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Successful Liberty Partnerships Program Funded for Next Five Years

Successful Liberty Partnerships Program Funded for Next Five Years

Posted: September 15, 2017

Since 2001, Patrice Cathey (pictured below), director of Buffalo State’s Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP), has helped shepherd numerous disadvantaged youth from Buffalo Public Schools into college or the workforce.

Now Cathey and her campus colleagues who oversee the state-funded program have settled into new offices in Buckham Hall’s A-wing, formerly occupied by the Speech-Language Pathology Department. They share the freshly redone and larger office space with the college’s other pre-collegiate programs—Upward Bound and STEP. They’re holding a grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, October 4, at noon. The entire campus is invited.

“We are thrilled with the new space,” said Cathey, the principal grant writer who also became director of Pre-Collegiate Programs in August. “We wanted to make a center where all the programs could be together and communicate with one another on a regular basis.”

Now each LPP counselor has an office to meet with students and their parents. There is a seven-station computer lab, a conference room, and a kitchen, as well as room for one-on-one tutoring.

The move comes at an auspicious time. Cathey recently received the news that Buffalo State’s LLP will receive more than $2 million in funding over the next five years or approximately $450,000 per year. The grant pays for case management, workshops, academic tutoring, and specialized programming for approximately 360 students in grades seven through 12 who attend Herman Badillo Bilingual Academy, West Hertel Academy, McKinley High School, and Lafayette International High School.

“We’re more connected with the Buffalo Public Schools than ever,” she said. “We’re working with three community schools this year.

“At the beginning, we conduct a social and emotional assessment of each student to determine their needs and design a program to help them achieve their goals,” she said. “It’s nice to have a private space where we can both work directly with students and expose them to all that Buffalo State has to offer.”

The New York State Education Department established the Liberty Partnership Program in 1988 to address the significant school dropout rate among New York youth. A 2013 evaluation of LPP’s effectiveness found that out of 1,830 seniors enrolled in the program across the state, 90 percent ended up graduating from high school with 77 percent going to college.

The middle and high school students identified as “at-risk” by their school counselors come to Buffalo State several times per week during the academic year and also in four or six-week programs in the summer. While here, they hone their academic, confidence-building, and leadership skills. They also receive a primer on how to apply for college and secure financial aid, as well as what to expect as a college student.

“We take them on tours of the campus and invite them to Bengals football games,” Cathey said. “We expose them to cultural activities such as jazz at the Burchfield Penney. The idea is to develop the whole student and let them see how they could thrive in a college environment.” 

This contract is administered by the Sponsored Programs Office, which has moved to Buckham Hall B206.

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