BridgeUP:CORE is the New York Public Library's innovative after-school program that provides New York City students, from 8th grade through high school, with a multi-year cohort of motivated peers. BridgeUP:CORE provides its students with long-term mentorship, daily academic support, and access to engaging learning opportunities that foster academic independence, critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity. It also gives them a Magic Grant to put toward whatever they are passionate about. It is the collective impact of these resources that helps our Scholars graduate from high school with a vision for their future, as well as the skills and mindset necessary for continued success.
BridgeUP:CORE began with a group of 20 high school men in the Bronx. Almost 40% of children in the Bronx live in poverty and 43% of families rely on food stamps. More than 32% of Bronx men never finish high school, and less than 16% have a college degree. BridgeUP helps bridge the gap between resources and opportunity.
The four-year program offers services to over 250 New York City ninth to 12th graders each year at multiple New York Public Library locations in underserved neighborhoods in the Bronx and Manhattan. These students work together in groups of 10 over a five year period, with the end goal to attend college or technical school. The program works in low-income neighborhoods, providing a safe space for participants during after school hours. BridgeUP: CORE holds a record for the cost-per-student-served in an anti-poverty program in New York City at $20,000 per student, per year.
With the help of one BridgeUP Fellow committed to every group of 10 BridgeUP Scholars, CORE works with students in four categories: academic support, college/post-secondary prep, life skills, and self-discovery/passion projects.
The BridgeUP:CORE program runs from September through June, Monday-Thursday from 3-7pm. Start times are flexible based on school hours and a scholar’s commute from school to their cohort’s library branch.
We provide Academic Support through homework assistance and tutoring, workshops on reading, writing, studying, and organization, and Regents test prep.
Fellows organize College and Post-Secondary School Preparation with college information sessions, campus tours, guest speakers, ACT/SAT test prep, college essay help, financial aid planning, and preparation for interviews and internships.
Scholars develop life skills that they will use long after graduating BridgeUP, such as time management, prioritization, money management, stress management, and healthy lifestyle choices. We make sure they enter the world ready for it.
BridgeUP:CORE offers Magic Grants to support individual students with interests outside of BridgeUP curriculum, such as summer camps, dance classes, photography equipment, DJ classes, and more. When a scholar shows passion and commitment, BridgeUP:CORE does everything we can to help them achieve their goals.
BridgeUP:CORE allows students to discover and pursue their passions. In annual Passion Projects, cohorts brainstorm a group passion that they want to work on together - from service learning projects to acting, photography, or website development. Scholars work together, with help from their Fellow, to make their idea a reality.