Summer Successes with The Sylvia Center

By August 17, 2020May 3rd, 2024Archive

An Update from the Executive Director

Summertime is in full swing, but it feels very different this year. Typical summertime priorities and activities have changed and our communities are still grappling with the continued impacts of a global pandemic. At The Sylvia Center we are also having a very different kind of summer, but thankfully it is full of programming and outreach that is making a difference to those we serve.

For this newsletter, I wanted to share with our community of friends, partners and supporters a “round up” of our work so everyone can see the impact being made each day.

  • Programming is now 100% virtual for both New York City and Columbia County. We have retained more than 60% of the young people we educate and have attracted new students and their families through our virtual programming, nationally. Please see our offerings here:
  • We graduated 18 students from our Teen Culinary Apprenticeship program, with 14 of them completing paid virtual internships thanks to ExpandEd. It was a big win to provide our teens a source of income for the summer while creating potential job pathways for the future
  • With Henry Street Settlement, we are running a virtual summer camp and have 30 students enrolled, as well as a summer teen learning program with Food and Finance High School also with 30 students. A new middle school summer program, entitled “Pancake Passport” was launched with Grand Street Settlement
  • A virtual mindfulness curriculum has been added to our programming to assist our young people with the emotional impacts of both COVID-19 and the racial awakening movement. It has been an overwhelming success and will be a permanent addition
  • We have taken an active role in facilitating food access for many within our community that face food insecurity. Food access programs are now active thanks to our Brooklyn partners Los Sures and the Bushwick-Hylan Community  food pantry and The Philmont Cooperative in Columbia County to name a few
  • The Sylvia Center’s mission and programming content is generating new interest and inquiries across New York City and Columbia County. We had 25 volunteers working at our Learning Garden at Katchkie Farm and have successfully continued all of our partner relationships during these times of uncertainty

All of this is possible thanks to the highly skilled and committed team at The Sylvia Center and our generous supporters. We are focused on growing our reach and impact as it is more relevant than ever. Our energy and drive was beautifully captured in yesterday’s article, “The Sylvia Center Uses Food to Fight Injustice” in Edible Manhattan by Hannah Selinger.

Yours in good health,

Jonathan Cetnarski
Executive Director


40 Under 40: The Rising Stars in NYC Food Policy

Every year, the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center releases its annual class of New York City’s 40 individuals under 40 years old who are working to transform the food system and are making significant strides to create healthier, more sustainable food environments and to use food to promote community and economic development.

We are so proud and congratulate Community Chef and Program Manager Doreece Dyer for being selected as a part of the Class of 2020!

Chef Doreece works to empower the next generation of rising stars by leading our Teen Culinary Apprenticeship, and helping teens to become health advocates within their own communities.



A Magical Night on the Farm 

On Saturday, we celebrated a wonderful evening of community with longtime friends, and new supporters, of The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm.

Our “socially-distanced” summer benefit was the perfect way to safely come together and enjoy a delicious meal while strolling through the blooming Learning Garden.

Thanks to everyone’s generous support, we raised funds to ensure young people in Columbia County and New York City have access to skill-building culinary and nutrition education along with access to fresh, healthy food.

It’s not too late to support these critical programs.

Make Your Gift Today! 

Make your donation go twice as far! Visit Double the Donation to see if your company has a matching gift program.

See newsletter here.