NYC Together’s annual fundraiser takes place on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at the Wythe Hotel (80 Wythe Ave.), with 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the program to bring officers from the NYPD’s Patrol Borough Brooklyn North together with high schoolers.
NYC Together’s founder Dana Rachlin views the relationships as beneficial for both the students and the officers: “We don’t see it as a mentorship, we see it as a way for us to build community and support young people with the resources and the support that they need.”
Adding that the “lived experiences” of the students also help to educate the officers who are supposed to protect and serve in their communities. “It’s a mutually beneficial learning experience for everybody,” Rachlin said.
The vast majority of in-school arrests affect students of color (up to 99 percent) and Rachlin hopes to disrupt the ‘school to prison pipeline.’
“They’re not the problem,” Rachlin said when asked if the students are considered ‘at-risk.’ “If you live in a neighborhood that doesn’t have grocery stores and is surrounded by housing projects and high crime…it’s very hard for you to become the person you’re meant to be,” Rachlin said.
The social justice initiative began in 2015 and Rachlin points to the promising statistics that demonstrate the positive impact of NYC Together:
- 100 percent of senior participants graduate high school
- 80 percent of student participants have an increase in grades
- Student absences drop 37.5 percent on average (some students achieve perfect attendance)
As 68 percent of men in state prison didn’t graduate from high school, the chance of making a lasting impact on the lives of the students is significant.
The partner schools identify the students (which now number 60 students per year) that are in need of support; the first cohort of high schoolers are now in their sophomore year of college.
Honorees this year include actor Michael K. Williams and Assistant Chief Jeffrey Maddrey who will face HOT 97’s Peter Rosenberg in a DJ battle; tickets are still available.