Power of our model
To understand our approach to serving families, get to know the Diaby/Samassi family.
Their Harlem Children’s Zone journey began 15 years ago at our landmark program, Baby College. There, Mariam, a new mother at the time, learned best practices for meaningful interactions with her children. Next, Mariam and Yaya, then a toddler, took part in Three-Year-Old Journey. In the program, Miriam forged relationships with other parents while Yaya made friends playing with other kids. Then, Yaya and later, Sametchie, enrolled in our Harlem Gems preschool program — setting them up for success in school through literacy, math, and social emotional learning.
After Gems, it was onto Promise Academy, our premier K-12 charter schools. Mariam had heard good things about Promise from her sister, who had enrolled her kids in the school.
“There was never any question that I would send Yaya and Sametchie there, too,” Mariam says.
Thriving at Promise
At Promise, Yaya and Sametchie thrived. Yaya fell in love with chess in third grade, playing in our after-school programs before joining the chess club in middle school and competing in tournaments. Meanwhile, Sametchie discovered her passion for math and English Language Arts while preaching the healthy habits she picked up at Healthy Harlem to her mom and siblings (“she would say to me, ‘Mummy, you have to be healthy, you gotta eat broccoli, you have to eat these other things,’” Mariam says, laughing).
Yaya and Sametchie give Promise Academy rave reviews.
“The teachers are good here because they care about us, and they go out of their way to help you succeed,” says Yaya, now 12. “Like, if you’re failing, they won’t let you fail. They make sure you’re doing your work and you’re at the top of your classes.”
“It’s fun. It’s amazing, and I love it,” added eight-year-old Sametchie.