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Queens Chronicle

SCHOOL SPOTLIGHT Richmond Hill High Schools' South Asian Youth Action program is helping students in many ways

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Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2018 10:30 am

Richmond Hill High School has been working for at least eight years now with SAYA, or the South Asian Youth Action program, which provides several activities for the students. Additionally, the Child Center of NY subcontracts with SAYA and works with the guidance counselors at Richmond Hill HS to provide therapies for students with emotional distress and/or behavioral problems in what they call the Wellness Center. The Child Center of NY operates more than a dozen sites which continue to operate after the school day ends.

The program works to strengthen the social and emotional development of each and every student. Youth advocates and therapists provide one-on-one support to help students develop appropriate behavior, acquire greater self-confidence and achieve appropriate classroom functioning. They are advocates for for their students’ well-being, provide workshops for the school community and serve as important mentors in their students’ lives. They are attending or graduated college and have experience working with school-age children and adolescents. They deal also with attendance issues, have an Acculturation Group for Latino Immigrants, help reduce stress, improve interpersonal skills, help in time management, help increase self-esteem, treat depression and help with anger management.

The South Asian Youth Action is a program which brings in additional resources to help students in various ways. Some of the activities which SAYA administers are an extensive after school club program — run by Rachel Rodriguez,  the Leadership and Enrichment Program manager at Richmond Hill High School — attendance initiatives with mentoring, mental health services provided by the Child Center of NY, workshops for the community, college and career readiness assistance, Community Nights, vision screening and assemblies.

The After School Club program enriches the students with a dance/cheer squad, a Red Cross program, robotics program, photography, Urban World, Leadership, Arcobaleno (LGBTQ), Museum Explorers, ARISTA National Honor Society, Bollywood, an Anime Library and cultural enrichment through a Latino Student Association, a Black Student Union and a Caribbean Student Association. Since a student who can’t function is a student who can’t learn, the Child Center of NY works with the school’s guidance team to provide help for students with emotional and/or behavioral problems by reducing stress, improving interpersonal skills, learning time management, resolving conflicts, promoting healthy relationships and helping students manage impulses and anger.

The SAYA program is part of the New York City Community Schools Movement which is supported by the NYC Department of Education and wants schools to become more ingrained with the greater community.


Student Profile: Arsheep Singh

As vice president of the Student Association at Richmond High School, Arsheep Singh performs many leadership activities. Recently, he helped implement a recycling program at RHHS. He is also part of the Student Leadership Team which is active all over school including being concerned with school safety, student academic progress and the involvement of parents. They meet regularly with Principal Neil Ganesh to solve any problems which might exist, to develop new programs and to make sure that the current ones are operating to every one’s satisfaction.

Top Swimmer: Dylan Canaveral

Dylan Canaveral, a junior at RHHS, is a top athlete on the swimming team. He has been swimming since he was seven and has been on the school team since his freshman year. At the Boys A Championships he placed second in the freestyle and third in the 100 butterfly. He is ranked sixth in New York State.


This article originally misstated the status of the South Asian Youth Action program and the Child Center of NY, both of which are independent nonprofit organizations, and the responsibilities of Rachel Rodriguez, who runs SAYA's afterschool program at Richmond Hill High School. We regret the errors.

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