Getting to know you

Community programs introduce themselves to students

On Feb. 14, students at Port Chester High School had an opportunity to learn more about local organizations that serve youth and beyond. The school set up several tables in the rotunda to share information about the work the groups do as part of the school’s Black History Month activities. Students were encouraged to stop and chat and hopefully be inspired to get involved in school and community organizations.

Seniors Fatima Diallo and Elizabeth Richardson spent time sitting at the African American Club table. They said they hoped to spread awareness about the club and get some new members to join.

“It was a really nice, small community when I joined,” Elizabeth said of why she decided to join.

“I feel like I have a sense of community, people I can relate to as they are like me,” Fatima said of being a part of the club.

Joining the club’s table were representatives from the NAACP and the George Washington Carver Center.

“We hope young people will join our youth group,” Port Chester-Rye NAACP President Tom Kissner said.

Ingraham Taylor, chair of the Westchester Region NAACP ACT-SO Coalition, was also available to speak to students. The Afro-Academic Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics has been in existence since 1979, she said, and it provides students an opportunity to showcase their talents in a competition at the regional, state and national levels. Students compete in a range of disciplines, including science, humanities, performing and visual arts and entrepreneurship.

“We always say we are the best kept secret in Port Chester,” Ms. Taylor said.

Typically, the local ACT-SO group attracts between 40-50 young people from throughout the region, and Ms. Taylor was hoping to inspire more to join while at PCHS.

Michael Darnell Williams, who spoke to students earlier in the week, was back to share information on the Carver Center.

“We are sharing information on teen center programs,” he said.

He was joined by Daisy Garcia, director of the scholarship program, and Kelley Gordon-Minott, director of the teen center.

“We provide opportunities that meet their needs and accommodate changes,” Ms. Gordon-Minott said. “Our goal now is to connect with each other” after the interruption COVID-19 caused, she said.

Programs offered for teens include college readiness, career exploration and job opportunities.