Diving Deep in the Zone
Lift Every Voice (and Act)
by Anthony Lopez, Executive Director
The rapid response of students victimized during this year’s Valentine’s Day massacre at a Broward County school prompted me to acknowledge the role young play and have played in accelerating change in our society. During my lifetime, movements emanating from the Students Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), The Young Lords , Occupy Wall Street and current Dreamers , reinforce young people’s correct sensibilities to give voice to injustice and act against it. Over the last thirty years, their collective engagement have served to improve—if not save—the lives of many from war, racism, hunger and deportation.

What happens to this sense of outrage and social justice as we transition from youth-to-young adult-to-adulthood? And why do our young dreams for a better world disintegrate and then correlate to the size of our adult paychecks? Adults everywhere need to ask our young people for forgiveness for betraying the values of idealism and pluralism—among other equally important ones-- that have contributed to the violent, racist and caste society they live in today. You don’t have to believe it, but such policies that create and perpetuate areas of concentrated poverty— NYCHA ?—support this premise by way of example.

Bending justice towards young people starts with keeping them safe: at home, in their community and especially at school. Metal detectors, random security checks and arming teachers send the wrong message to educators, families and students about the learning ecosystem as a safe place, free from fear and intolerance (the operative term here is free ) .

Existing social problems are the product of entrenched networks of cause and effect and almost always led by adults. It’s time to flip the script and promote the notion that social solutions can be the product of cause and effect led by networks of local youth facilitated by caring adults who have integrity.

Young people are literally screaming for system change. They are telling us what the change should look like and more importantly, why change is needed now! As the adults, it is our responsibility to create a better system that keeps them safe while we educate them and recognize that they continue in the democratic tradition to shine a light on dysfunctional systems that fail to address social problems like gun violence. Let us lift their voices and act.
News from the Zone
Pipeline Update
Fostering Support and Success Through Lunch Clubs
 by Dylan Woloszczuk, Community School Coordinator CS 111Q
and Regine Joachim, Home Visitor & Classroom Aide
At CS 111Q , providing wraparound services to our scholars is an integral part of the Community School experience. One avenue of support comes in the form of Lunch Clubs for all scholars. The clubs range from arts and crafts to athletics, and provide scholars with an opportunity to hone their interests and build relationships with fellow scholars and staff.
Ms. Joachim (Home Visitor & Classroom Aide) and I (Ms. Woloszczuk, Community School Coordinator) have the privilege of facilitating a Lunch Club for CS 111Q’s Pre-K scholars. Part arts & crafts, part attendance monitoring, the club is designed to get scholars engaged and excited about coming to school. Ms. Joachim and I selected scholars with 85-90% attendance to mentor through our Lunch Clubs.
Pre-K lunch club artistic work
We meet with these scholars in small groups on a weekly basis. This gives us the opportunity to provide our scholars with individualized attention while conducting fun, arts-based activities with them and discussing the importance of attendance.
Our Lunch Club also contains an attendance component. Scholars who come to school every day for two weeks in a row receive a prize of their choice. Scholars are able to track their own attendance and see their progress using special calendars.
Student attendance calendar
Observing positive behavioral changes in our scholars has been a rewarding experience for us. Our Lunch Club scholars recognize us in the hallway, eagerly anticipate our meetings, and are excited to report their attendance for the week. They appear happy to have another familiar face in their school, and develop a bond with staff that is exclusive to them. While they may not meet their perfect attendance goals every time, it is their demonstrated enthusiasm towards school and their efforts to be in attendance that we consider small, but significant victories towards our greater goals.
Stress Relief Through Tapping
by: Anju J. Rupchandani, Managing Director
TAP, Tap, tap , these are the movements that Little Flower Yoga ’s yoga and mindfulness instructor, Argos Gonzalez , asks students to make around their eyes, face, arms, and upper body, as a means of relieving stress. Argos who was originally born in Venezuela, and immigrated to New York when he was very young, spent his entire life growing up
in Queens. While teaching English in the Bronx for 14 years, Argos began to
incorporate a variety of yoga and mindfulness techniques in his day-to- day work
with students. “I started to see the benefits of students stretching, and getting in
tune with their breath all while being seated” Argos says. After several years of
utilizing the practices, he decided to move from teaching English to teaching yoga
and mindfulness full-time.
Most recently Argos has been sharing his practice with students at IS 126Q . “I teach all over the place the Bronx, Westchester, New Jersey, and even internationally, but there is just nothing like coming home to Queens, and giving back to my community. I even lived in Astoria for a long-time, so to see the neighborhood changing, but to see that generations of families are still residing here is awesome,” says Argos. Starting a new program through the generous support of the Phyllis Backer Foundation has been one about providing students in low-income neighborhoods with the natural resources to tune into their mind, bodies, and souls. The stressors of poverty, along with the lack of access to what middle and upper income student have, is what makes establishing a culture around using what we already have critical to helping students decrease their stress level. Tapping into this is an important step for
students to establish a self-care routine, that allows them to feel more healthy, and connected to themselves.
LFY feb 2018
LFY feb 2018
Argos leading yoga and mindfulness sessions
with students at IS 126Q
enACT: They Make a Dramatic Difference!
by Kiara Rodriguez, Community School Coordinator Long Island City High School
enACT is an organization that teaches conflict resolution through the use of drama at Long Island City High School (LICHS) and several other schools across New York City. The organization has proven through engaging young adults in activities and allowing them to get to the core of the problems they face impacts student behavior, attendance, and engagement. enACT’s method focuses on helping youth work through their problems by improving communication skills and behavior.
enACT show up 2017
enACT show up 2017
enACT’s program has a unique way of reaching out and helping the students at LICHS. A teaching artist visits classes on a weekly basis, runs weekly drama-based afterschool programs, and provides one-on-one and group counseling as part of a partnership. The enACT program has integrated itself into the culture of the school and impacted the lives of the students teaching artists work with. During classroom visits, the teaching artist engages students in scenes to inspire thoughts about their reaction to situations relevant to their everyday lives. Topics include violence, relationships, bullying, and more. These scenes aim to give young adults the opportunity to truly understand what it is like to be in difficult situations and develop an appropriate reaction. Through the incorporation of Social Emotional Competencies such as: self-management, self-awareness, and relationship skills, students work towards identifying and naming feelings and ultimately understanding and expressing their needs.
enACT show up 2017
Students with the opportunity to engage in this program often show significant change in behavior and attendance. Kaylee, a student at LICHS, expressed her gratitude for the program, saying “...it gives you an opportunity to express everything that goes on in your life.” Student approval shows that enACT has a positive impact.

LICHS has partnered with enACT for two years. Fully integrating its methods into the school’s culture has not only improved student performance. enACT has contributed to increases in family engagement, teacher satisfaction, and an increase in positive school climate.
Empowering Our Community:
College & Immigration Information
by Michelle Makabali, Community School Director Long Island City High School
On January 27, 2018, Hispanic Federation hosted a college workshop for Long Island City High School families. Presented exclusively in Spanish, this workshop equipped families with knowledge about navigating the process towards achieving collegiate goals. Participants received ample information regarding the college process and how to support their child. They received useful resources related to college applications, cost of attendance, and thinking about postsecondary institutions during the early part of high school.

Emerald Isle Immigration Center and NYC Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs were also present to provide information to families about knowing their rights. Families received additional information about IDNYC and actionable steps that could be taken should the need arise. We are grateful for these vital community resources who were able to assist with questions, concerns, and provide continued support for our families in the Long Island City High School and Zone 126 community.
Partner News
  • Little Flower Yoga's Mindful Mondays: How Can Mindfulness Support Compassion for Others?
Black History Month
Opportunities for Youth
February Bulletin board at LICHS
Web Series: Heroes of Color
Read more about the animator here

2018 Youth Leadership Institute Scholarships Available
The Hispanic Scholarship Fund invites current NYC public school juniors of Hispanic descent to apply to YLI 2018

YLI is a four-day, overnight, college empowerment conference for Latino high school juniors held at three top universities across the US during Summer 2018.

For additional information and FAQs, click here.

Please email info@zone126.org no later than Wednesday, March 07 if you would like a scholarship referral.
Know someone who like to stay up to date with the latest information about Zone 126 programs, community events, and more? Invite them to join our email list here !

Follow us at @Zone126Queens on Instagram and Twitter !
We would like to thank all of our funders for all their help: Thomas & Jeanne Elmezzi Foundation, New York City Department of Education, Altman Foundation, Pinkerton Foundation, Phyllis Backer Foundation, and Staples Foundation.
  *Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual