Goddard Riverside helps New Yorkers reach goals by connecting community with supportive resources

Eric was about to drop out of school in the 12th grade. His mom says thanks to a pair of counselors at Goddard Riverside, Eric just received his high school diploma.

Ashley Mastronardi

Feb 14, 2024, 12:33 AM

Updated 159 days ago

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Elene Barnhill is one proud momma.
“This is my medal of honor,” she told News 12, referring to her son Eric’s newly minted high school diploma.
Eric was about to drop out of school in the 12th grade. But she says thanks to a pair of counselors at Goddard Riverside, just yesterday he received his high school diploma.
“They were on him - we have to make sure he knows his life will just be beginning when he gets this diploma.  So, Eric brought me home a diploma, and I'm so proud of him,” she beamed.
Goddard Riverside is a nonprofit that’s been around since the 1850s. It connects the community to supportive resources such as food stamps and housing.  The two-gen program is an initiative within the nonprofit that helps families holistically to set goals and break the cycle of poverty. Wayne Tyre is the program director.
“They work with the mother the grandmother, the sister, the children, and it is goals they are setting for themselves. I look at it as the clients are the drivers of the car and we are merely passengers of the car,” he said.
He says the counselors help clients set attainable goals – but attainable doesn’t mean playing it small.  Some clients have had the goal of buying a house.
“We get them into meeting with a mortgage person to see how much they should put down, we have them meet with a realtor who will share the ins and outs of buying a house ... we teach them everything that’s involved with the steps and we make the steps the goal,” Tyre said.
For Eric, the piece of white paper his diploma is printed on is worth far less than a home. But he says the joy it brings him is worth its weight in gold.
“Having the actual diploma and seeing it is like ... wow, I actually did it.  I’m so proud.”
High school is not Eric’s last educational stop. He’s planning on attending an IT certificate program offered by Goddard in the spring.  He also plans to launch a career as a social media influencer and model.


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