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City Year launches program in Buffalo to help students and schools succeed

Buffalo, NY (October 15, 2019) – City Year, an education organization that helps students and schools succeed, today announced the official launch of its Buffalo program in partnership with five public schools in the city. City Year brings together diverse young adults to serve full time in schools as AmeriCorps members, helping prepare students with the skills and mindsets to thrive in school and in life. During their year of service, AmeriCorps members not only make a difference in the lives of students, but they also acquire valuable experience and skills that help prepare them to be leaders in their careers and in their communities.

“City Year is a vital partner as Mayor Brown’s administration works to ensure that Buffalo’s students and communities have the resources they need to thrive,” said Buffalo Deputy Mayor Ellen Grant. “Through the energy, talent and deep commitment of the City Year AmeriCorps members, students are being helped through the development of the skills and mindsets they need to succeed in their educational pursuits, which will help us build a stronger Buffalo for everyone.”

In City Year Buffalo’s inaugural year, 33 AmeriCorps members are supporting students at five schools: Buffalo Collegiate Charter School, Elmwood Village Charter School, Enterprise Charter School, Tapestry Charter School and West Buffalo Charter School. The program was launched in partnership with The Cullen Foundation, First Niagara Foundation, National Grid, Rich Products and the Oishei Foundation, with the additional support of the City of Buffalo.

“City Year and the good work they do in supporting students’ academic and social-emotional development will be a true asset to Buffalo and Western New York,” said Elizabeth Gurney, director of corporate philanthropy for KeyBank and executive director of the First Niagara Foundation. “We are proud to welcome them to Buffalo and partner with them as they begin their efforts to provide our young people with guidance, hope and opportunities.”

“City Year is grateful to the remarkable cross-sector group of community, school and business leaders who worked so hard to make City Year Buffalo possible,” said Jim Balfanz, president of City Year. “It is a privilege for City Year to serve the students and schools of Buffalo.”

With the official launch of the Buffalo program, City Year is now partnering with 350 schools in 29 cities across the U.S., supporting 226,000 students.

City Year’s “Whole School, Whole Child” Services Yields Results

Last year, City Year piloted its Whole School Whole Child services in Buffalo with five AmeriCorps members serving full time at Enterprise Charter School. City Year AmeriCorps members serve as student success coaches, working with teachers and principals to help students cultivate critical social, emotional and academic skills. AmeriCorps members build positive relationships with students by tutoring one-on-one and in small groups; collaborating with teachers to providing extra support in classrooms; and offering afterschool programs at partner schools. City Year teams also monitor the progress of students with real-time data to help spot and provide additional support to students who are at risk of falling behind in class.

“We have been delighted to partner with City Year and to be their first Buffalo school partner. Their commitment to our students and families aligns perfectly with our mission and vision for the future,” said Julie Schwab, superintendent of Enterprise Charter School. “We are so happy to have added City Year AmeriCorps members to our school community for years to come.”

“Our partnership with City Year aligns with our long history and commitment to support educational initiatives, invest in the communities we serve and positively impact the lives of young people, their parents and teachers,” said National Grid regional director Ken Kujawa. “National Grid is proud to have such a successful, strong relationship with City Year and grateful that they’re working with students at Enterprise Charter School.”

City Year’s pilot year at Enterprise Charter School demonstrated promising results: 100% of partner teachers said City Year had a positive impact on the climate of their school. Students also demonstrated growth on academic performance: 86% of students who received direct support from a City Year AmeriCorps member saw growth on academic assessments.

Nationally, a study conducted by Policy Studies Associates on 600 schools in 22 school districts showed that schools that partner with City Year are up to two-to-three times more likely to improve on English and math assessments, when compared to similar schools without City Year.

New York Native Leads City Year Buffalo Team

“Having grown up in Western New York, in Rochester, I know firsthand how special this community is—bringing City Year to Buffalo, after 13 years of working with the organization, is really a homecoming for me,” said Michael Stevens, vice president and executive director of City Year Buffalo. “Alongside our amazing school partners and champions, we at City Year know that we can play a vital role in truly making Buffalo ‘the City of Good Neighbors.’”

City Year Buffalo celebrated its launch during its Opening Day event on Friday, October 11 at Larkin Square, where AmeriCorps members publicly pledged their commitment to their year of service in Buffalo schools. Opening Day events are held at all City Year locations and are sponsored by Comcast NBCUniversal, City Year’s national Opening Day sponsor. In 2018, City Year and Comcast NBCUniversal entered into a three-year partnership renewal agreement, bringing Comcast NBCUniversal’s overall support of City Year to $115 million cash and in-kind. Through the partnership, Comcast NBCUniversal supports City Year’s national strategy to bring more computer science and coding experiences to students served by City Year and supports leadership development and training efforts. Comcast NBCUniversal also recognizes the accomplishments of City Year alumni through the annual Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Awards.

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