In just four years of working at East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), Carlos Velazquez has made extraordinary and lasting contributions to the organization, contributions that have had life-changing effects on hundreds of youth, their families, and the East Harlem community. A lifelong resident of East Harlem who grew up literally across the street from the EHTP site, Carlos uses his strong ties to the community, his innate ability to lead, and his passion for higher education to continually improve the outlook of his community.
Upon returning to East Harlem from graduate school in Syracuse, Carlos took a job as EHTP’s first Social Work Manager. In that role, he created a system to better address the needs of youth and their families. Within a year he began to oversee the High School program, reworking it to consistently help students into college and – increasingly important these days – ensure they have the essential skills to succeed once admitted. EHTP’s track record is a testament to Carlos’ influence: in a community where only 25% of students go on to higher education, 100% of EHTP seniors were accepted to college in 2009, and 95% were accepted in 2010.
Carlos has implemented or improved upon a number of life-changing programs, including: a two-week summer program at the University of Virginia; strategically restructuring the FIRST Robotics program into a year-round activity, allowing the EHTP team to have the resources, adult mentorship, confidence, and ability to compete at a national level; and establishing a partnership with Touro College of Medicine to develop a Pre-Pre Med program, where students can become involved in a Peer Educator Program at Bronx Lebanon Hospital.
A homegrown success story, Carlos is an impassioned role model to his youth, most of whom are members of the first generations of their families to attend college. Carlos’ commitment to being a dynamic educator continues to benefit—and inspire— hundreds of students and families in East Harlem each year.