Giving Thanks This Year

This has been a year of tremendous growth and transition. Our first Executive Director, Cal Walker, is now a board member, and I, Karen Yearwood, have become the second Executive Director for our organization. As a co-founder, Cal has been instrumental in establishing many of our programs and services. We are grateful for his continued support as a board member and personal mentor throughout our transition.

For more than a decade, the Village has provided advocacy for families and their students; expanding opportunities and access in our schools while offering academic supports and personal development programs to help students aspire and achieve to the best of their abilities. Your continued contributions will enable the Village to collaborate with other community organizations in providing support to our youth. This year, programming at the Village has already served over 90 students.

Yet, still too many students are languishing when they could be thriving! With your support the Village at Ithaca matched 9 families through our Family Advocacy Program during the 2013-2014 academic school year, and our plans are to match 20 families for this academic year. Our Family Advocates are trained community members ready to assist families and guide them in navigating the school system to foster positive growth for their children – and we have received scores of encouraging feedback from advocates and families alike. Our program evaluations have returned testimony from families ranging from “I felt safe sharing with the Advocate,” to “It’s nice to know I have someone to call when things are going wrong,” and “The Advocate made good suggestions for change.”

For five weeks during the summer, the Village held a successful Summer Achievement Program. We engaged with 17 students, providing academic support in Math, English, Regents preparation, and more. Our Achievement Coaches volunteered their time to assist students in avoiding “summer slide”, keeping them focused while encouraging them to have fun!

In September of this year, 40 8th-12th-grade students and a host of faculty and administrators attended our Path of Success academic and personal development seminar with speaker Alfred Watts. The school districts represented were Ithaca, Lansing, Moravia, and Corning. Students reported feeling inspired to reach further and achieve their dreams, and described the seminar as “perfect,” “humorous,” and one student even commented, “Mr. Watts was an amazing speaker who helped me find out who I am.”

Through the Cornell Public Service Center’s Let’s Get Ready! S.A.T. preparatory program we have proven the wisdom of collaborative community partnerships and shared responsibility for educating our youth. The Village has been working with this program to recruit and better prepare students for standardized testing and their continuing journey in pursuit of academic excellence as undergraduate students.

We could not have accomplished all that we have this year without your generous financial support and the many volunteers for whom we are so thankful.

We are here to help students meet and exceed NYS standards of achievement and we want to continue to do so. With your support the Village at Ithaca will continue to expand its various programs and reach out to build our relationships with many families who need our help. Every gift matters, and with your financial backing, we will continue to leverage the talents and resources of our community through programs and services that affirm, encourage, and inspire our children to academic and personal success.

With Gratitude,


Karen Yearwood
Executive Director

Board of Directors:

Karl Graham – President

Karl Madeo – Vice-President

Rebecca Norman – Secretary

John Rogers – Treasurer

Sara Culotta

Scott Keenan

Gail Patrice Lockert Anthony

Leon Lawrence

Sean Norman

Cal Walker