From GED programs to nature trips, Recreation Director
Ronnie Sesso makes a difference for youths from group homes.
listening to Recreation Director Ronnie Sesso tell about her work can be exhausting.
She coordinates an offsite learning center that prepares students for their
high school equivalency tests. For the third year in a row, she has involved up
to 25 teens in the Bronx River Project, cleaning up the bushy banks.
Ms. Sesso is busy setting up internships for the youths with companies like Prudential,
as well as a two-week football camp and a six-week art program, where teens hone
their skills by painting outdoor murals.
And she's organizing an 11-day
trip to Colorado with the Aspen Outdoor Experience to open up the world of nature
to her inner-city teens and introduce them to Native Americans near Boulder and
Ms. Sesso is hardly fazed by the whirlwind of activity she supervises
from her office at the Bronx Teen Center, near the Concourse Plaza commercial
strip on East 149th Street. She sounds pumped and ready to go.
enjoy the outdoors a lot and so do the kids," says the Coney Island native
and member of Local 299. The teenagers she works with live in group homes supervised
by the Administration of Children's Services. Thanks to her efforts, they participate
in an array of activities available in few schools.
Director Ronnie Sesso supervises teens from the Bronx Teen Center in the restoration
efforts sponsored by Bronx River Project.
feel that it's our responsibility to make sure these kids are prepared when they
leave the system," said Ms. Sesso. After working in group homes for 13 years
as a Houseparent and Local 371 member, she is very familiar with the problems.
"If you can provide them with some guidance and some opportunities, they
usually respond in a positive way," she said of the close to 50 teens that
participate in the program.
"It's a great feeling for me when they
get accepted into a college or land a good job," she said. "That shows
that the system is working for these kids." And it shows that Everyday Hero
Ronnie Sesso is working for these kids, making a difference in their lives.