Opportunities for Better Tomorrow (OBT), which primarily provides academic and vocational training to low-income youths and helps place them in competitive jobs, celebrated its third annual Summer Soiree and Silent Auction Tuesday night at Battery Gardens in Manhattan.
The event marked the organization’s annual fundraiser drive, and the funds raised at Tuesday’s event will go towards opening a sixth location for OBT and the creation of a second Y Roads Center, which is a partnership program OBT runs with the YMCA of Greater NYC to provide a range of services to out-of-school students.
Last year the organization managed to raise $90,000 and this year is hoping to take that number over $100,000.
The event also allows the organization a chance to recognize the work of activists and community organizers particularly those who have worked to champion the rights of low-income youth.
Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna is one of the night’s honorees.
“Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow is a stabilizing anchor upon which thousands of families in North Brooklyn have come to rely,” said Reyna. “OBT’s unique integrated model builds accountability, discipline, and confidence, helping our neighbors recognize their full potential. I’ve had the tremendous opportunity of working with their empowered youth, who have been instrumental in the productivity of my office.”
OBT is honoring Reyna, who was the first woman of Dominican descent to have been elected to the Council, for her efforts in raising awareness about affordable housing, education, and the improvement of services for youths and senior citizens.
“Diana Reyna has been a champion for the disadvantaged youth and their families in Williamsburg and Bushwick and throughout Brooklyn,” said Randy Peers, the CEO at OBT. “Her unwavering dedication to promoting opportunity for some of the borough’s most vulnerable populations is a true testament to her leadership and commitment.”
Tuesday’s fundraiser also came at a time when OBT reported that 156 of its students earned their GEDs last year –which is the highest number yet in the organization’s 31-year history.
“OBT exploded with GEDs in the last quarter, making them the lead nonprofit organization in GED attainment within District 79,” said NYC Department of Education Pathways to Graduation Assistant Principal Tom Mancuso. “OBT’s innovative program model is a more conducive learning environment than traditional high school for many young adults searching to find their inner genius.”
OBT was created by Sister Mary Franciscus in 1983 in a run-down storefront in Sunset Park. Today it has expanded exponentially. It serves over 1,500 youths and adults annually, and has worked successfully with over 5,000 youths since its inception.