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Invest in Project Morry Students

Posted Date: November 14, 2022 | Posted In: Latest News, Upcoming Events

Giving Tuesday is November 29, 2022. Donate and support Project Morry’s students and programs!


Project Morry Makes Real Change.

At Project Morry, we believe that when you give children the tools for empowerment, they build foundations for positive outcomes at school, work, and in life. Our ten-year commitment to each child closes the opportunity gap through a combination of academic enrichment and support, leadership development, and an exceptional summer camp experience. Our unique long-term partnership, from fourth grade through the first year of college, is built on trust, consistency, and expectations that create authentic opportunities for youth to change the trajectory of their lives and the lives of those around them.

Improved Outcomes: 98% of Project Morry students advance to the next grade on-time. 95% graduate high school on-time compared to rates as low as 60% in their home communities.

Expanded Horizons: Project Morry students have the chance to go to summer camp, attend college tours, and visit museums. They volunteer, attend career panels, and work with mentors. These experiences empower our students to redefine their goals and their futures.

Long Term Change: 85% of Project Morry graduates enroll in college or enlist in the military compared to 67% of low-income students nationally. 91% of those who enroll in college, graduate. 77% of PM alumni are the first in their family to attend college.

Join the Project Morry Community. Be a Part of the Change.

We can’t do this work without your help. Since 1995, Project Morry’s community has come together to create real change for 400 students a year. At this critical moment, we can harness our collective impact and ensure that Project Morry students have the resources and opportunities to achieve their goals and thrive. A donation to Project Morry is not just an investment in our students. It is also an investment in our shared community and our collective future.


Be a part of the change. Donate and support Project Morry.

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How Public Service Loan Forgiveness Impacts Project Morry Students and Alumni

Posted Date: October 07, 2022 | Posted In: Latest News

How Public Service Loan Forgiveness Impacts Project Morry Students and Alumni

By Eric Beriguete, Project Morry Director of College and Career Readiness

Many of our students follow a traditional path by attending college, obtaining a college degree, and securing a well-paying job. However, this path does not reign the same for our Black and Latinx students. Debt is a factor in preventing financial freedom. For those that attend college, student debt only adds to the burden of trying to grab hold of the adage that education is the great equalizer.

Debt Impact on Students

Looking at higher education as a whole, the increased cost of attendance, difficulty to see the return on investment of getting a degree, and predatory student loan providers, many students prefer not to attend college, but Project Morry students strive to overcome the odds. Student loans present a real challenge to building wealth for our communities due to the long-term impact of preventing social mobility.

Upon graduating high school, many of our PM students and various Community/State Colleges, Ivy Leagues, and HBCUs. Whether our students obtain a degree or not, many end up with student loans. Some students can do everything right and still pay more than their original loan amount, only to have spent years paying off the interest without reducing the principal loan. We push students toward higher education to understand the long-term cost in hopes through enough financial counseling regarding subsidized and unsubsidized loans that students will be able to make sound financial decisions. However, the true impact of taking out loans manifests after graduation. The overall payments do not start until

Hardships may arise and push students to default or go into forbearance, damaging their credit scores and affecting their ability to buy a home, a car, or even qualify for other loans. Student loans in this job market mean consciously taking on a long-term financial burden with limited return on investment.

Impact of PSLF and Biden’s Plan

Originally PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness) was intended to reward graduates working in the public sector by making 120 qualifying payments over ten (10) years resulting in debt cancellation. In the past, about 90% of borrowers were rejected from qualifying. The high rejection rate stems from a lack of programmatic clarity, misleading loan information, and general mismanagement of the forgiveness program. Now, limited waiver loosens the requirements, allowing any qualifying payments and any type of federal loan, and is already approving many past borrowers. The PSLF waiver application (closing October 31st, 2022) is a step in the right direction to reduce the burden student loans place on many of our communities. With the introduction of the Biden-Harris 10-20K loan forgiveness, borrowers will receive up to $10,000, or if they are a Pell Grant recipient, they will receive up to $20,000, as long as they have federal student loans. The forgiveness will either cancel out the entire debt, minimally or substantially reduce the repayment process. Any kind of debt forgiveness provides hope and genuine support to many in our community.

Is this enough?

The changes to PSLF and the Biden-Harris Forgiveness provide relief to many borrowers and a step in the right direction; however, it does not address the root issue with student loans. As reported by AP News, “Black borrowers on average carry about $40,000 in federal student loan debt, $10,000 more than white borrowers, according to federal education data. The disparity reflects a racial wealth gap in the U.S…” This limited PSLF and one-time forgiveness do not address the root issue within this. On a micro level, students are consciously forced to take out loans to finance their futures on the basis of hope for a better future. On a macro level systemically education not being free creates barriers and replicates cycles of inequality for those unable to afford an education.

Attending a higher ed institution is unnecessarily expensive for a limited return. It explains why, in recent years, some of our students have decided to take alternative routes to start their careers outside of making the immediate transition from high school to a four-year institution. Once again, this country has proven that education is inaccessible unless you can financially commit to it. Effectively, subjecting a large portion of the population to crippling debt with no relief or limited access to success.

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Congratulations Wayfarers!

Posted Date: June 22, 2022 | Posted In: Latest News, Project Morry Kids

Congratulations Wayfarers!

Congratulations to our high school seniors! We are so proud of our 33 graduating seniors. 100% of our students are graduating on time and 79% are attending college or a trade school in the fall.

The Wayfarers were accepted to over 60 different college or universities including Embay-Riddle Aeronautical University, Buffalo State, Western Connecticut State University, City College, Iona College, SUNY Oneonta, University of Bridgeport, Norfolk State University, Manhattan College, UConn in Storrs, University of Charleston, and Gateway Community College.

We can’t wait to see the next steps in their personal and academic journeys, as they go on to college or military service, and more importantly as they bring change and impact to their communities and the world!

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Project Morry’s 2022 Annual Benefit

Posted Date: June 15, 2022 | Posted In: Latest News, Upcoming Events

Thank you!

On Wednesday November 2, 2022, the Project Morry community came together to celebrate the accomplishments of our incredible students and alumni as they create positive futures and long-term change in their lives and communities. Together we raised over $800,000 to support our students!

We were thrilled to honor Billy Cooper, current and founding board member and past board president, with the 2022 Morry Award. In recognition of his more than 25 years of dedication and service to Project Morry’s mission.

Project Morry began as a summer camp in 1995 and is now a robust ten-year program that supports the academic and life success of 400 young people year-round. Our commitment to each child closes the opportunity gap through a combination of academic enrichment and support, leadership development, and an exceptional summer camp experience. Project
Morry is an anti-racist organization, committed to equity for black and brown lives, and against all forms of systemic racism.

This year’s event event was in-person! It was our first in-person Annual Benefit since 2019. Guests had the opportunity to enjoy an evening of fun, excitement, and community that Project Morry’s Annual Benefit is known for.

Check out our event site!

The Benefit is the cornerstone of our annual fundraising efforts, raising up to 30% of our annual operating budget. All event proceeds directly support Project Morry’s year-round programming.

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What the Changes in Standardized Testing Mean for Project Morry Students

Posted Date: March 31, 2021 | Posted In: Latest News

What the Changes in Standardized Testing Mean for Project Morry Students

By Eric Beriguete, Project Morry Director of College and Career Readiness

“Whether you see standardized testing as useful or harmful, remember this: Even the most influential exams are mere products, made and marketed by human beings. And when the market changes, products once billed as essential can become obsolete.”(Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2021) These changes include the discontinuation of the SAT subject tests and the optional essay by the College Board. At the same time, amidst the pandemic, many schools are adopting or continuing a test-optional approach to these exams as barriers continue to arise with getting students to take the exam. Many have noted that Covid-19 making it difficult for students to take the SATs and ACTs in 2020 and now 2021. The temporary suspension comes at a time where calls for removal of the exams as assessments for students’ collegiate ability were gaining traction. Appeasing the masses, while taking a look at the financial impact on the College Board; removing the optional essay and the subject tests seems like a no-brainer as fewer and fewer students took advantage of these exams/essays.


History

Looking back, it’s important to remember that the evolution of the SATs started as a means to create uniform college admissions testing which shifted the admissions process from high schools to the colleges themselves. The initial examination process lasted 5 days and tested a series of subjects that would allow admissions boards to identify applicants that would excel in higher education. As most know during the early 1900s, the Ivy leagues reigned supreme and higher education was more of an option rather than a requirement. During the mid-twentieth century, the exam expanded beyond Ivy League schools to most four-year public and private colleges and universities participating in the admissions system that our Project Morry students and alumni have experienced.


Change Does Not Guarantee Access

In addition to potentially assessing college readiness, the exams also highlight the differences in access for students of low-income areas. With unlimited SAT prep programs and the time to devote to studying, students with the resources can perform well on these exams, while marginalized groups see another potential barrier to accessing higher education and economic mobility. The current shift in testing reduces but does not eliminate those barriers.

It’s important to note that while reducing the use of the SAT and ACT in the college admissions process removes one barrier to college for low-income and students of color, that alone does not correlate to greater access for students of color. Instead, it changes the focus to how colleges will assess applicant readiness in the absence of standardized tests. Experts are predicting greater emphasis on Advanced Placement courses, specialized academic competitions or extracurricular activities to determine a student’s ability to handle rigorous college courses. However, the same inequity in resources that disproportionately impacts students for the SAT, impacts access to expensive college courses and academic competitions. Simply stated, the same schools that cannot afford SAT prep or college guidance counselors, do not have the funds for Advanced Placement courses or subsidize student participation in extracurricular activities.


Project Morry Students

As Project Morry’s Director of College and Career Readiness, when it comes to our students, I have a mixed response to the changes. Some schools, due to the disarray from the pandemic, haven’t provided much information about the SATs because the focus has been adapting to the changes. Other schools have mentioned the exam and continue to find ways to connect our students to virtual programs and resources. Our students are resourceful and take advantage of any opportunity they’re presented with. Rather than passing up on opportunities, they recognize that while some schools are going optional and changes are happening, they are still striving for the best. Some of our children were interested in doing more intensive SAT prep and supplementing it with support services from Project Morry. Others choose to gain real-world experience by working and participating in internships and focusing on cultivating their hobbies.

Adversity isn’t something new to our kids and while the College Board works to address the ways exams reinforce socio-economic disparities, our kids will continue to rise to the challenge and take traditional exams not designed for their success and perform their best. They are aware of the necessary stepping stones required to reach their goals and they are utilizing this moment as an opportunity to find new ways to stand out as applicants.

Over the last year, the pandemic has brought to the forefront the inherent inequities in our education system from elementary school to college with standardized testing being one of many. We have known for years that the SAT exam only states how lucky and “smart” students are on the particular day they take the exam. It does not attest to the quality of students they are and can become. This is a call to action for colleges and universities to find innovative and creative ways to assess students in ways that match their experiences and potential for future success and use the admissions process as a tool to promote a more equitable society.

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Project Morry Statement on Anti-Racism

Posted Date: June 10, 2020 | Posted In: Latest News

For the last 15 years, Project Morry has actively worked on becoming an anti-racist organization. However, as long as our students and families must endure systemic and individual acts of oppression and violence, our work is not done. We’ve spent the last 2 weeks listening to our students, families, alumni, and community. We share the following as a statement of our commitment to the work that we must do as a community and as an organization.

To Our Project Morry Community,

After almost two weeks and endless years of witnessing, experiencing, feeling and the processing of so many emotions, we want you all to feel our presence in whatever you are going through. Black Lives will Always Matter. George Floyd, Lyanna Dior, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Botham Jean, the list is too long.

Systemic racism perpetuates the injustices and inequalities present in our country.

Systemic racism perpetuates the injustices and inequalities our communities experience every day.

Project Morry will continue creating spaces and opportunities to strengthen, inspire, and plant the seeds necessary to combat these injustices and inequalities.

We will continue the social justice conversations with all our students, cultivating the skills necessary for these future leaders to enact the change and challenge the injustices wherever they may be.

We will keep our commitment to equity for black and brown lives.

We will continue to explore various means of activism and will support our communities in their work towards making these necessary changes.

We stand with our communities in the fight for humanity and against injustice.

Your Project Morry Family

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A Note From Dawn

Posted Date: March 17, 2020 | Posted In: Latest News

A Note from Dawn

If we were at camp right now, we would all be standing at the flagpole, looking out at our remarkable community. We would acknowledge to our kids and our staff what was happening with Coronavirus and the challenges it presents. We would let them know that there is lots we do know, and that there is lots that we don’t know. We would tell them we would need their help in controlling the things we had control of and that together we would all do our best for each other. To keep each other safe and stay hopeful.

We aren’t at camp though. And although it is SO MUCH harder doing this apart – we are still together, with the same commitment to our kids and our families and our communities and our volunteers and our staff.

Project Morry will continue to work with our students, families, and community partners to support them in completing school work, college readiness, goal setting and achieving although how we do that will change as we identify ways to engage remotely for the time being. We are still planning for an amazing summer at camp. Our kids need us more than ever and the Project Morry community will be there for them.

We will learn more with every hour and every day – and we will eventually start to have more answers than questions as we tackle it as the Project Morry community. I am confident of THAT - actually more confident in US than most anything else in the universe at the moment and that in and of itself gives me a great sense of comfort!

More to come. Please take care of yourselves and your loved ones,

Dawn

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The Peter Lai Scholarship Fund at Project Morry

Posted Date: October 05, 2021 | Posted In:

Dear Camp Families,

It is with a very heavy heart that we share the news that Peter Lai, our “Everything Guy,” passed away on Friday, October 1st, 2021 after a valiant battle with cancer.

For 36 years, Peter touched the lives of countless angels and staff members with his kindness, humility, calm demeanor, work ethic, and contagious smile.

With an amazing ability to connect to people, he knew everyone’s name, both while they were at camp and when they returned as alumni to visit. Peter’s role was in Operations, assisting in the dining room, giving out snacks, paying bills, and so many other intangibles. His hands truly touched every aspect of camp. He was our “postman” collecting letters at dinner and delivering packages to the office. He ensured that the sunscreen boxes were filled and there was drinking water on the playing fields. He gave out snacks and loved playing guessing games with the girls. And of course, we can’t forget that he was our food specialist. Peter stood under the clock in the dining hall during every meal taking care of all of our picky eaters by finding a bagel, a box of cereal or a grilled cheese when no other options would suffice. For our allergy campers, he was their source of security- whether it was at camp or on a trip- he knew what they could eat and made them feel safe. We could go on and on…

In whatever he did, he was the ultimate giver. Nothing was beneath him, and he would volunteer to do anything, without ever seeking any recognition. He never asked for help, just gave it to everyone, regardless of the time of day or night. We will forever remember him driving his golf cart, covered in blue tape, with a big, bright smile.

We are overwhelmed (and not surprised) by the incredible outpouring of love we have received over the past few days with the news about Peter. Many of you have asked about making a donation and we believe the best way to honor Peter is through his lifelong commitment to camp and children. The Peter Lai Scholarship Fund at Project Morry has been established with a significant contribution from the Kagan family.

Peter was a longtime supporter of Project Morry, an organization that empowers young people from under-resourced communities through learning experiences throughout the year and at their summer camp. Founded in 1995, Project Morry was inspired by the vision of camping legend Morry Stein, who recognized the significant positive impact camping had on the lives of young people. He believed that every child should have the opportunity to enjoy a fun filled time away from home in a safe environment.

Please consider a donation in honor of Peter. All donations will be anonymous.

Love,

Jane, Dan & Eliza

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Project Morry Joins Youth INC. Network

Posted Date: June 17, 2019 | Posted In: Latest News

Project Morry is proud to share our acceptance into the 2019 Youth INC. Metrics program. We join a network of more than 80 exceptional youth development programs collectively serving over 200,000 New York youth. Youth Inc. is an NYC based venture philanthropy organization started by a former Goldman Sachs managing director to build capacity and maximize impact for youth-centered NYC non-profits.

IMPACT EVALUATION

As part of the 2 year long Metrics program, we join a cohort of 8 other peer organizations all working to build evaluative capacity and better understand the Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) outcomes of our work. These research based SEL outcomes measure 6 key capacities: academic self efficacy, positive identity, self management, social skills, social capital, and contribution which are linked to long term academic and career success, increased resilience, and greater thriving.

We will use this data to improve program design and increase our students’ outcomes for on-time advancement to the next grade, on-time high school graduation, college enrollment, and college graduation rates and in turn improve their long-term academic and economic success.

The Metrics program will also provide support as we build a continuous improvement process and assess staff capacity to deliver effective youth development practices that promote positive outcomes.


We thank Youth INC. for the opportunity to learn and grow in service of our shared goal to empower youth and families for positive change.

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Project Morry Alumni Named Fulbright Scholar

Posted Date: April 19, 2018 | Posted In: Latest News, Project Morry Kids

The success of our students continues beyond their college graduation. We are thrilled to report that Tyrone Fleurizard, Project Morry alumnus from Bridgeport (2007-2014) and current senior at Wingate University, has been selected as a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar! Tyrone will study the intersection of race, ethnicity, and education in Malaysia.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is one of the most prestigious scholarship programs for collegians in the United States. The program offers opportunities for students and young professionals to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, university teaching, and primary and secondary school teaching worldwide. Fulbright U.S. Student alumni populate a range of professions and include ambassadors, members of Congress, judges, heads of corporations, university presidents, journalists, artists, professors, and teachers.

In addition, he has been accepted to a PhD graduate program at Boston College with a full scholarship. Tyrone exemplifies Project Morry’s values of leadership, positive core values, network of support, and teamwork. We are proud to be a part of his journey!

To hear Tyrone describe the impact of Project Morry in his own words, check out our video on the homepage!

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Dawn Ewing Named to CEO Learning Lab

Posted Date: December 07, 2017 | Posted In: Latest News

​In November 2017, Dawn Ewing, Executive Director of Project Morry, joined the inaugural class of Westchester Community Foundation’s CEO Learning Lab. Limited to eight leaders of Westchester nonprofit organizations, the Learning Lab is focused on identifying the tools and leadership strengths needed for advancing organizations toward greater impact and sustainability. The cohort will meet on a monthly basis for six months focusing on in-depth strategic analysis of an issue facing each organization as well as 360 peer reviews of each member.

“I am excited by the opportunity to do a deep dive into issues critical to Project Morry’s future growth. The CEO Learning Lab provides a unique peer learning opportunity that will expand my own tool box and benefit our organization,” says Dawn Ewing.

The CEO Learning Lab is the first initiative of the Foundation’s Institute for Strong Nonprofits, which will provide ongoing capacity building for the region’s nonprofit sector.

Learn more about Westchester Community Foundation and the CEO Learning Lab at their website http://www.wcf-ny.org.

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Project Morry Named 21st Century Learning Exemplar

Posted Date: November 07, 2017 | Posted In: Latest News

Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21) has designated Project Morry as a Beyond School 21st Century Learning Exemplar for 2017-2018. Project Morry earned this award for its outstanding practices in equipping students with the necessary skills and knowledge for success in college, career, and life.

This is the first year that The P21 Exemplar Program designated out-of-school-time entities as P21 Exemplars. In order to earn this designation, these programs demonstrated not just a commitment to developing the 4Cs and other 21st Century Skills, but also an expertise in the elements of: Student Agency, Distributed Leadership, a Climate of Achievement, Engaged Community, and the use of Evidence and Research.

Dawn Ewing, Project Morry Executive Director stated “We are thrilled to be named a 21st Century Learning Exemplar. Project Morry empowers youth to create and achieve their own goals, dreams and futures. We do this by building strong, consistent relationships with families and communities that endure during the critical middle school years through high school graduation. Project Morry youth are critical thinkers, creators,collaborators, and communicators- in a word: leaders. As a P21 Exemplar, we are excited to join a community of practice leaders and have the opportunity to share and learn from other outstanding programs.“

David Ross, CEO at P21 stated, “P21’s Exemplar Program works to identify innovative education paradigms across the country. When policymakers say ‘show me what you mean,’ we turn to our P21 Exemplars for hard evidence.”

As part of uplifting the best practices from Project Morry, P21 will develop a case study and release it to the public for free download at p21.org/exemplars in the Spring of 2018.

P21 recognizes that all learners need educational experiences in school and beyond, from cradle to career, to build knowledge and skills for success in a globally and digitally interconnected world. Representing over 5 million members of the global workforce, P21 is a catalyst organization uniting business, government and education leaders from the U.S. and abroad to advance evidence-based education policy and practice and to make innovative teaching and learning a reality for all. Learn more at www.p21.org and @P21Learning.

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Michael Gordon Young Leaders Award Honoree!

Posted Date: October 28, 2017 | Posted In: Latest News

Michael Gordon Young Leaders Award Honoree!

On 10/25, Project Morry’s Undergrad and Post Grad 3 Girls Coordinator, Akienyalay Bruce received the Michael Gordon Young Leaders Award at the 2017 American Camping Association’s Morry Stein Camp Conference. This award is given to an individual who is making an impact on the camp profession through their leadership and service.

Akay began her career with Project Morry as summer counselor in 2010 and became a member of the full time program team in 2015. In her role as the Under Grad and Post Grad 3 Girls Coordinaor, she is responsible for creating curriculum, facilitating school year meetings, and providing on going engagement of students, parents, and community partners to ensure the emotional and academic success of Project Morry at a critical time in young women’s lives.

In addition to her work at Project Morry, Akay has co-chaired the Non-Profit Camp Conference for the past 3 years and been a member of the Inclusion Track Program Committee for the ACA’s Tri-State Conference. In all of these roles, she has brought issues of social justice and racial equity that impact Project Morry students and families to the forefront. These include the targeted ways girls of color are disciplined at school, the school to prison pipeline, and empowering children of color with a sense of positive self identity and self advocacy to envision and achieve their goals.

Akay is a tremendous role model and colleague in the fields of both youth development and camping. Project Morry is proud of her achievement and to have her on our team. Congratulations Akay!

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