On Friday February 20th representatives and guests of the Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF) had the exclusive and coveted opportunity to stand on the floor of the NYSE. In honor of this celebratory occasion, Ruth Rathblott, President and CEO, rings the Closing Bell. The Bells are held for companies either listing on the NYSE for the first time or listed companies celebrating a milestone. An experience many people will never have in their lifetime. I must say it was an amazing experience to have the opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of financial transactions and the NYSE. For those who may not be familiar with the Harlem Educational Activities Fund this is an organization founded in 1989 by Daniel Rose to provide resources to educators to better help their students succeed in school and beyond. HEAF today helps to change and shape the lives of underserved youth beginning in middle school through college and beyond, by providing a multiyear program which includes academic advancement, leadership, and character development. Participants attend after school classes, summer classes, and Saturday classes in math, language arts, humanities, science, and fine arts. They are also taught skills such as how to effectively communicate, negotiate, and lead whether in a team environment or leadership role. These are skills that will not only be valuable within the academic environment, but also when they join the workforce.
HEAF’s core programs and services include:
High Expectations Middle School Enrichment: this is HEAF’s middle school program which helps participants prepare for acceptance into high school and also gets them to start thinking about college
College Quest High School Enrichment: College Quest offers college prep coursework and guides participants through the application and college prep process. Sully Diaz, Associate director of the College Quest program at HEAF states “We focus on preparing students from 9th grade all the way through senior HS providing them with academic enrichment, elective classes, leadership opportunities and events like his at the NYSE which is awesome”.
Youth Development and Counseling: Participants focus on personal growth, communication, team building exercises, and decision making; they also have the opportunity to practice what they’ve learned in real life setting including internships, Youth Leadership Council and community service.
Onward College Support – HEAF not only supports the participants as they prepare to enter college, but are also present throughout the participant’s college years. Whether it’s visiting the participant on campus or sending a care package. Participants know they are supported as they transition into college.
To learn more about HEAF or to become a volunteer, please visit their website at heaf.org