he’ll stick around to see the 60-year-old nonprofit build a 75,000-square-foot charter high school on land it recently purchased.

    The group, with an annual budget of $30 million, serves about 1,500 neighborhood students and expects that number to double by 2025.

    Wall Streeters Raise $4 Million to Fund East Harlem Tutorial

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    Why I Celebrate #EHTP60

    I first became involved with East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP) when I was in 9th grade. I volunteered as a tutor every Saturday through high school. It made a big impact on me to have this one-on-one connection mentoring an elementary school student. It also made me think about how I had access to opportunities that were not available to kids in East Harlem.

    I knew then that I would want to stay involved with EHTP and support the organization in providing educational opportunities to East Harlem’s young people. And I have stayed involved ever since.

    EHTP has grown in services and impact far beyond what I could ever have imagined when I was in high school. It is still grounded in the same values such as the importance of having mentors invested in the success of scholars. But EHTP has expanded its programs to include high-performing Pre-K to 12 schools, after-school programs for students at district schools, a College Scholars program, and the East Harlem Teaching Residency. This year we will offer more than 1,600 students a culturally responsive curriculum and a model that balances social-emotional growth and academic rigor.

    Even as we achieve great results, we haven’t lost sight that we are a community-based organization. Our #BuildLove campaign celebrates the cultural diversity of East Harlem, shows that we welcome all families, and lets our community know that we are stronger together.

    This year my wife, Cassie, and I are honored to serve as Chairs of EHTP’s 60th Anniversary Benefit on May 21 at the American Museum of Natural History. I hope you will join us for this event and celebrate how much EHTP has achieved, meet our high school scholars, and get a sneak peak at our blueprint for the future.

    We are just beginning to see the incredible possibilities of our East Harlem Tutorial Program scholars. I am filled with such hope and excitement for our children, city, and country.

    Join us!

    Billy Rahm

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