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SASF’s Biggest Winner (Loser) Challenge

Jun 23, 2017

What’s all the weight loss buzz about?

The SASF Biggest Loser Competition has created a healthy buzz in the office, motivating staff to drop a few pounds while adopting a healthier lifestyle. The competition spans from June 2nd- July 28th, 2017 and has 23 SASF staff fighting to win the title of SASF’s Biggest Loser!  The competition includes weekly weigh-ins, motivational emails and of course, a built in work support system to help everyone get closer to their goals. In addition, each participant received a copy of Michael Pollan’s Food Rules. This “eater’s manual” provides simple and clear rules when making healthy nutrition choices. For example, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food” and “avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients.”

Now, I’m sure you must be wondering, what’s the prize? Besides improving your heart health, increased energy in and out of work, and enhanced quality of life, there are a few extra incentives!

Biggest Losers: The female and male who lose the most weight and inches in total.


1st Place Male and Female: Cooking Class for 2, 1 week of Blue Apron and nutrition/fitness gift basket.

2nd Place Male and Female: 1 week of Blue Apron and nutrition/fitness gift basket.

3rd Place Male and Female: 1 healthy lunch and nutrition/fitness gift basket.

Biggest Loser MVP Award: This person is someone who doesn’t necessarily lose the most weight but puts in great effort, attends the wellness events, motivates others and truly takes strides to be a healthier person in and out of the work place. Winner receives a nutrition and fitness gift basket.

Whether you’re in the competition or not, it’s a great time to take your health into your own hands! Check out the biggest loser handbook for more information and look out for wellness events that will be offered organizational wide in the future.

CUNY College Family Days

Two days. Four conferences. Hundreds of attendees.

On June 3 and 10, CUNY College Family Day conferences took place at four CUNY college campuses in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the Bronx. These motivational events included keynote speakers, a college campus tour, and financial aid workshops. The workshops were not only designed to inform families on financial aid options but also to educate them on the benefits of college, its impact on average salaries, differences in tuition (i.e. state vs. private) and the importance of planning early for college.

At Bronx Community College (BCC), current students spoke about their personal journeys navigating college. At Queens College, a CUNY representative explored the Early College initiative which gives New York City high schools students a chance to earn tuition-free college credits.

Tracy Caldron, Director of College Access For All, highlighted some key moments like the inspirational speech given by Brooklyn College and The College of Staten Island’s keynote Bert Gervais. He shared why it’s important to take charge of your destiny and emphasized that  hard  work in middle and high school leads to college and ultimately to success in life. Mr. Gervais motto: “Step up, show up, and shine!”

Students walked away with college themed swag bags and raffle prizes.


Another Hit! Spring Arts Showcase

As guests entered NYU’s Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, they were greeted by IS 51R’s jazz band playing classic renditions of musical favorites. The gallery displayed more than 170 pieces of vibrant artwork, 3D urban landscapes, and fashion forward mannequins.

Master of Ceremonies and longtime friend of SASF, Tina Cervasio, once again hosted the Spring Arts Showcase. She kicked off the evening by introducing Chief Executive Officer Maureen Fonseca who highlighted the hard work and grit that went into each site’s audition process and ultimately, what brought them to the culminating showcase.

The program included the following acts:

  1. The Star Spangled Banner, sung by Tiana Byrd form PS 189 X
  2. Dance: “American Bandstand” by IS 381K
  3. Dance: “Latin Groove” by PS 189X
  4. Hip Hop: “Essence of a Woman” by Thornton High School
  5. Musical Theater: “Bye Bye Birdie” by IS 51R
  6. Jazz Band: “Bye Bye Birdie and You’ve Got a Friend in Me” by IS 51R
  7. Steel Pan: “This Melody Sweet” by MS 354K
  8. African Dance: “Nature Blessings” by PS 116Q
  9. Modern Dance: “The Elements” by 680Q
  10. Dance: “Formation” by 462X
  11. Dance: “Tornado from the Wiz” by MS 452K
  12. Step: “College Campus” by Pathways College Preparatory School

While each act had a surprise at every turn, one thing was for certain: the sights and sounds left the audience in awe.

“Each year, this event continues to grow and evolve into a greater showcase of arts – both visual and performing. Our gallery was filled with art pieces by students from 27 of our sites and 12 different performance acts hit the stage. The talent has reached a stellar level. In describing the show this year I often used the term show stopper,” said Michelle Durante, Director of Arts. “When students smile from ear-to-ear in awe of the professional theater space and joy radiates in all they do, we see the power of the arts come to life in over 300 student participants. The success of this culminating event was evident in how much was gained and learned by our students through the arts this school year.”

The event concluded with remarks from Chief Program Officer Marisol Guzman and a finale including all the SASF performers taking their last bow to a standing ovation.

2017: The Summer of Change Agents

In less than a week, 111 camps will open their doors to nearly 10,000 SASF students across New York City.

This summer’s camp theme is Change Agents: Taking Care of Our Environment. This theme will utilize an interdisciplinary curriculum, which includes STEM, Literacy, Leadership, Arts, and Sports. It will spark students’ curiosity, awareness and empathy regarding global environmental issues related to clean water, recycling, pollution, and taking care of our local communities.

Camps include Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) COMPASS elementary school sites, DYCD SONYC middle school sites, City Council camps and clinics and special initiative sites: New York State Bullet Aid (Summer Bridge Programs), Summer In The City (SITC), Hayden Camps and DOE McKinney Camps.

Exciting trips and events will include:

  • NY Liberty Science Game
  • Elementary, Middle and High School Mets Family Day Game
  • ICAHN Stadium Sports Day
  • Change Agents Day

“Our summer camps aim to provide SASF students a place where they can both learn and have fun during the summer months,” said Sheila Wells, Deputy Director of Summer Programs. “A mix of activities, field trips, and interdisciplinary curricula such as STEM, will keep students active and learning throughout their time off from school.”

Staff Spotlight: Meet Judy Ho

Meet 125Q’s Program Director Judy Ho.  For over a decade, Judy has worked for SASF and shares her proudest moments. She also received an “Excellent” on her PQMT. Read more in our latest interview.

Tell us how you first got involved in with SASF! How long have you been with SASF? 125Q?

I have been working with SASF every summer since 2002. I started working full time at I.S. 125Q in August 2010.

What are you most proud of about 125Q programs?

I am most proud of 125Q’s unity of staff and students. The students genuinely look up to 125Q’s staff as role models. Champions Club  participants that have graduated often return to visit and recommend younger siblings to join the program. Of course, I am also very proud of 125Q’s reigning NYC Table Tennis Championships since 2014.

Tell me about someone who has inspired you at SASF.

The program manager who initially interviewed me for my full-time position at SASF. During the interview, one of the questions he asked was why it took so long for me to apply for the full-time ASPD position. At that moment, it made me realize that he saw more potential than I did in myself. Though he is no longer with SASF, I will always remember his motivating words that inspired me to be the best ASPD for 125Q.

How do you keep a healthy work/life balance?

To balance the ASPD workload and life, I create “TO DO” lists on a daily/weekly basis. By prioritizing the tasks, it helps with getting work completed efficiently so that I can go home at a decent hour without having to stress about work.

What do you think is the most important quality you need to have for success?

Organization. By being organized, it helps with time management and getting work completed efficiently.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

My greatest achievement is definitely seeing Champions Club participants become emotionally and socially stronger individuals from their time in the after-school program. Students who have graduated, but return to 125Q to visit me and the staff (and inquire about potential employment) is a testimony and reminder of why I do what I do.