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Futures and Options Raises a Record $425,000

Futures and Options’ Board Chairman Steve Hessler with our 2013 Dream Big honorees Steve Goldstein and Roopesh Shah and Executive Director Patty Machir

Together, Dream Big and The Opportunity Card raised more than $425,000 for Futures and Options! We are tremendously grateful to our honorees, our Board of Directors, sponsors and donors. Your generosity makes it possible for more New York City youth to imagine, explore and realize their dreams!


Thank you!


Dream Big 2013


On October 15, Futures and Options hosted our third annual gala, Dream BigA Celebration of Opportunity, at the Stone Rose Lounge in the Time Warner Center. More than 300 guests joined us to celebrate the accomplishments of our youth and to honor those who make it possible for them to achieve their education and career aspirations.  

The Restructuring and Distressed Community provided extraordinary support! Twenty-three firms sponsored Dream Big. Sponsoring at the $10,000 Believer level and above were AlixPartners; Debevoise & Plimpton; Evercore Partners; Goldman Sachs; Kirkland & Ellis; Latham & Watkins; Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and US Bank.


Our annual Dream Big Awards honor visionary leaders and businesses for their outstanding support of Futures and Options’ mission. Our 2013 Dream Big Honorees were:


Individual Honoree: Roopesh K. Shah, Goldman Sachs
Corporate Honoree: Evercore Partners, Restructuring and Debt Advisory Group


Our Dream Big Scholarship and the IPG Mediabrands Scholarship and Internship support the college and career dreams of Futures and Options’ students. Our 2013 Dream Big Scholarship and IPG Mediabrands Scholarship awardees were:


Dream Big Scholar: Janelle A. Lawrence, Frederick Douglass Academy
Finalists: Bre’Annah Braithwaite, Talent Unlimited High School
Shondel Nurse, High School of Public Service: Heroes of Tomorrow


IPG Mediabrands Scholarship and Internship: Elisa Munoz, Frederick Douglass Academy


To view pictures from this year’s Dream Big, please click here.


Scholarship recipients celebrate together at Dream Big: Shondel Nurse, Janelle Lawrence, Bre’Annah Braithwaite and Elisa Munoz

The Opportunity Card 2013


Our third annual Opportunity Card ran from October 25 to November 3, with more than 235 stores and restaurants in New York City and the Tri-State area participating – a record number. More than 1,600 Opportunity Cards were circulating around the NYC and Tri-State Area, thanks to individual donors and sponsors of The Opportunity Card and Dream Big.

F+O Students Explore Careers Throughout NYC!

Futures and Options interns during at a Career Exploration Field Trip at RR Donnelley.

Fall programs at Futures and Options are in full swing, with more than 120 enthusiastic students gaining exposure to the working world through our career development programs.


Our Internship Program welcomed back many long-standing corporate partners, including: AlixPartners, Hedaya Capital, IPG MediaBrands and Kirkland & Ellis. We also have several new partners such as Accounting Management Services and GoGreenRide that are hosting their first Futures and Options interns. We are thrilled to have all of our business partners on board and look forward to working with them to provide an enriching work experience to our student interns!


Thanks to tremendous support from HSBC, 18 juniors and seniors from George Westinghouse Career and Technical Education High School began working at their internships at nonprofits and for-profits this fall. This program, which was launched in 2007 with 13 interns, has traditionally taken place only in the spring, but increased funding allows us to provide 40 Westinghouse students with paid internships so we are now offering opportunities to a fall cohort of students as well.


Reel Works Teen Filmmaking, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that empowers at-risk youth to give voice to their experiences through filmmaking, has expanded their partnership with Futures and Options to provide an additional 10 students with internships in the film industry. Interns can be found working at film companies such as Elsewhere Films, Market Road Films and Washington Square Arts and Films.


Career Essentials, sponsored by the Gap Foundation, is providing 62 high school students the opportunity to learn more about the world of work through a twelve-week workshop series. In addition to afternoons spent discussing topics such as communication, teamwork and workplace etiquette, students participate in mock interviews with corporate volunteers and visit companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Deloitte, RR Donnelley and Thomson Reuters to explore potential careers.


Seventeen eighth grade students from Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School (WHEELS) will have the same opportunity to participate in Career Essentials this fall thanks to support from Capital One. Students in this program will make career exploration field trips to Gap and Unilever. 


It is a busy and exciting fall for us. We thank all of our partners for their continued support!

Interns Get an Inside Look at the Financial World


By Michelle Sheu, Senior at Benjamin Cardozo High School,

Intern at Story to College

Interns at Mesirow Financial's headquarters.

When Futures and Options program coordinators Clare Harwood and Tes Cohen announced a career exploration trip to Mesirow Financial, I immediately noted the distinction between the November and the October workshops – this was a field trip, not just a workshop. Mesirow Financial, as I learned through research, is a financial firm that responds to litigation and bankruptcy woes in the corporate world. After reviewing the website, I concluded that Mesirow Financial was like Bob the Builder: if it’s broken, they can fix it! Mesirow Financial rescues companies in turmoil and assists them as they undergo growth and expansion. I wondered: What would a field trip to a financial firm entail? During the trip, on the afternoon of November 6, I discovered there was more to the company than my Bob the Builder assessment – Mesirow Financial is a multi-faceted firm that touches upon business and marketing. 


When we entered the Mesirow headquarters, we were greeted by a friendly sign that read, “Welcome Futures and Options.” We gathered in a conference room to meet a few of the individuals behind the company’s operations. Mesirow leaders, including the marketing director and technology director, led engaging presentations. Their employees discussed the career paths each of them had taken that ultimately led to their employment at Mesirow Financial. The marketing director who majored in economics found marketing to be her calling, while another employee discussed how he had majored in criminal justice, but found business to be much more enjoyable.


At the conclusion of the presentations, each employee challenged the Futures and Options interns to chase happiness and stay ambitious, regardless of where we end up. We should have dreams: aspire to attend college and find further opportunities for success.


Following the presentations, the Mesirow Financial staff had prepared an unexpected surprise of their own for us – rapid-fire mock interviews! Each Futures and Options intern sat in an office cubicle for two brief mock interviews and at the conclusion of each interview, the interns received thoughtful, constructive criticism regarding their answers. These interviews also provided us with the opportunities to fine tune our interview skills and to network with and gain career advice from Mesirow staff members.


This trip introduced me to a new dream that I could aspire to achieve: beyond the business world of handshakes and formalities, I realized I could have a corporate job that could be as fulfilling as a job as a musician or painter. If I choose to make the most out of every opportunity, I could discover ways to tap into my creative side in a business environment and distinguish myself from my colleagues. 


Our career exploration trip came to a wonderful conclusion when Mesirow Financial employees generously presented each Futures and Options intern with a goodie bag. This gesture and the staff’s enthusiasm reflected the warm, engaging and dynamic environment that characterizes Mesirow Financial.


While walking to the subway, two fellow interns and I agreed that this wouldn’t be the last time we’d be visiting Mesirow Financial. Through their thoughtful and inviting staff, Mesirow Financial proved to be a firm beyond the role of just a corporate problem-solver. Rather, Mesirow Financial is the nurturing hand that nudges others to the right track, and of course, is the opening for the highly-coveted opportunity to achieve dreams and find success.


Happy Thanksgiving!

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